The Social World of Youth On-line

The new cyberbullying study aims to understand how children perceive, experience and distinguish between cyberbullying and socially responsible online behaviour. Specifically, we have children and adolescents take on the perspective of the bully or the bystander in hypothetical cyberbullying scenarios. From here, we can explore the type and intensity of emotions children experience within these roles, as well as how they rationalize their behaviour.

Little Liars: Children White Lie-Telling Behaviour
In this study, we are investigating the development of social rules in children. More specifically, we examine behaviours such as being polite to protect the feelings of others, obeying instructions, keeping promises and telling the truth. Children will play computer games with the experimenter and also listen to different stories to examine their memory, planning, and rule-use.

Pinocchio’s Nose: Children’s Truth-telling
In this series of research studies, we are investigating children’s truth and lie-telling behaviour, and how to promote truth telling in young children. Specifically, we are examining the effects of different types of feedback on the overall frequency of truth telling or lying. In addition, children’s cognitive abilities such as perspective-taking and memory will be examined.  These studies involve children playing games to examine their truth-telling behaviours and reading stories where children are asked to evaluate the character’s behaviours. Practically, this research will inform caregivers and professionals working with children on how to better promote honesty in children across settings.

Can you tell me everything you remember?
In this study, we are looking at children’s truth and lie-telling behaviours in situations where they are asked to tell different types of lies. We are also interested in evaluating the best types of questions to ask children so that they can feel comfortable to tell the truth; as well as, the developmental factors that may influence the types of information children are willing to disclose about an event.

Diverse Voices: Children‘s Perceptions of Spirituality
This research project seeks to examine children’s perceptions of spirituality in relation to social-emotional development, adjustment, and coping. Children’s spirituality and its relationship with social-emotional well-being, coping, and quality of life will be examined in the lives of children with and without a cancer diagnosis. Children and parents are asked to complete questionnaires related to spirituality, social-emotional well-being,  coping, and perceived quality of life.

Our Debriefing Procedure

Given the nature of our research, we believe it is important to properly debrief children after our studies. This includes an explicit acknowledgment and praise of children’s decisions to be truthful, role modeling of honest behavior, and a demonstration of the positive consequences that can arise from telling the truth. Lying is a common place practice among children and adults alike, however studies suggest we may be more likely to foster honesty in children by reinforcing instances of honest behavior, rather than focusing on and punishing dishonest behavior.