FABB LAB Family, Affect, Beliefs & Behaviors Lab





We welcome your interest and participation in our lab –We always have three to five studies ongoing, so students get to enjoy a lot of different experiences and learn about different aspects of socio-emotional development and families.

Halberstadt Family Affect Beliefs and Behaviors Lab

Our work focuses on how parental behavior and beliefs about emotion impact children’s emotion-related behaviors and their understanding of others’ emotion-related behaviors. We think that parental beliefs impact children’s developing schemas, and so several years ago we developed a questionnaire that assesses how parents think and feel about children’s emotions (e.g., are emotions valuable? dangerous? controllable? manipulative? etc.). We predict that parents who believe emotions are dangerous or costly (compared to those who value emotional expression) will suggest that “bad ends” will come to those who are emotionally expressive. Also, parents who perceive emotions as dangerous may not recognize low-levels of negative emotion in others (in a way “defending” against those negative emotions), and will strive to do everything they can to avoid expressing emotions themselves. We predict that their children, while also avoiding emotion expression, will be more vigilant about attending to the emotional expression of their parents. We have several ongoing studies in this area. One study, “CUED IN”, is designed to help us learn more about third-grade children’s understanding of emotion – both antecedents, including parents’ socialization beliefs and behaviors, and consequences, including children’s social skills in school settings. Another study in a series on parental socialization of gratitude, with Dr. Hussong at UNC, has already lead to some interesting data collection and analysis from the first phase of focus group data. We are also interested in particular emotions within family settings, such as anger, pride, schadenfreude, and self-compassion, and how parents face particular challenges, such as preparing for discriminatory experiences that their children may be confronted with. Finally, the newest ongoing study is focused on how preservice teachers' beliefs influence how they teach children in the elementary school classroom. In this study, we are very interested in how teachers can support children's learning and connectedness in school.

In our work, we are interested in similarities and differences in beliefs across gender, ethnicity, and class. We work with both mothers and fathers, and our parent groups tend to be African-American, European-American, and/or Lumbee Indian. We also try to include parents who are from lower- and middle-income families in our research whenever possible.


Lab Participation
Through participation in our research lab, you will learn and use several kinds of skills, including recruiting parents and children for participation, helping to run participant sessions, transcribing children’s and parents’ interviews, developing and then coding complex forms of data, conducting data analyses, and conducting library research on parental or teacher socialization of emotion.

Determining the time commitment in research is always challenging because research demands sometimes happen in bunches, and the work is not always entirely controllable (e.g., several parents sometimes become available in the same week and then no one is available for research the next week). But overall, we need you to commit to about ten hours weekly, and you will receive 3 credit hours (PSY 499). We also have a weekly one hour meeting on Wednesdays at 4:30 pm that you are required to attend. Some semesters we also ask you to leave open Mondays or Fridays at that time for small group meetings. This is a very exciting time in our lab! Thank you for your interest, and feel free to contact me, Amy Halberstadt or any of the graduate students for further information.

If you are interested in gaining undergraduate research experience, please download the application form and email the completed form to Amy Halberstadt. We generally require a 3.4 or better for your total GPA or your Psychology GPA, and at least one faculty member or graduate student to speak for you. Including their name on your application is considered agreement that we can contact them for a conversation about your abilities (they do not need to write anything on your behalf).

Fall and Spring Semesters
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters. In general, we do not accept applications after the first week of the semester. Sometimes, however, we find we have openings mid-semester due to a study beginning off-schedule, so it is always fine to inquire.

If you wish to work with us over the summer, please submit your application by the last day of classes in the Spring semester.