Department Chair and Associate Professor
Early social development
I’m currently working with undergraduate students on projects related to positive social behavior in toddlers and preschoolers. In one project we are investigating whether toddlers, who generally become very helpful at around 18 months of age, nevertheless withhold the urge to help an unfamiliar adult unless that adult offers gestures of friendship. In a second project, we are exploring the concept of social “priming”-- whether preschoolers can be induced to share preferred snacks after a brief exposure to images of dolls standing together in a posture of friendship.
Academic success among college students
A considerable body of research has shown that students (middle school through college) who believe that intelligence can be grown, acquired, and developed show higher levels of achievement than do students who believe that intelligence is fixed. A separate line of research has found that students who spend 30 minutes thinking and writing about their core values as they make the difficult transition from high school to college are more likely than those who do not engage in such affirmations, to be academically successful. These interventions, while surprisingly brief, have been found to have long-lasting positive effects on GPA—as much as a year, at least among minority group students enrolled in elite colleges. In a current project, we plan to test whether a combination of these interventions can enhance GPA and the motivation to stay in college among students enrolled in public commuter institutions.
If you are an undergraduate in psychology who would like to work in my lab, fill out this form and return it to the psychology department. I can accommodate up to two students each semester.
If you are a parent of a toddler or preschooler and would like to participate in our research projects, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 980-6684.