Michael Willoughby

Fellow, Senior Research Public Health Analyst, Education and Workforce Development


  • PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BS, Psychology, Indiana University

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Michael Willoughby, PhD, is an expert in the development of self-regulation in children, with an emphasis on executive functions (cognitive abilities that are involved in the control and coordination of information in the service of goal-directed activities). His work is broadly organized around the causes, course, and consequences of individual differences in executive function, with a specific interest in how developmental changes in executive function during early childhood contribute to children’s school readiness and risk for disruptive behavior disorders.

Dr. Willoughby is currently leading a project to develop and rigorously evaluate a computerized assessment of executive functions for use with preschool-aged children. He has been a principal investigator, co-investigator, and statistician on grants funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Institute of Educational Sciences. Dr. Willoughby maintains an appointment of research professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.