Kelsey West

Assistant Professor


  • PhD, Psychology, University of Pittsburgh

Research Areas

  • Infant-caregiver interactions
  • Language development
  • Motor development
  • Autism
  • Descriptions of natural behavior


Dr. Kelsey West is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama. She received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University.

In the Bama Baby Lab, we study infant learning across the first three years of life. Even before they begin pre-school, infants master a remarkable array of foundational skills. They learn hundreds of words, acquire motor skills like crawling and walking, produce a variety of gestures, and play with objects in sophisticated ways. Is infants’ simultaneous learning across domains purely coincidence, or are the domains related? Using laboratory experiments and natural observations of infants at home, our research documents how: (1) Infants actively construct their own learning environments; (2) New skills in one domain—like learning to point, walk, or say “yes” and “no”—can ripple across other domains of infant learning; (3) Delays or atypicality in one domain can have far-reaching effects on infants’ other emerging skills. We study variability in development process in neurotypical infants, autistic infants, and infants with language delay.

Dr. West is a faculty member in the Center for Innovative Research in Autism

Selected Publications

  1. West, K.L., Fletcher, K.F., Adolph, K.E., & Tamis-LeMonda, C.S. (2022). Mothers talk about infant actions: How verbs correspond to infants’ real-time behavior. Developmental Psychology. 58(3), 405–416
  2. West, K.L., & Iverson, J.M. (2021). Communication changes when infants begin to walk. Developmental Science, e13102.
  3. West, K.L. (2019). Infant motor development in autism spectrum disorder: A synthesis and meta-analysis. Child Development, 90, 2053-2070.
  4. West, K.L., Leezenbaum, N.B., Northrup, J.B., & Iverson, J.M. (2019). The relation between walking and language in infant siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder. Child Development, 90, e356-e372.
  5. West, K.L., Iverson, J.M. (2017). Language learning is hands-on: Exploring links between infants’ object manipulation and verbal input. Cognitive Development, 43, 190-200.