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The Lab

The primary goal of our research is to understand why children and adolescents engage in behaviours that are harmful to others and translate this knowledge into better methods for treating aggression and violence and for promoting prosocial orientations. We investigate the social-emotional processes and biomarkers associated with aggressive and prosocial behaviours using new methodological advances. Our guiding research questions are two-fold. First, why do some children become aggressive while others show high levels of concern for others at very early ages? Second, how can we reduce aggression and support children and adolescents in becoming empathic and caring?

Article

In our lab's latest paper, Tina Malti and Sebastian Dys discuss the psychological characteristics and situational features that influence how, when, and why children behave prosocially.

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Article

In a new study published in Emotion, we found that other-oriented psychological processes, namely trust and sympathy, translated emotion regulation capacities into overt prosocial behaviors in 4- to 8-year-old children.

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4 years old kid
9 years old kid
14 years old youth

We work with multiple disciplines and use a range of research designs and methods. Our research is steeped in developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology to better understand how aggressive behaviour develops, how to predict its occurrence from social-emotional processes and biological markers, and ultimately how to reduce aggression and promote prosocial behaviour and kindness in children and adolescents.

By using a developmental approach to the study of aggression along with new practices that are sensitive to the diverse developmental needs of children and adolescents, the long-term scientific goal is to design, implement, and disseminate assessment tools and intervention practices that counteract aggression and violence, and promote prosocial orientations across development.

University of Toronto Mississauga
Illustration by Macarena Toro