Texas Tech University

Child Development Research Center

Human Development and Family Studies

Research Projects

Batool Alsayedhassan, TTU College of Education

We are investigating the effects of parents' training and the use of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to help their children with autism spectrum disorder to develop communication skills while providing immediate feedback to parents using Bug-in-Ear (BIE). The parents receive training from the investigator to implement PECS Phases I through IIIB with their children with autism. The investigators implement parents' training by using a combination of multiple components, such as written and verbal instruction, in vivo modeling, practice, and feedback. Then, parents use PECS with their children with autism at therapy room that include one-way-mirror and receive feedback through BIE from the investigator. The BIE is used to reduce errors when parents implement PECS with their children with autism.
For more information, please email Batool at Batool.Alsayedhassan@ttu.edu.

Yoojin Chae, Ph.D., College of Human Sciences

My research focuses on children's memory. In particular, I have been devoted to a wide range of research on children's eyewitness ability and suggestibility, trauma and memory, emotion and memory, language and memory, forensic interview techniques, and adults' discernment of children's true and false memory. For instance, I have examined memory and suggestibility of maltreated children in relation to trauma-related psychopathology (e.g., dissociation, PTSD). I have also conducted a series of studies to explore the link between attachment and memory for distressing events, and have recently expanded my work to the study of children's visual attention as a possible mediator of the attachment-memory relation. In addition, I have studied the effects of interviewing techniques and language skill on low-SES children's eyewitness memory.

We are currently recruiting preschool-aged children and their parents. Interested parents and children are asked to visit our laboratory at Texas Tech University for completion of various interview questions, cognitive-developmental tests, and questionnaires. For more information, please email Dr. Chae at yoojin.chae@ttu.edu

Malinda Colwell, Ph.D., College of Human Sciences

The Texas Tech University Child Development Research Center Database project by Dr. Malinda Colwell is an on-going project now in its eighth year. The project focuses on understanding young children's social and emotional development and seeks to answer questions such as “What do preschoolers know about emotions?” “What social skills do preschoolers have?” “How does children's social and emotional competence change from the toddler to the preschool years?” This research is done by conducting a series of interviews with children between two and five years old that are done in the form of games. The interviews are conducted by Dr. Colwell and her graduate and undergraduate research assistants. For more information, please email Dr. Colwell at malinda.colwell@ttu.edu.

Sybil Hart, Ph.D., College of Human Sciences

The "Big Sib" study aims to develop a method to help parents and young children adjust to a newborn sibling's arrival. This is a period of transition that is challenging for some children, and especially difficult to address in toddlers due to their limited language skills. We are looking for ways to identify vulnerable children before the baby arrives, so that we can develop a preventive approach toward building strong sibling bonds. For more information, please email Dr. Hart at sybil.hart@ttu.edu.

Sylvia Niehuis, Ph.D., College of Human Sciences

My program of research focuses on the development of premarital relationships within various ecological contexts, such as family, peer groups, and culture. I explore whether and how couples' courtship experiences bear upon their subsequent marital relationship, using dyadic, longitudinal data. For example, I have examined how various premarital events (such as pregnancy) and courtship experiences (such as cohabitation) influence the likelihood and timing of marital disruption. I have also studied interpersonal psychological processes that move couples toward marriage and, in particular, the interplay between those dyadic processes and long-term marital outcomes. For instance, I have looked at how individuals build up overly favorable perceptions of their partners' qualities and how disillusionment may later emerge as perceivers' lofty impressions of their partners succumb to the more realistic, less glamorous daily experiences of ongoing relationships. Currently, I study romantic relationships and brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). To learn how to become a participant in current projects, please send an email to hs.smitten@ttu.edu. Prospective students interested in becoming involved in our lab should check out our Lab Members page. Undergraduates interested in volunteering or for course credit are encouraged to read the lab guidelines and submit an application to Dr. Niehuis or Rebecca Oldham.

David Richman, Ph.D. and Ashley Matter, M.A., College of Education

The research study that we are conducting aims to identify teaching procedures that can be used to quickly and effectively teach young children foreign-language nouns; specifically, Spanish nouns. We are comparing different ways to individually teach 4- and 5-year-old children who speak English as their native language to say common nouns in Spanish, such as different foods and objects. We are studying four different teaching approaches, including:

  • Labeling pictures of nouns in Spanish
  • Selecting a picture after hearing the Spanish word
  • Translating the English word to the Spanish word, and
  • Translating the Spanish word to the English word

Sometimes, teaching a child Spanish nouns using only one of the previously mentioned strategies (such as labeling pictures in Spanish) may result in correct responding to questions posed by the other teaching strategies (such as saying the English word given the Spanish word), although he or she has not been directly taught this response. One purpose of this research is to determine if teaching children to label pictures of nouns in Spanish only (such as a dog) reliably results in correct responding to the questions posed by other teaching strategies (such as "What is 'dog' in Spanish?"). Another purpose of this study is to determine if labeling pictures of nouns in Spanish, or teaching Spanish nouns using all four teaching strategies, results in faster learning. If teaching Spanish nouns by labeling pictures in Spanish consistently results in correct responding to the questions posed by the other teaching strategies, teachers may save instructional time by using this one teaching method instead of using all four teaching methods. We hope that this line of research will help in the development of effective foreign-language teaching strategies that can eventually be used in classrooms. For more information, please email Ashley Matter at ashley.matter@ttu.edu.

Wonjung Oh, Ph.D., College of Human Sciences

Child Development and Relationships Laboratory
(501F and 501E, Human Sciences)

"How can we help children and families as they make the School Transitions from Preschool to Elementary School?"

The proposed study 'The Transitions to Kindergarten' (Year 2015-2016) is to investigate the interplay of social and psychophysiological factors of children, their mothers and fathers in facilitating children's behavioral and emotional regulation, peer relations and school adjustment across the school transition from preschool to kindergarten. The school transition from a small, familiar preschool to a larger, unfamiliar elementary school can be especially stressful for some children who are shy and anxious. This study will allow us to better understand the processes by which children's biosocial characteristics and family factors are associated with the successful school transitions. The research projects in my lab, the Child Development and Relationships Laboratory, would be interested in recruiting preschoolers and elementary school students, along with their family members – especially, fathers and siblings. For more information, please email Dr. Oh at wonjung.oh@ttu.edu

Child Development Research Center

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    15th Street and Akron, Box 41230, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 79409-1230
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