Laboratory for Social-Emotional Development and Intervention

Sebastian P. Dys

Dr. Sebastian P. Dys

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Developmental Psychology


It’s important for children to develop and experience emotions such as sympathy and remorse to motivate them to behave ethically. But why do some children experience such emotions, whereas others do not? Sebastian’s research tries to answer this question by examining how psychological processes impact how children feel in social situations across development. He does this using various approaches including eye tracking, emotion recognition technology, observational tasks, child interviews, and parent questionnaires. His work provides direction to parents, educators, and program developers interested in promoting children’s social and emotional development.

Awards and Scholarships


UTM Graduate Expansion Funds, Research Impact Award (2018)

UTM Graduate Research Colloquium Poster Award (2018)

William Line Memorial Graduate Scholarship (2017–2018)

Doctoral Completion Award, University of Toronto (2017–2018)

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship (2015–2017)

UTM Graduate Student Development Grants (2013–2016)

UTM Conference Travel Grants (2013–2016)

University of Toronto Best Psychology Poster Award (2013)

The Gladys Neale Graduate Award (2012)

Dr. Jaroslav Havelka Memorial Award (2010)

King’s Continuing Scholarships (2008–2011)

King’s Scholar Award (2007)



Short C.V.



Refereed Journal Articles


Dys, S. P., Zuffianò, A., Orsanska, V., Zaazou, N., & Malti, T. (In press). Children’s attention allocation is associated with their kind and selfish emotions. Child Development.


Dys, S. P., Peplak, J., Colasante, T., & Malti, T. (2019). Children’s sympathy and sensitivity to

excluding economically disadvantaged peers. Developmental Psychology, 55(3), 482–487. doi:10.1037/dev0000549


Malti, T., & Dys, S. P. (2018). From being nice to being kind: development of prosocial behaviors. Current Opinion in Psychology, 20, 45–49. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.07.036.


Malti, T., Dys, S. P., Cui, L., & Buchmann, M. (2017). Moral and social antecedents of young adults’ attitudes towards inequality and social justice. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 8(1), 5–19, doi: 10.14301/llcs.v8i1.397


Dys, S. P., & Malti, T. (2016). It’s a two-way street: Automatic and controlled processes in children’s emotional responses to moral transgressions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 152, 31–40. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2016.06.011


Schellenberg, E. G., Corrigal, K., Dys, S. P.., & Malti, T. (2015). Group music training promotes sympathy and prosocial behavior. PLoS ONE, 10(10): e0141449. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141449


Daniel, E., Dys. S. P., Buchmann, M., & Malti, T. (2016). Developmental trajectories of social justice values in adolescence: Links with sympathy and moral evaluations. Social Development, 25(3), 548–564. doi: 10.1111/sode.12146


Malti, T., & Dys, S. P. (2015). A developmental perspective on moral emotions. Topoi, 34(2), 453–459. doi: 10.1007/s11245-013-9224-5


Daniel, E., Dys, S. P., Buchmann, M., & Malti, T. (2014). The development of moral emotions, moral reasoning, and social justice values from childhood to early adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 37(7), 1201–1214. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.08.009


Malti, T., Ongley, S.F., Dys, S. P., & Colasante, T. (2012). Adolescents’ emotions in contexts of moral conflict and social exclusion. New Directions for Youth Development, 136, 27–40. doi: 10.1002/yd.20036



Book Chapters


Malti, T., Song, J.-H., Colasante, T., & Dys, S. P. (2019). Parenting aggressive children. To appear in Marc H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of Parenting: Volume 1: Children and Parenting (3rd edition), part II: Parenting children of carrying status (pp. 496–522). New York: Taylor and Francis.


Malti, T., Dys, S. P., Colasante, T., & Peplak, J. (2018). Emotions and morality: New

developmental perspectives. In C. Helwig (Vol. Ed.) & M. Harris (Series Ed.), Current Issues in Developmental Psychology: New Perspectives on Moral Development (pp. 55–72). New York, NY: Psychology Press.


Dys, S. P., Schellenberg, E. G., & McLean, K. C. (2017). Musical identities, music preferences, and individual differences. In R. MacDonald, D. Miell, & D. Hargreaves, Musical Identities, 2nd edition (pp. 247–266). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679485.003.0014


Malti, T., Sette, S., & Dys, S. P. (2016). Social-emotional responding: A perspective from developmental psychology. In R. Scott, M. Buchmann, & S. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 1–15). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0415


Malti, T., Dys, S. P., & Zuffianò, A. (2015). The moral foundations of prosocial behaviour. In R.E. Tremblay, M. Boivin, & R. D. Peters (Eds.), Encyclopedia on early childhood development [online]. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development and Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Child Development.









University of Toronto Mississauga