How do stories shape children’s social development?

The development of social understanding is essential for humans to survive and thrive in society, and the foundations for this are widely thought to be developed throughout toddlerhood and beyond through the sorts of language that children are exposed to. As children learn to recognise others’ unique perspective on the world and that their beliefs and desires grow from this, they start to develop the social understanding and skills to succeed through life. We aim to assess whether this ability can be accelerated with the reading of specially designed books to your child for two months.

If your child is between 2.5- and 4-years-old, and you are able to come three testing sessions and read the books to them between the first and second, you are able to take part! This research is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Otago, funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Fund that was awarded to Prof. Ted Ruffman. Because of this, testing must occur between the 22nd of September and the 14th of October, then between the 24th of November and the 16th of September, and finally the 26th of January and the 17th of Februrary 2019.