How do young children think about themselves?

When young children interact with puppets in a theater in a carefully constructed interview, they reveal much about their sense of self.

Welcome to the Social and Emotional Development Lab

The purpose of our work is to better understand the psychological development in children, especially in the early years of life, and to apply what we have learned to improving programs, practices, and policies affecting children and their families. On the pages that are linked to this one, you will find descriptions of research conducted in this lab concerning parent-child relationships, early emotional understanding, conscience development, and children’s developing understanding of themselves. You will also find papers and projects devoted to improving the lives of children on topics ranging from child abuse prevention to grandparent visitation rights to school readiness. We have included links that enable interested persons to become involved in activities that assist children and families locally and nationally, as well as opportunities to become involved in the work of the lab. I hope that this website will be a resource to anyone who is interested in young children and the influences on their development. -- Ross Thompson


View presentations given at the Society for Research in Child Development and other conferences.

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Our Research

The goal of our research is to understand the multifaceted influences on early psychological development, especially in early childhood.

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