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Research

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Projects

BlackBerry Project & Facebook Project

The BlackBerry Project and Facebook Project are part of a large, longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study investigated the developmental origins of aggressive behavior: biological, family, personality, peer group, and school factors. This research also examined developmental outcomes associated with engaging in and being the victim of social and physical aggression. The overall aim of this research program is clarify to developmental precursors of adolescent psychopathology for both girls and boys, with the long-term goal of developing prevention efforts not only for social and physical aggression, but also for internalizing problems, personality disorders, and eating disorders.

Another goal of these studies was to explore how youth use electronic communication (texting, private messaging, and public messaging) in their peer relationships. Given the large amount of time youth spend engaged in online communication, it is important to study how these forms of communication relate to adjustment. Direct observation of adolescents’ text messages allows for the unobtrusive study of natural communication.

Social Media Studies

We study various social and psychological processes as they occur on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Studies are commonly questionnaire-based, although we also employ experimental and observational methods to understand how adolescents and emerging adults engage with these platforms.

Eye-Tracking Studies

We use a Tobii eye-tracker to study participants’ visual attention to visual stimuli including social media content and videos of people interacting. The eye-tracking studies are conducted to better understand how visual attention is related to beliefs and behavior.

RA's and Blackberry Phone

Get Involved in Conducting Research

Research Assistants

Undergraduate research assistants ensure our research projects’ success by performing a variety of tasks under the supervision of graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers. RAs learn about the ethical conduct of research and gain hands-on experience with multiple aspects of the research process.

Lab tasks may include:

  • Coding text message transcripts for content
  • Running participants through study protocol
  • Organizing and cleaning data
  • Preparing materials for data collection

Experienced RAs may have the chance to analyze data and present their own research.

We are not currently recruiting undergraduate research assistants.