Interpersonal Relationships and Development Laboratory


Basic Premise

The work in our lab is based on the idea that interpersonal relationships are the most basic context for development.  It is in relationships with peers and parents that many of the most fundamental forms of development take place, including the development of regulatory skills, the formation of the self, the acquisition of social skills and the development of social constructs and social understanding.

A goal of our research is to measures the features of effects of the social context with respect to particular forms of well being and adjustment. We take seriously the idea that there is an essential inter-relatedness between children and their environments and that this intersection has important consequences for development. 

Nearly all of our projects involve the peer system.

What we try to do

1. Recognize a multi level format.

    Peer experiences occur at multiple levels of social complexity. The interface between these levels defines several of the most basic processes of the peer system. Theories of change need to include an explicit consideration of motivation. 

2. Explain change, and differential patterns of change, with explicit references to motives. 

    Observations of change without an explanation steeped in motivations is better than nothing but not much better.

3. Adopt an anthropologically informed approach to the study of groups.

    Groups are small cultures and need to need to be studied as such. One needs to use either ethnographic techniques through qualitative or quantitative approaches to assess the significative properties of a group that give meaning and value to particular experiences or patterns of behaviour.  

Our research is supported the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et Culture (FQRSC)..