top of page

Beatrice Beebe Ph.D. is Clinical Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry), College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University; Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Basic Research

This basic research lab investigates mother-infant face-to-face communication and infant social development. We investigate the dyadic mechanisms organizing mother-infant social communication, the role that maternal distress plays in this communication, the effects of early mother-infant communication patterns on emerging infant attachment styles, and the long-term continuity of communication and attachment styles from infancy to young adulthood. We also study how prenatal toxic exposures may affect mother-infant communication.


Video and audio microanalysis of mother-infant behavior has been our focus for five decades. This precise coding, together with a sophisticated statistical method of multi-level time-series analysis, functions like a social microscope, identifying different patterns of contingent relating. 

Prediction of Attachment from 4-Month Mother-Infant Communication

These methods were used in three NIH RO1 Grants. Our grant on “Interpersonal timing and infant social development” (NIMH RO1 41675, 1985-1990) documented that the degree of contingent vocal coordination between mothers and infants, and strangers and infants, at 4 months, predicted infant attachment at one year. 


In our grant on mother-infant interaction, maternal depression, and infant attachment (NIMH RO1 MH 56130, 1999-2004) we predicted attachment at one year from mother-infant and stranger-infant interaction at 4 months. In addition, this study showed the impact of maternal depression and anxiety on mother-infant interaction. 

Longitudinal Follow-Up

A longitudinal follow-up study of these two cohorts (1985-1990, 1999-2004) from infancy to young adulthood was funded by the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytic Association. This study predicted young adult attachment (Adult Attachment Interview) from degrees of mother-infant and stranger-infant vocal turn-taking coordination in infancy at 4 and 12 months. 

Primary Prevention Project for Mothers Pregnant and Widowed on 9-11

For a decade Dr. Beebe directed a pro bono primary prevention project for mothers who were pregnant and widowed on 9-11 (Beebe, Cohen, Sossin, & Markese, 2012, Mothers, infants and young children of September 11, 2001: A primary prevention project). This was a clinical/research project which followed a cohort of 36 women who were pregnant and widowed on September 11, 2001.


Books and Documentary Films
She is author or co-author of 6 books. The most recent is The mother-infant interaction picture book: Origins of attachment (Beebe, Cohen & Lachman, Norton, 2016). Several documentary films about her research are available on Youtube.


Dr. Beatrice Beebe is faculty at several psychoanalytic institutes, and she has a private practice for adults and mother-infant pairs.

Click here for Dr. Beebe's CV.

bottom of page