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Department of Psychology

Gregory Braswell, PhD at Illinois State University

Research Activities and Interests


  • My main research interests involve (a) the role of social context in children's development (especially in terms of how children represent the world through play drawings and text) and (b) the impact of parental beliefs on development.

    According to many traditional theories, drawing pictures, engaging in pretend play, reading, and other symbolic skills are viewed as solitary activities and are seen as developing primarily within the child from the beginnings of these activities through early childhood. I am very interested in exploring how social interactions and social conventions play a role in young children's ability to use and understand different types of representations. So far I have focused on how children learn to draw pretend and read in collaboration with adults. More recently I have been studying children's understanding of the social conventions that guide pretending, drawing, reading, and other ways of representing the world.

    Parents' belief systems may impact child development in a variety of ways. What parents value may help determine the extent to which they encourage or discourage certain behaviors in their children and may help determine what opportunities parents give to their children. For example, parents who think that drawing is an important sill and who think that adults should teach children to draw may spend a lot of time drawing with their children. On the other hand, you might imagine that parents who do not think that drawing is important or who think that children should learn to draw on their own would not spend much time drawing with their children.

opportunities for students

Students in my research lab will get a chance to:
1. learn how social and cultural contexts impact how we behave and think;
2. work with other undergraduate and graduate students;
3. work with children;
4. learn different types of data collection and analysis;
5. gain computer and digital video recording skills, and
6. learn how to read and understand psychology literature.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, please get in touch with me to find out about my research opportunities. You can reach me at 438-5729 or contact me by e-mail.