The research in the lab focus on four key issues in child social development:
- Children’s truth-telling and lie-telling
- Children’s eyewitness testimony
- Children’s understanding of concepts of life, death and the role of spirituality in their development
- Children’s peer social interactions.
Children’s truth-telling and lie-telling
The first focus is on the development of children’s understanding of the concepts of truth and lies and their actual truth-telling and lie-telling behaviour. Our research examines how children come to grips with the concepts and moral implications of lying, whether children are gullible or they are able to detect others’ lies, and whether children can tell convergent lies in various social situations. We also examine the cognitive-social-cultural factors that affect children’s acquisition of conception and moral knowledge about lying and their ability to detect/tell lies successfully.
Specifically, Dr. Talwar has focused on verbal deception in children to investigate the relationship between social-cognition and action. Specific research interests are:
- The relationship between children’s moral knowledge and behaviour
- Theory-of-mind understanding and behaviour
- Expressive display rule knowledge and behaviour
Children’s eyewitness testimony
The second focus is on issues related to child witness testimony. Our research examines the veracity and accuracy of child witness reports for theirs and other’s behaviour. Our studies have included examination of the competency examination and children’s behaviour, children’s reports for repeated events, children’s reports of stressful events, and children’s reports for other’s transgressions. We also study adult’s perceptions and beliefs of child witness credibility as well as their ability to detect true and false reports.
Children’s understanding of concepts of life, death and the role of spirituality
As part of our third focus, we examine children’s understanding of concepts such as life and death as well as parents, teachers and health –care professional abilities to discuss these concepts with children. We examine how children develop a mature understanding of these concepts in relation to their cognitive and social development. In addition, we also examine the role of spirituality on children’s social-emotional development and their ability to cope with change and transitions in their lives.
Peer social interactions face-to-face and on-line
The fourth focus of our research is on the examination of the cognitive and emotional factors linked to relational aggression and cyberbullying in children and adolescents. In addition, we also examine the moral evaluation that children and adolescents make about events of cyberbullying and their attitudes toward public and private information.