Welcome to the Volk Developmental Science Lab at Brock University, in the Department of Child and Youth Studies Department. In a lot of ways, the word “Volk” (synonymous with “Folk”) is a good description of my research interests. I am interested in studying people. In particular, I am interested in understanding and promoting the wellbeing of infants, children, adolescents, and their parents.
I’m technically a developmental psychologist, but I feel (and act) more like a developmental scientist. I have degrees in developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and biology. I’m also deeply interested in anthropology and history. If this sounds like a lot of perspectives to take, that’s because complex problems often benefit from having more than one tool (perspective) in your toolbox (research methods and theories). The common thread across all of my work is an honest and humble curiosity to learn and do research with science – the very best tool we have for understanding our world and the people in it.
Currently, my research falls into four separate, but related, topics: parenting, bullying, personality, and evolutionary history. You can find more details about each of these research areas by clicking on the tabs above.
Overall, my goal is to understand how to promote healthy development and relationships. That’s a big goal! Otherwise, as I once told a Grade 1 class, my job is to think of questions I’d like answered, then I get to go out (with research) and find those answers. It’s a great job!
If you have any specific questions or comments regarding parenting or child development problems, I am always eager to help, but I am not a clinical psychologist. My focus is on finding the answers that we need to make positive changes. That said, if you have any comments or questions about my lab’s research, please feel free to contact me.
Finally, I am always interested in working with curious, motivated graduate and undergraduate students. If you fall in that category and are interested in working with me or my lab, please visit my lab page for further details.