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Rachel Keen

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Rachel Keen (Previously known an Rachel K. Clifton) is a professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Biographical informationEdit



Main areas of interestEdit

  • Perceptual-motor and cognitive development in human infants, looking at how they learn to reach for objects, how they represent objects and events, and their understanding of spatial relations.
  • Psychoacoustic studies with human adults looking at how adults identify sound sources and echoes.

Funded grantsEdit


In 2011 received the Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science of the American Psychological Association In 2005 received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Research in Child Development

Editorial board/consulting editorEdit

Association affiliationsEdit

See alsoEdit



Book ChaptersEdit

  • Clifton, R.K. (1971) Development dimensions: Review of Reese and Lipsitt (Eds.), Advances in child development and behavior, Volume 5. In Contemporary Psychology, 16, 507-508.
  • Clifton, R.K. (1974) Cardiac orienting and conditioning in infants. In P. A. Obrist, J. Brener, L. DiCara, & A. Black (Eds.), Cardiovascular psychophysiology: Current issues in response to mechanisms, biofeedback, and methodology. Chicago: Aldine Press, pp. 479-504.
  • Appleton, T., Clifton, R.K., & Goldberg, S. (1975) The development of behavioral competencies in infants. In F. Horowitz, M. Hetherington, S. Scarr-Salapatek, & A. Siegel (Eds.), Review of child development research. Volume 4. University of Chicago Press, pp. 101-186.
  • Clifton, R.K. & Nelson, M.N. (1976) Developmental study of habituation in infants: The importance of paradigm, response system, and state of the organism. In T.J. Tighe & R.N. Leaton (Eds.), Habituation: Neurological, comparative, and developmental approaches. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Press, pp. 159-205.
  • Clifton, R.K. & Nelson, M.N. (1977) Arousal systems in infants: Habituation. In B. B. Wolman (Ed.), International encyclopedia of neuroloty, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychology, Volume 2, pp. 123-127.
  • Nelson, M.N. & Clifton, R.K. (1977) Arousal systems in infants: Conditioning. In B. B. Wolman (Ed.), International encyclopedia of neurology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychology, Volume 2, pp. 118-122.
  • Clifton, R.K. (1978) The effects of behavioral state and motor activity on infant heart rate. In A. Collins (Ed.), Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, Volume 11. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Press, pp. 64-97.
  • Nelson, M.N., Clifton, R.K., Dowd,J., & Field, T. (1978) Cardiac responding to auditory stimuli in newborn infants: Why pacifiers should not be used when heart rate is the major dependent variable. Infant Behavior and Development, 1, 277-290.
  • Clifton, R.K., Morrongiello, B.A., Kulig, J., & Dowd, J.M. (1981) Developmental changes in auditory localization. In R. Aslin, J. Alberts, & M. Peterson (Eds.), The development of perception: Psychobiological perspectives. Volume 1. Audition, somatic perception and the chemical senses. New York: Academic Press, pp. 141-160.
  • Krafchuk, E., Tronick, E., & Clifton, R. (1983) Behavioral and cardiac responses to sound in preterm neonates varying in risk status and a hypothesis of their paradoxical reactivity. In T. M. Field & A. M. Sostek (Eds.), Infants born at risk: Physiological and perceptual processes. Grune & Stratton, pp. 99-128.
  • Clifton, R. K. (1985) The precedence effect: Its implications for developmental questions. In S. Trehub & B. Schneider (Eds.), Auditory development in infancy. NY: Plenum, pp. 85-99.
  • Muir, D. & Clifton, R. (1985) Infants' orientation to the location of sound sources. In G. Gottlieb & N. Krasnegor (Eds.) Measurement of audition and vision in the first year of postnatal life: A methodological overview. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, pp. 171-194.
  • Clarkson, M. G. & Clifton, R. K. (1991) Acoustic determinants of newborn orienting. In M. J. S. Weiss & P. R. Zelazo (Eds.), Newborn attention: Biological constraints and the influence of experience. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Pp. 99-119.
  • Clifton, R. K. (1992) The development of spatial hearing in human infants. In L.A.Werner and E. W Rubel (Eds.), Developmental psychoacoustics. Washington,D.C.:American Psychological Association. Pp. 135-157.
  • Clifton, R. K. & Freyman, R. L. (1997) The precedence effect: Beyond echo suppression. In Robert H. Gilkey & Timothy R. Anderson (Eds.), Binaural and spatial hearing in real and virtual environments, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. PP. 233-255.
  • Clifton, R. K. & Berman, P. W. (1997) Preface to Attention and orienting: Sensory and motivational processes, In P. J. Lang, R. F. Simons, & M. T. Balaban (Eds.), Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Pp.ix-xiv.
  • Bertenthal, B. I. & Clifton, R. K. (1998) Perception and action. In W. Damon (Series Ed.) and D. Kuhn, and R. Siegler (Vol. Eds.) Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 2, Cognition, perception, and language, 5th edition . New York: Wiley. Pp. 51-102.
  • Clifton, R. K. (2002) Learning about infants. In D. Lewkowicz and R. Lickliter (Eds.). Conceptions of development: Lessons from the laboratory. Psychology Press, pp. 135-163.
  • Keen, R. & Berthier, N. (2004) Continuities and discontinuities in infants’ representation of objects and events. In R. Kail (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior, Vol. 32. New York: Academic Press, pp. 243-279.
  • Keen, R. (2005) Using perceptual representations to guide reaching and looking. Chapter in John Rieser, Jeffrey Lockman, & Charles. Nelson (Eds.) Action as an organizer of learning and development: Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, Volume 33. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Pp. 301-322.
  • Keen, R. & Shutts, K. (2007) Object and event representation in toddlers. In Claes von Hofsten & Kerstin Rosander (Eds.), Progress in Brain Research, Volume 164, From action to cognition. Elsevier, pp. 227-235
  • Keen, R. (2009 A view from the lab. In J.K. Nugent, B. J. Petrauskas, & T. B. Brazelton (Eds.) The newborn as a person: Enabling healthy infant development worldwide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pp. 37-242.


Stevenson, H. W., Keen, R.E., & Knights, R. (1963) Parents and strangers as reinforcing agents for children's performance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 183-186.

Keen, R. E. (1964) The effects of auditory stimuli on sucking behavior in the human neonate. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1, 348-354.

Keen, R.E., Chase, H.H., & Graham, F.K. (1965) Twenty-four-hour retention by neonates of an habituated heart rate response. Psychonomic Science, 2, 265-266.

Graham, F.K. & Clifton, R.K. (1966) Heart rate change as a component of the orienting response. Psychological Bulletin, 65, 305-320. (This article was selected as a "Citation Classic" by Current Contents, 1978, 21, 16.)

Clifton, R.K. & Graham, F.K. (1968) Stability of individual differences in heart rate activity during the newborn period. Psychophysiology, 5, 37-50.

Clifton, R.K., Graham, F.K., & Hatton, H.M. (1968) Newborn heart rate response and response habituation as a function of stimulus duration. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 6, 265-278.

Graham, F.K., Clifton, R.K., & Hatton, H.M. (1968) Habituation of heart rate response to repeated auditory stimulation during the first days of life. Child Development, 39, 35-52.

Clifton, R.K. & Meyers, W.J. (1969) The heart rate response of four month old infants to auditory stimuli. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 7, 122-135.

Clifton, C.E., Clifton, R.K., Meyers, W.J., & Miller, R. (1970) Cardiac responses to attended and ignored stimuli. Psychonomic Science, 18, 361-362.

Clifton, R.K., Meyers, W.J., & Solomons, G. (1972) Methodological problems in conditioning the head turning response of newborn infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 13, 29-42.

Clifton, R.K., Siqueland, E., & Lipsitt, L. (1972) Conditioned head turning in human newborns as a function of conditioned response requirements and states of wakefulness. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 13, 43-57.

Pomerleau-Malcuit, A., & Clifton, R.K. (1973) Neonatal heart rate response to tactile, auditory, and vestibular stimulation in different states. Child Development, 44, 485-496.

Clifton, R.K. (1974) Heart rate conditioning in the newborn infant. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 18, 9-21.

Pomerleau-Malcuit, A., Malcuit, G., & Clifton, R.K. (1975) An attempt to elicit cardiac orienting and defense responses in the newborn to two types of facial stimulation. Psychophysiology, 12, 527-535.

Gregg, C., Clifton, R.K., & Haith, M. (1976) A possible explanation for the frequent failure to find cardiac orienting in the newborn infant. Developmental Psychology, 12, 75-76.

Field, T., Dempsey, J., Hatch, J., Ting, G., & Clifton, R. (1979) Cardiac and behavioral responses to repeated tactile and auditory stimulation by preterm and term neonates. Developmental Psychology, 15, 406-416.

Dowd, J., Clifton, R., Anderson, D., & Eichelman, W. (1980) Children perceive large-disparity random dot stereograms more rapidly than adults. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 29, 1-11.

Clifton, R.K., Morrongiello, B.A., Kulig, J., & Dowd, J. (1981) Newborns' orientation toward sound: Possible implications for cortical development. Child Development, 52, 833-838.

Morrongiello, B., Clifton, R., & Kulig, J. (1982) Newborn cardiac and behavioral orienting responses to sound under varying precedence-effect conditions. Infant Behavior and Development, 5, 249-259.

Clarkson, M., Morrongiello, B., & Clifton, R. (1982) Stimulus-presentation probability influences newborn head orientation to sound. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 55, 1239-1246.

Morrongiello, B., Kulig, J., & Clifton, R. (1984) Developmental changes in auditory temporal perception. Child Development, 55, 461-471.

Robson, R., Morrongiello, B., Best, C., & Clifton, R. (1984) Trading relations in the perception of speech by five-year-old children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 37, 231-250.

Clifton, R., Morrongiello, B., & Dowd, J. (1984) A developmental look at an auditory illusion: The precedence effect. Developmental Psychobiology, 17, 519-536.

Morrongiello, B. A. & Clifton, R. K. (1984) Effects of sound frequency on behavioral and cardiac orienting in newborn and five-month-old infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 38, 427-446.

Clarkson, M. G., Clifton, R. K., & Morrongiello, B. A. (1985) The effects of sound duration on newborns' head orientation. J. of Experimental Child Psychology, 39, 20-36.

Clarkson, M. G. & Clifton, R. K. (1985) Infant pitch perception: Evidence for responding to pitch categories and the missing fundamental. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 77, 1521-1528.

Ashmead, D.H., Clifton, R.K., & Reese, E.P. (1986) Development of auditory localization in dogs: Single source and precedence effect sounds. Developmental Psychobiology, 19, 91-104.

Myers, N., Clifton, R., & Clarkson, M. (1987) When they were very young:Almost-threes remember two years ago, Infant Behavior & Development, 10, 123-132.

Ashmead, D. H., Clifton, R. K., & Perris, E. E. (1987) Precision of auditory localization in human infants. Developmental Psychology, 23, 641-647.

Clifton, R. K. (1987) Breakdown of echo suppression in the precedence effect. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 82, 1834-1835.

Clifton, R., Gwiazda,J., Bauer, J., Clarkson, M., & Held, R. (1988) Growth in head size during infancy: Implications for sound localization. Developmental Psychology, 24, 477-483.

Clarkson, M. G., Clifton, R. K., & Perris, E. E. (1988) Infant timbre perception: Discrimination of frequency envelopes. Perception and Psychophysics, 43, 15-20.

Perris, E. E. & Clifton, R. K. (1988) Reaching in the dark toward sound as a measure of auditory localiztion in infants. Infant Behavior & Development, 11, 473-491.

Muir, D. W., Clifton, R. K., & Clarkson, M. G. (1989) The development of a human auditory localization response: A U-shaped function. Canadian Journal of Psychology., 43, 199-216.

Clifton, R. K. & Freyman, R. L. (1989) Effect of click rate and delay on breakdown of the precedence effect. Perception and Psychophysics, 46, 139-145.

Clarkson, M. G., Clifton, R. K., Swain, I.U., & Perris, E. E. (1989) Stimulus duration and repetition rate influence newborns' head orientation toward sound. Developmental Psychobiology, 22, 683-705.

Perris, E. E., Myers, N. A., & Clifton, R. K. (1990) Long-term memory for a single infancy experience. Child Development, 61, 1796-1807.

Clifton, R. K., Perris, E., & Bullinger, A. (1991) Infants' perception of auditory space. Developmental Psychology, 27, 187-197.

Clifton, R. K., Rochat, P., Litovsky, R., & Perris, E. (1991) Object representation guides infants' reaching in the dark. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 17, 323-329.

Clarkson, M. G., Swain, I., Clifton, R. K., & Cohen, K. (1991) Newborns' head orientation toward trains of brief sound. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 89, 2411-2420.

Freyman, R. L., Clifton, R. K., & Litovsky, R. Y. (1991) Dynamic processes in the precedence effect. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 90, 874-884.

Litovsky, R. Y. & Clifton, R. K. (1992) Use of sound pressure level in auditory distance discrimination. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 92, 794-802.

Clifton, R. K., Muir, D. W., Ashmead, D. H., & Clarkson, M. G. (1993) Is visually guided reaching in early infancy a myth? Child Development, 64, 1099-1110.

Swain, I.U., Zelazo, P. R., & Clifton, R. K. (1993) Newborn memory for speech sounds retained over 24 hours. Developmental Psychology, 29, 312-323.

Clifton, R. K., Freyman, R. L., Litovsky, R. Y., & McCall, D. D. (1994) Listeners' expectations about echoes can raise or lower echo threshold. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 95, 1525-1533.

Clifton, R., Rochat, P., Robin, D., & Berthier, N. (1994) Multimodal perception in human infants. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 20, 876-886.

Shinn-Cunningham, B. G., Zurek, P. M., Durlach, N. I., & Clifton, R. K. (1995) Cross-frequency interactions in the precedence effect. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 98, 164-171.

Clarkson, M. G. & Clifton, R. K. (1995) Infants' pitch perception: Inharmonic tonal complexes. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 98, 1372-1379.

Berthier, N., Clifton, R., Gullipalli, V., McCall, D., & Robin, D. (1996) Visual information and object size in the control of reaching. Journal of Motor Behavior, 28, 187-197.

Robin, D., Berthier, N., & Clifton, R. (1996) Infants' predictive reaching for moving objects in the dark. Developmental Psychology, 32, 824-835.

Schilling, T. H. & Clifton, R. K. (1998) Nine-month-old infants learn about a physical event in a single session: Implications for infants’ understanding of physical phenomena. Cognitive Development, 13, 165-184.

Goubet, N. & Clifton, R. K. (1998) Object and event representation in 6 Ѕ month-old infants. Developmental Psychology, 34, 63-76.

McCall, D. D., Freyman, R. L., & Clifton, R. K. (1998) Sudden changes in spectrum of an echo cause a breakdown of the precedence effect. Perception & Psychophysics, 60, 593-601.

Freyman, R. L., McCall, D. D., & Clifton, R. K. (1998) Intensity discrimination for precedence effect stimuli. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 103, 2031-2041.

McCarty, M. E., Clifton, R. K., & Collard, R. R. (1999) Problem solving in infancy: The emergence of an action plan. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1091-1101.

Berthier, N., Clifton, R., McCall, D. D, & Robin, D. (1999) Proximodistal structure of early reaching in human infants. Experimental Brain Research, 127, 259-269.

McCall, D. M. & Clifton, R. K. (1999) Infants’ means-end search for hidden objects in the absence of visual feedback. Infant Behavior & Development., 22, 179-195.

Freyman, R. L., Helfer, K. S., McCall, D. M., & Clifton, R. K. (1999) The role of perceived spatial separation in the unmasking of speech. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 106, 3578-3588.

Clifton, R. K., Perris, E. E., & McCall, D. D. (1999) Does reaching in the dark for unseen objects reflect representation in infants? Infant Behavior & Development, 22, 297-302.

Berthier, N. E., DeBlois, S., Poirier, C. R., Novak, M. A., & Clifton, R. K. (2000) Where’s the ball? Two and three-year-olds reason about unseen events. Developmental Psychology, 36, 394-401.

McCarty, M. E., Clifton, R. K., & Collard, R. R. (2001) The beginnings of tool use by infants and toddlers. Infancy, 2, 233-256.

Berthier, N. E., Bertenthal, B. I., Seaks, J. D., Sylvia, M. R., Johnson, R. L., & Clifton, R. K. (2001) Using object knowledge in visual tracking and reaching. Infancy, 2, 257-284.

Clifton, R. K. (2001) Ce que les bibis nous ont appris: un parcours de recherche. [Our changing image of the infant]. Enfance. (invited paper for special issue), 53, 5-34.

McCarty, M. E., Clifton, R. K., Ashmead, D. H., Lee, P., & Goubet, N. (2001) How infants use vision for grasping objects. Child Development, 72, 973-987.

Clifton, R. K. (2001) Lessons from infants: 1960-2000. Infancy, 2, 285-309. (Publication of Presidential address to International Society on Infant Studies, July, 2000).

Goubet, N., Clifton, R. K., & Shah, B. (2001) Learning about pain in premature newborns. Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, 22, 1-7.

Clifton, R. K., Freyman, R. L., & Meo, J. (2002) What the precedence effect tells us about room acoustics. Perception & Psychophysics, 64, 180-188.

Butler, S. C., Berthier, N. E., & Clifton, R. K. (2002) Two-year-olds’ search strategies and visual tracking in a hidden displacement task. Developmental Psychology, 38, 581-590.

Keen, R., Carrico, R. L., Sylvia, M. R., & Berthier, N. E. (2003) How infants use perceptual information to guide action. Developmental Science, 6, 221-231.

Claxton, L., Keen, R., & McCarty, M.E. (2003) Evidence of motor planning in infant reaching behavior. Psychological Science, 14, 354-356.

Keen, R. (2003) Representation of objects and events: Why do infants look so smart and toddlers look so dumb? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 79-83. [Reprinted in Current Directions in Developmental Psychology, edited by Jacqueline Lerner and Amy Alberts, Prentice Hall, 2004.]

Mash, C., Keen, R., & Berthier, N. E. (2003) Visual access and attention in two-year-olds’ event reasoning and object search. Infancy, 4, 371-388.

Johnson-Frey, S., McCarty, M. E., & Keen, R.. (2004) Reaching beyond spatial perception: Effects of intended future actions onvisually guided prehension. Visual Cognition, 11, 371-399.

McCarty, M. E., & Keen, R.(2005) Facilitating problem-solving performance among 9- and 12-month-olds. Journal of Cognition and Development, 6, 209-230.

Kloos, H. & Keen, R. (2005) An exploration of toddlers’ problems in a search task.Infancy, 7, 7-34.

Shutts, K., Keen, R., & Spelke, E. (2006) Object boundaries influence toddlers’ performance in a search task. Developmental Science, 9, 97-107.

Berthier, N. E. & Keen, R. (2006) Development of reaching in infancy. Experimental Brain Research, 169, 507-518..

Mash, C., Novak, E., Berthier, N., & Keen, R. (2006) What do two-year-olds understand about hidden-object events? Developmental Psychology, 42, 263-271.

Kloos, H., Haddad, J., & Keen, R. (2006) Which cues are available to 24-month-olds? Evidence from point of gaze measures during search. Infant Behavior & Development, 29, 243-250..

Freyman, R. L. & Keen, R. (2006) Constructing and disrupting listeners’ models of auditory space. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 120, 3957-3965.

Keen, R., Berthier, N., Sylvia, M., Butler, S., Prunty, T., Baker, R. K. (2008) Toddlers’ use of cues in a search task.. Infant and Child Development, 17, 249-267.

Haddad, J., Kloos, H., & Keen, R. (2008) Conflicting cues in a dynamic search task are reflected in children’s eye movements and search errors. Developmental Science, 11, 504-515. . Morgante, J.. Haddad, J., & Keen, R. (2008) Preschoolers’ oculomotor behavior during their observation of an action task. Visual Cognition, 16, 430-438.

Morgante, J. & Keen, R. (2008) Vision and action: The effect of visual feedback on infants’ exploratory behaviors. Infant Behavior & Development, 31. 729-733.

Sanders, L. D., Joh, A.S., Keen, R., & Freyman, R. L. (2008) Two sounds or one? Object-related negativity indexes echo perception. Perception & Psychophysics, 70, 1558-1570.

Shutts, K., Ornkloo, H., von Hofsten, C., Keen, R., & Spelke, E. (2009) Young children’s representations of spatial and functional relationships between objects. Child Development, 80, 1612-1627.

Claxton, L., McCarty, M., & Keen, R. (2009) Negative consequences affect planning in tool-use tasks with toddlers. Infant Behavior and Development, 32, 230-233.

Keen, R. & Freyman, R.L. (2009) Release and reacquisition of built-up models of auditory space. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 125, 3243-3252.

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