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.
Childrenís truth-telling and lie-telling
The first focus is on the development of childrenís 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 othersí lies, and whether children can tell convergent lies in various
social situations. We also examine the cognitive-social-cultural factors that
affect childrenís 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 childrenís moral knowledge and behaviour
- Theory-of-mind understanding and behaviour
- Expressive display rule knowledge and behaviour
Childrenís 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 otherís behaviour. Our studies have included examination of the competency
examination and childrenís behaviour, childrenís reports for repeated events,
childrenís reports of stressful events, and childrenís reports for otherís
transgressions. We also study adultís 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.
Children’s social interactions
The fourth focus of our research is the examination of children’s social interactions in relation to their cognitive and social development. These studies include examining interactions between friends, children’s perceptions of others, children’s social groups and factors that leads to inclusion and exclusion in social interactions.