Ph.D., Syracuse University, 1952
Emotions in the development of social competence, personality, behavior problems and prevention.
Department of Psychology
Phone: (302) 831-2700: Office
Office: Room 105 McKinly Lab; 831-2700: Lab; (302) 831-3645: Fax
I study emotions, indexed by a wide variety of procedures, in relation to the development of emotion knowledge, emotion regulation, social and emotional competence, personality, and behavior problems. The theoretical notion that drives my work is that the emotions are central in motivating and organizing perception, cognition, and action.
Much of the current research in the lab concerns a project on emotions, social risk, emotion regulation and dysregulation, and social competence. The children and their mothers were seen first when the children were in Head Start. Professor Brian Ackerman, an expert on children at risk, is co-principal investigator on this project. Five graduate students are active on the project. Each has primary responsibility for an aspect of the project or a particular study, and graduate students collaborate with each other and with the principal investigators on other studies.
The general purpose of the Head Start project is to examine longitudinally the interrelations among (a) social risk, (b) developments in the emotions system, and (c) social competence and behavior problems from ages 5 to 7. We are extending this research to later childhood and early adolescence. A principal goal is to develop a scientific basis for early intervention programs that prevent behavioral disorders and facilitate the development of social and emotional competence.
A relatively new activity in my lab consists in translating research into practice--clinical, school, and community programs. Based in part on the findings from our basic research and in collaboration with Dr. George Bear of the Department of Educational Studies, we have constructed an emotion-centered prevention program. It is a school-based program for facilitating the development of social and emotional competence and the prevention of behavior problems. The pilot implementation of the program at the University's College School for children with special needs began in the fall of 1998 and a full implementation of the revised program in two public schools in 1999-2000. Graduate students may choose to participate in basic research that strengthens the scientific basis of the program, the development of auxiliary program materials, program implementation, and program evaluation research.
Graduate students in the lab present papers at regional and national conventions and publish as first or later authors on a number of papers and book chapters. Current graduate students have presented at SRCD and APA and are authoring or coauthoring several papers. For example, some of these papers showed that a child's ability to detect emotion signals and understand the causes of emotion feelings was associated with indexes of the child's social competence. These activities of our graduate students reflect their goal of preparing for research-oriented careers in clinical psychological science.