About

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D., Founder, Momma Data 


I am not a traditional parenting expert. I can't tell you how to get your baby to sleep, potty train your toddler or save your kids from cyber-bullying, drug addiction or sub-par SAT scores.

However, I can help you judge and sort through news and advice.

I can tell you:
Why you should wonder about the latest expert, study or article telling you how to make your child healthier, smarter, neater, kinder, etc

Whether the latest study supports (or not) the latest recommendation or news. 
How to evaluate news, claims, studies and evidence about children and parenting.

I'm a psychologist, research consultant, and a critic of what I call The Parenting Media or the loose collection of news, advice, studies and other information parents encounter. I've been debunking child health and parenting news and studies at Momma Data since 2006.

As a research consultant I help guide professionals such as journalists, writers and educators in better understanding child-related studies.  I also advocate for child and maternal health on behalf of several organizations including the United Nations Foundation and the Shot At Life campaign, a movement to improve access to life-saving childhood vaccinations in the developing world.  In 2014 the United Nations Foundation named me a Social Good Fellow.

Before starting Momma Data, I conducted and collaborated on research in labs and organizations, taught psychology, research methods and statistics, and co-authored articles in noted research journals and books. For over 15 years I worked on research projects in academia, government and the private sector spanning the fields of psychology, health and education with a special interest on cognitive/social-cognitive judgment in children and young adults.

My research experience involves a number of institutions including the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, ABT Associates (a social science research firm) and several academic psychology labs. I hold a B.A. in psychology from Duke University and a Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University.

You can find my Momma Data column, a slightly different version of this blog, at Psychology Today. My former column, Naked Data on the now defunct Parent Dish is also available online. My writing has also appeared in science and health sites including Research Blogging, Science Seeker and Next Avenue.


Why Momma Data?

My first child was born in 2000 near the height of the vaccines-cause-autism scare, a frustrating time for a new parent who cared deeply about scientific research and data. This also coincided with a massive change in media, basically the explosion of the internet with its huge store of information and misinformation. Six years, two more pregnancies, two more kids, a doctorate and many parenting claims later, I began working to bring clarity and solid evidence to parents and to that end sorting through some of the seemingly endless claims about kids.

Having spent my prime child-bearing years in poorly lit labs while also reading less than stellar parenting articles, I've made it my mission to flush out suspect claims about kids and also help parents understand, question and even appreciate advice and studies about kids. Yes, even scientific studies.

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