Laura Visu-Petra, PhD laura16
Developmental Psychology Lab
Department of Psychology
Babeș-Bolyai University
Republicii Street, 37, Cluj-Napoca, 400015
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Research topics
My work investigates the typical and atypical development of executive functions, relevant for developing training programs and for improving academic performance. Current research projects target executive functioning and emotion-cognition interactions in high-anxious children (preschoolers and early school age). Another current research interest is the emergence and development of deceptive behavior in relation to the child's socio-cognitive (theory of mind, executive functions) and problematic behaviour (internalizing and externalizing symptoms).
Research interests
 ●        Individual differences and vulnerability to developmental psychopathology
 ●        Typical and atypical executive functioning development
 ●        Cognitive functioning in high-trait anxiety
 ●        Executive functions and deception skills during early development
 ●        Developmental cognitive neuropsychology
Professional experience
2015 present: Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University
2009 – 2015: Lecturer Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University
2006 – 2009: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University
2007 – present: Main investigator, Developmental Psychology Lab (
2003 – present: Tutoring for the long-distance courses of Atypical Developmental Profiles and Developmental Psychology
2013: Habilitation Thesis: Individual differences in executive functioning: Interactions with socio-emotional development and early vulnerability to psychopathology.
2008: PhD in Psychology (Summa cum Laude), Thesis title: The Multidimensional Development of Executive Functioning: A Neuropsychological Approach; Supervisor: Prof. Mircea Miclea.
2004: M. A. in “Psychological Counseling and Psychotherapy”, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
2003: B. Sc., Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
Awards & scholarships
2016: Award for Excellence in Scientific Research offered by Babes Bolyai University (
2012: Early Career Award, Stress and Anxiety Research Society (
2011: Scholarship (1000$) from the Society for Research in Child Development (USA) for attending the Biennial Meeting in Canada.
2008: Fellow of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology - John Merck Fund Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disorders, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Ithaca, SUA.
2006: Fellow of Program of European Neuroscience (PENS) & Hertie for the  Winter School: “Brain Basis of Social Interaction: From Concepts to Imaging”, Kitzbühel, Austria.
2005: Fellow of the International Brain Research Organization and Federation of European Neuroscience Society for the summer school "Development and Plasticity of the Human Cerebral Cortex", Croatian Institute for Brain Research, Zadar/Zagreb, Croatia.
2005: SOCRATES/Erasmus scholarship - PhD-stage mobility at the Laboratory of Developmental Psychology, Universita degli Studi di Torino.
2004: Fellow of the Federation of European Neuroscience Society for the Cognitive Neuroscience Summer School on Working Memory, Bled, Slovenia
2003: “Alexandru Roșca” Scientific Award from the Institute for Social and Humanistic Research, Romanian Academy, Cluj, Romania.
2002: Award for Contribution at the University Reforming Process, Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania.
2001: Fellow of the Central and Eastern European Center of Cognitive Science at the 8th Summer School of Cognitive Science, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Editorial Activity
- Expert in reviewing research projects for Australian Research Council (since 2013)
- Member of the Editorial Board of Cognition, Brain, Behavior. An interdisciplinary journal, the journal of The Romanian Association of Cognitive Sciences (since 2005)
- Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, Canadian Center of Science and Education (since 2012).
- Member of the Editorial Board of Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, the journal of the Russian Psychological Society (since 2013).
- Member of the Scientific Board of the International Journal of Developmental Science, Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft AKA, Heidelberg.
- Ad-hoc reviewer for: Learning and individual differences, Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, Wiley-Blackwell; Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Sage; Emotion, APA; Thinking and Reasoning, Taylor & Francis Group; Personality and Individual Differences, Elsevier; Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Wiley-Blackwell; Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Elsevier.
I. Current projects                
2012–2015: Human Resources Program - Projects for Young Research Teams (grant director), Title: The connected lie: Longitudinal links between early deception skills, sociocognitive development and problematic behaviors in young children (, Grant PNII-RU-TE-2012-3-0323, Financed by National University Research Council, Funding: 645165 lei (~149000 Euros)
2012–2015: Ideas Project, type Complex Exploratory Research Projects (Team coordinator, PI: Prof. Colin MacLeod & dr. Andrei C. Miu), Title: Genetic and environmental factors in emotion regulation development during adolescence: Implications for anxiety disorders and depression, Grant PNII-ID-PCCE-2011-2-0045, Financed by National University Research Council, Funding (total): 6.085.043 lei (~1.300.000 Euros)
2013-2014: Project for young researchers (grant director). Title: Cognitive control of fears from early childhood to adolescence. Interrelationships with executive functioning and self evaluation of personal competencies. Financing source: Babeș-Bolyai University, Sum: 20000 lei
Web of Science indexed (ISI) journal articles


Mărcuș, O., Stanciu, O., MacLeod, C., Liebregts, H., & Visu-Petra, L. (in press). A FISTful of emotion: Individual differences in trait anxiety and cognitive-affective flexibility during preadolescence, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1-12. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-015-0110-z
Visu-Petra, L., Jurje, O., Ciornei, O., & Visu-Petra, G. (2016). Can you Keep a Secret? Introducing the RT-based Concealed Information Test to Children. Psychology, Crime & Law, 1-54. DOI: 10.1080/1068316X.2015.1109085

Varga, M., Visu-Petra, G., Miclea, M., & Visu-Petra, L. (2015). The “Good Cop, Bad Cop” Effect in the RT-Based Concealed Information Test: Exploring the Effect of Emotional Expressions Displayed by a Virtual Investigator. PLoS ONE, 10(2), e0116087. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116087

Buta, M., Leva, D. S., & Visu-Petra, L. (2015). Who Is the Tattletale? Linking Individual Differences in Socioemotional Competence and Anxiety to Tattling Behavior and Attitudes in Young Children. Early Education and Development, 26(4),496-519. doi:10.1080/10409289.2015.1000717

Visu-Petra, L., Stanciu, O., Bega, O., Miclea, M., & Cheie, L. (2014). Longitudinal and concurrent links between memory span, anxiety symptoms, and subsequent executive functioning in young children. Frontiers in Psychology (Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, Research Topic: Development of Executive Function During Childhood). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00443

Cheie, L., Veraksa, A., Zinchenko, Y., Gorovaya, A., & Visu-Petra, L. (in press). A cross-cultural investigation of inhibitory control, generative fluency, and anxiety symptoms in Romanian and Russian preschoolers. Child Neuropsychology. doi:10.1080/09297049.2013.879111

Mocan, O., Stanciu, O., & Visu-Petra, L. (in press). Relating individual differences in internalizing symptoms to emotional attention set-shifting in children. Anxiety, stress and coping. doi:10.1080/10615806.2014.888419

Cheie, L., & Visu-Petra, L. (2014). What was I supposed to do? Effects of individual differences in age and anxiety on preschoolers' prospective memory. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 38(1), 1-10. DOI: 10.1177/0165025413506132

Visu-Petra, G., Varga, M., Miclea, M., & Visu-Petra, L. (2013). When interference helps: increasing executive load to facilitate deception detection in the concealed information test. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 146.  DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00146

Visu-Petra, G., Miclea, M., Buş, I., & Visu-Petra, L. (2012). Detecting concealed information: The role of individual differences in executive functions and social desirability. Psychology, Crime and Law, 20(1), 1-7. DOI: 10.1080/ 1068316X.2012.736509

Visu-Petra, L., Miclea, M., & Visu-Petra, G. (2012). Individual differences in anxiety and executive functioning: A multidimensional view. International Journal of Psychology, 48(4), 1-11. DOI: 10.1080/ 00207594.2012.656132

Visu-Petra, G., Miclea, M., & Visu-Petra, L. (2012). Reaction Time-based Detection of Concealed Information in Relation to Individual Differences in Executive Functioning. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(3), 342-351. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1827

Cheie, L. & Visu-Petra, L. (2012). Relating individual differences in trait-anxiety to memory functioning in young children: An investigation using task-irrelevant emotional stimuli. Journal of Individual Differences, 33(2), 109-118. DOI: 10.1027/1614-0001/a000079

Visu-Petra, L., Cheie, L., Benga, O., Alloway, T. P. (2011). Effects of trait anxiety on memory storage and updating in young children. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35(1) 38–47. DOI: 10.1177/0165025410368945

Visu-Petra, L., Ţincaş, I, Cheie, L., & Benga, O. (2010). Anxiety and visual-spatial memory updating in young children: An investigation using emotional facial expressions. Cognition & Emotion [Emotional states, attention, and working memory], Special Issue, N. Derakshan, M.W. Eysenck (Eds.), 24(2), 223-240. DOI: 10.1080/02699930903387546

Visu-Petra, L., Miclea, M., Cheie, L., & Benga, O. (2009). Processing efficiency in preschoolers' memory span: A longitudinal investigation of individual differences related to age and anxiety. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 103(1), 30-48.  

Visu-Petra, L., Benga, O., Tincas¸ I. & Miclea, M. (2007). Visual-spatial processing in children and adolescents with Down's syndrome: A computerized assessment of memory skills. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 51(12), 942-952.

Ciairano, S., Visu-Petra, L., & Settani, M. (2007). Executive inhibitory control and cooperative behavior during early school years: a follow-up study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35(3), 335-345.

Visu-Petra, L. & Cheie, L. (2012) Dezvoltarea memoriei de lucru. Exerciții pentru preșcolari și școlari. [Working memory development. Activities for preschoolers and school-age children]. Romanian Association of Cognitive Science Publishing House, Cluj-Napoca.
Visu-Petra, L. (2008). The Multidimensional Development of Executive Functioning: A Neuropsychological Approach. ASCR, Cluj-Napoca.
Benga, O. (Ed.), Boroş, S., Petra, L., Pop, M., Bogdan, R. (co-authors). (2002). Therapeutic Games for Children, 2nd revised Edition (In Romanian), ASCR, Cluj-Napoca.
Book chapters                                                                                                        
Visu-Petra, G., Opre, O., & Visu-Petra, L. (2015). Evaluarea riscului infracțional: de la abordări statice la mecanisme dinamice. In Havarneanu, C. & Havarneanu, G. (Eds) Psihologia riscului, Polirom, Iasi.  
Buta, M., Ciornei, O, Fizeșan, C., Jurje, O., & Visu-Petra, L. (2015). Anxiety symptoms in primary school-age children: Relation with emotion understanding competences. In Moore, K., Buchwald, P., & Howard, S. (Eds) Stress and Anxiety. Applications to Schools, Well-Being, Coping, and Internet Use. Berlin: Logos Verlag;
Visu-Petra, L., Cheie, L., & Mocan, O. (2013). Executive functioning in high-trait anxious children: A cognitive vulnerability factor? In Kathleen A. Moore, Krzysztof Kaniasty, Petra Buchwald, Albert Sesé (Eds.) Stress and Anxiety: Applications to Health and Well-Being, Work Stressors, and Assessment, (pp 153-160), Berlin: Logos Verlag.
Visu-Petra, L., Cheie, L., & Miu, A. C. (2013). Working Memory and Anxiety: Exploring the Interplay of Individual Differences across Development. In Alloway, T. P. & Alloway, R. G. (Eds) Working Memory: The New Intelligence (pp. 187-216). Frontiers in Cognitive Psychology series; Series Editors: Nelson Cowan and David Balota, New-York: Psychology Press.
Miu, A. C. & Visu-Petra, L. (2011). Computer-assisted evaluation of attentional biases in anxiety. In The Computer-Mediated Therapy of Anxiety. (pp. 28-46). Romanian Association of Cognitive Science Publishing House, Cluj-Napoca.
Miu, A. C., & Visu-Petra, L. (2009). Anxiety disorders in children and adults: A cognitive, neurophysiological and genetic characterization. In R. Carlstedt (Ed.), Handbook of Integrative Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Medicine: Perspectives, Practices, and Research. (pp. 309-351). New York: Springer.
Visu-Petra, L. & Benga, O. (Eds.) (2007). Developmental Cognitive Neuropsychology. Special volume of Cognition, Brain, Behavior, Romanian Association of Cognitive Science Publishing House.