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Cynthia Willner, PhD

Associate Research Scientist

Contact Information

Cynthia Willner, PhD

Mailing Address

  • 350 George St.

    3rd floor

    New Haven, CT, 06511

    United States


Cynthia Willner, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Cynthia conducts research on children’s emotionality and the development of self-regulation. Her work at the Center focuses on measuring children’s social and emotional skills, particularly emotion regulation, and establishing research-based developmental benchmarks for children’s social and emotional competencies. Prior to joining the Center, Cynthia completed a postdoctoral fellowship in translational developmental neuroscience at the Yale Child Study Center, where she used electroencephalographic (EEG) measures to study the brain basis of anxiety. She obtained her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University and her B.S. in Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics from Brown University. Prior to graduate school, Cynthia gained experience in education program evaluation as a research assistant and analyst at the non-profit social policy research institute MDRC. Cynthia has also obtained a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and has hands-on teaching experience as an English teacher at the Universidad del Istmo in Tehuantepec, Mexico, and at the Embassy Center for English Studies in New York City. Cynthia is passionate about translating developmental science into school-based approaches to enhance children’s well-being.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Yale University (2018)
  • Predoctoral Fellow
    The Pennsylvania State University (2015)
  • PhD
    The Pennsylvania State University, Human Development and Family Studies
  • MS
    The Pennsylvania State University, Human Development and Family Studies
  • ScB
    Brown University, Cognitive Science

Departments & Organizations