Sammy Ahmed

  • Assistant Professor
  • Human Development and Family Science
  • Phone: 401.874.5960
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Transition Center, Room 208
  • Website

PLEASE NOTE: Dr. Ahmed will be accepting new doctoral students for the 2024-2025 academic year.


Sammy Ahmed is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Ahmed received a B.S. in Applied Psychology from New York University, and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan. He was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health T32 graduate training fellowship, where he studied the biological and contextual predictors of children’s cognitive development. After his doctoral studies, Dr. Ahmed received postdoctoral training at Michigan State University, where he worked with the HighScope Educational Research Foundation to study the effects of preschool curricular enhancements on children’s executive function development. Dr. Ahmed’s teaching interests are in the areas of developmental science and quantitative methodology.


Dr. Ahmed’s research focuses on understanding the cognitive mechanisms that facilitate learning and social functioning during early childhood. More specifically, Dr. Ahmed studies executive function (i.e., working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility) along three interrelated lines of research: 1) the ways that early executive function development supports children’s learning and well-being across the lifespan, 2) the early social and classroom contexts that promote executive function development, and 3) early childhood interventions designed to promote young children’s executive function development. Across his lines of research, Dr. Ahmed uses longitudinal and experimental methods in school-based settings and uses large-scale data sets to understand children’s learning and development. Dr. Ahmed also has expertise in several areas of advanced quantitative methodology, including structural equation modeling, psychometrics, as well as longitudinal and multilevel modeling.

To learn more about Dr. Ahmed’s research, visit the Applied Cognitive Development Lab.


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Michigan, 2019
  • M.S., Psychology, University of Michigan, 2016
  • B.S., Applied Psychology, New York University, 2012

Selected Publications

Ahmed, S. F., Montroy, J. J., Skibbe, L. E., Bowles, R., & Morrison, F. J. (2023). The timing of executive function development is associated with growth in math achievement from preschool through second grade. Learning and Instruction 83, 101713.

Ahmed, S. F., Chaku, N., Waters, N. E., Ellis, A., & Davis-Kean, P. E. (2023). Developmental cascades and educational attainment. Advances in Child Development and Behavior.

Grammer, J. K., & Ahmed, S. F. (2023). Informing the development of school-based strategies to promote children’s executive function skills: Considerations, challenges, and future directions. Mind, Brain, and Education.

Koepp*, A. E., Watts, T. W., Gershoff, E. T., Ahmed, S. F., Davis-Kean, P., Duncan, G. J., Kuhfeld, M., & Vandell, D. L. (2023). Behavioral regulation problems during childhood prospectively predict adult outcomes: Conceptual replication and extension of Moffitt et al. (2011) using cohorts from the U.S. and the U.K. Developmental Psychology

Ribner, A., Ahmed, S. F., Miller-Cotto, D., & Ellis, A. (2023). The role of executive function in shaping the longitudinal stability of math achievement during early elementary grades. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 64(3), 84–93.

Ahmed, S. F., Ellis, A., Ward*, K., Chaku, N., & Davis-Kean, P. (2022). Working memory development from early childhood to adolescence using two nationally representative samples. Developmental Psychology. 58(10), 1962–1973.

 Ahmed, S. F., Skibbe, L. E., McRoy*, K., Tatar*, B. H., & Scharphorn, L. (2022). Strategies, recommendations, and validation of remote executive function tasks for use with young children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 60(3), 336–347.

Ahmed, S. F., Kuhfeld, M., Watts, T.W., Davis-Kean, P., & Vandell, D. L. (2021). Preschool executive function and adult outcomes: A developmental cascade model. Developmental Psychology, 57(12), 2234–2249.

 Kim., M, Bousselot, T., & Ahmed, S. F. (2021). Executive functions and science achievement during the five-to-seven-year shift. Developmental Psychology, 57(12), 2119–2133.

Ellis, A., Ahmed, S. F., Zeytinoglu, S., Isbell, A., Calkins S. D., Leerkes E. M, Grammer, J. K., Gehring, W., Morrison, F. J. & Davis-Kean, P. (2021). Reciprocal associations between executive function and math achievement: A conceptual replication of Schmitt et al., 2017. Journal of Numerical Cognition 7(3), 453–472.

Ahmed, S. F., Grammer, J. K., & Morrison, F. J. (2021). Cognition in context: Validating group-based executive function assessments in young children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 208:105131.

Kim, M., Ahmed, S. F., & Morrison, F. J. (2021). Kindergarten and first grade schooling effects on executive function and academic skill development: Evidence from a school cutoff design. Frontiers in Psychology, 11:607973.

 Waters*, N. E., Ahmed, S. F., Tang, S., Morrison, F. J., & Davis-Kean, P. (2021). Pathways from socioeconomic status to early academic achievement: The role of specific executive functions. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 54(1), 321–331.

 Woods, A., Ahmed, S. F., Katz, B., & Morrison, F. J. (2020). How stable is early academic performance? Using cluster analysis to classify low achievement and EF. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 52(7).

Ahmed*, S. F., Tang, S., Waters*, N. E., & Davis-Kean, P. (2019). Executive function and academic achievement: Longitudinal relations from early childhood to adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology. 111(3), 446-458.

Curriculum Vitae