The goal of our research is to understand the multifaceted influences on early psychological development, especially in early childhood. In our studies of the growth of emotion understanding and emotion self-regulation, conscience development, understanding of self and others, and related topics, we seek to understand the convergence of influences within and surrounding the developing child. Our studies devote attention, for example, to the influence of the warmth and security of the parent-child relationship, the child’s own efforts to comprehend her or his psychological experience, the broader emotional climate of the child’s life, neighborhood processes, and the sociodemographic context of family life. We invite you to learn more about this work and, if interested, to become involved yourself.
Development of Emotion Understanding Study
This study will examine developmental changes in children's emotion understanding as well as maternal emotion socialization influences on individual differences in emotion understanding. First and third grade children will share with us their understanding of emotion processes in different social contexts and mothers will report on emotion socialization processes. Recruitment and data collection will begin in Fall 2010.
Early Social Understanding Study
This is a short-term longitudinal study investigating the influence of relational factors, such as the quality of mother-infant interaction and maternal socialization processes, on young children's interactions with an unfamiliar adult in a variety of novel social situations. Mothers and their 12-month-olds will participate in the first wave of the study, and they will return six months later for a follow-up visit. We are currently completing data collection for the 12-month wave of this project and will be bringing the 18-month-olds and their mothers back to the lab through Spring 2012.
Preschoolers' Emotional Responding and Communication Study
This study is a short-term longitudinal study examining the development of early moral character in preschool-age children and maternal and relational predictors of individual differences in these sociomoral behaviors. Children and their mothers who participated in a lab visit during their 4th year will be invited back to the lab to participate in a follow-up visit approximately 1-1.5 years later. During the follow-up visit, children's prosocial and early conscience behaviors, such as compliance and behavioral inhibition, will be observed. This will allow us to assess consistency within and across these early moral behaviors along with maternal and family predictors of individual differences over time.
Toddler Social Understanding Study
This study investigates the role of several relational influences and individual differences on 18-to 20-month-olds' behavior in social interactions. We are interested in how toddlers' temperament and aspects of the mother-child relationship, including maternal mind-mindedness, attachment security, and maternal discourse regarding the causes of emotions, influences children's prosocial and helping behavior in response to emotional and non-emotional cues. We recently completed data collection for this study, so we are no longer recruiting participants.
Infants' Social Interactions Study
This study will examine the sources of individual differences, such as maternal mental health status, which influence the way infants interact, both with their primary caregivers and with others. Data collection for this project was completed in Summer 2008.
Preschoolers' Emotional Development Study
This study is examining the sources of individual differences in the quality of mothers’ conversations with their children about emotion, and how these conversations influence preschool children’s emotion knowledge of self and other, and emotion regulation. Data collection was completed in Spring 2007 and is currently being analyzed and published.
More Photos of our Lab
Our welcome Room One of our observation and playrooms
Our welcome Room
One of our observation and playrooms