Christakis Lab

Welcome to the Christakis Lab

The Christakis Lab studies how the early environment impacts childhood behavior and development, and develops strategies that help parents optimize their children's social, cognitive, and emotional development.

Led by Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, the lab's researchers have made a number of landmark findings. Christakis and his colleagues were among the first to discover that early TV exposure, particularly to fast-paced programs, can lead to attention problems in later life. Christakis' team has also found that playing with blocks can improve young children's language development and that substituting prosocial programs for violent ones can lead to reduced aggression and improved behavior in preschool children.

The lab's current research and clinical studies build on these themes and include a study that uses an Internet-based model to teach parents strategies that may help maximize their children's development. If this low-cost model improves behavioral outcomes, it could be scaled up to help families nationwide.

Investigator Biography

Christakis-Dimitri-2017-smallerDr. Dimitri Christakis is director of Seattle Children's Research Institute's Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Christakis is a leading expert on how media affects child health and development. He has published dozens of media-related studies and co-authored a groundbreaking book, The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids. His work has been featured on Anderson Cooper 360The Today Show and ABC, NBC and CBS news, as well as in all major national newspapers.

Christakis received his undergraduate degree at Yale University and his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

  • Watch Christakis' TEDx talk on media and children.
  • Promote healthy development for your children by checking out his partnership with Cricket Crate. 
  • Read more about Christakis' early work with children and media at

Participate in Research

Help us answer questions about childhood health and illness, and help other children in the future. Learn more.

Contact Us

Physical Address

Seattle Children's Research Institute: Building Cure
1920 Terry Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101