1. Pretense and Fiction: We study how engaging in fictional worlds (pretending, video, books) can change children. With funding from the Sir John Templeton Foundation we are currently exploring how and whether books and film media influence children's empathy, compassion, and prosocial behavior. Another project is looking at how children today respond to videos of people behaving aggressively or nicely with a blow-up doll (the famous Bobo doll studies of the early 1960s).
2. Early Childhood Education: With funding from the Brady Education Foundation, we are nearing the end of a 7-year study of children in Hartford, CT, comparing over the 3 preschool years the development of those who were admitted by random lottery to public Montessoris with those who lost the lottery and attended other schools instead. We are also examining the Montessori concept of normalization.