Brock research team seeking youth for solitude and well-being study

A Brock University research team is looking for youths aged 11 to 18 years old to participate in a new study on adolescents’ preferences for time spent alone and their thoughts and feelings as young people.

“We are curious to learn about how children and teenagers spend their time alone, how they think and feel about other people and themselves as a young person, and their life experiences and overall well-being,” says Sandra Bosacki, Professor of Educational Studies. Bosacki is leading the team of Brock students and recent graduates.

The online research sessions will take place on Microsoft Teams and include questionnaires and computerized tasks. The sessions will take approximately one hour and can be completed at home on participants’ personal computers with internet access.

The research team aims to develop a framework connecting related, but isolated findings in social cognition, self-knowledge and psychological well-being in youth.

“Ultimately, our hope is that our research will lead to the creation of developmentally appropriate educational materials that promote the growth of caring relationships with self and others through critical and compassionate enquiry and discourse,” says Bosacki, Director of Brock’s Theory of Mind in Education (ToME) Lab.

The lab is a team of researchers, educators, and students interested in the development of Theory of Mind, or the ability to understand other people’s thoughts and emotions, in young people.

The study is part of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant received by Bosacki. Over the course of five years, Bosacki’s team, together with her collaborator Victoria Talwar, Professor at McGill University, will conduct studies exploring how youths use their ability to think and feel to build a solid sense of self and positive relationships with others.

The researchers are particularly interested in how decisions to use mental reasoning skills such as emotion recognition, perspective-taking, and being mindful and kind to others influence the personal and social lives of young people in terms of psychological well-being and school engagement.

Parents who have a child between 11 and 18 years old who would like to participate are asked to visit the ToME Lab webpage or email to learn more about the research and enrol in the study. Participants will receive a $20 Amazon gift card as a thank-you for taking part.

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