On-Going Research Projects


Welcome to our on-going project page! Below are brief introductions to the various projects our graduate and undergraduate students are working on at the M&ND Lab. Please feel free to reach out to any researcher for more information regarding a particular study and remember to check back frequently for updates on the projects!


Child’s Covid Knowledge and Anxiety

Elizabeth Flatt is currently collecting data for the M&ND Research Lab’s newest project. She is conducting a study focused on gaining a better understanding of elementary school aged (5-11) children’s knowledge of COVID-19, which includes the transmission of the virus and protection from it. She is interested in understanding family and school experiences, parents’ socialization strategies throughout the pandemic, children’s individual knowledge about COVID-19, and children’s self-reported anxiety. Families who participate will earn the opportunity to receive a $50 Amazon gift card via a random drawing at the conclusion of our study. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please request an interview at this link.


Bicultural Identity and Bilingualism in Cognition

Doctoral candidate Esther Kim is interested in the process of identity formation among individuals who are exposed to more than one culture. Based on previous research (Benet-Martinez et al, 2002; Schwartz & Unger, 2010), she has defined bicultural identity as the individual’s adaptation and integration of the behaviors, practices, and values of two cultures. Bicultural individuals engage in cultural frame switching, which is the process of switching from one-cultural mindset to another. In addition to frame switching, studies on bilingual individuals have shown a relationship between bilingualism and cognitive performance. Esther is interested in exploring the association between bicultural identity and cognition. She is currently working on dissertation research examining the relationship between biculturalism and bilingualism in cognitive tasks on Korean and Korean-American young adults.


Student or Adult? Identity Distress in Emerging Adulthood Across Academic and Community Settings

Julia Passini is currently working on her dissertation project. In her project, she is conducting an examination of identity development and the dimensions of emerging adulthood in both graduate students and those of a similar age range who did not pursue graduate school. The project consists of a quick online Qualtrics survey. After the survey, participants have the option to enter into a drawing for one of four $50 Amazon gift cards. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please visit this link.


The Relationship Between Instagram Use and Anxiety/Depressive Symptoms: A Daily Diary Study

Incidences of mental health concerns are rising among young adults today, with 19 percent of adults in the United States reporting a mental illness as of September 2020, an increase of 1.5 million individuals from the previous year. This study, which was started by alumnus Emily Leister, aims to investigate potential contributions to the rising levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms we see affecting college students today. Using a daily-diary study, we sampled a total of 123 students enrolled in PSY200 at NC State University and asked them about their moods, social media use, feelings about COVID-19, and several other topics over an 8-day period to see how these variables change from day to day. Using multi-level modeling, we hope to determine the association between social media use (specifically Instagram use) and self-reports of anxiety, pleasure, anger, and sadness. In addition, we hope to compare fluctuations of these variables with neuroticism, self-esteem, and several other measures. This study holds important implications in understanding factors associated with negative mental states and may establish the directionality of such relationships. Currently, this study is in the data-cleaning stage.


The Socialization of Narrative Coherence: Linkages between Maternal Reminiscing and Children’s Later Independent Narratives

In her dissertation research, Tiffany Grovenstein has been working to further the understanding of mothers’ socialization of children’s narrative skills by examining the linkages between characteristics of mother-child reminiscing conversations at 72 months and the children’s later independent narratives at 84 months. More specifically, she is investigating the extent to which a mother-child reminiscing conversation and the independent narratives from the child place a reported action in time and place, provide a chronology, and convey the narrator’s interpretation of the events. These event components constitute what has been defined as “narrative coherence” (e.g., Reese et al. 2011). Additionally, she is exploring the relation between event valence (experiences associated with positive or negative affect) and coherence within the children’s independent narratives. Although an extensive literature documents the importance of mothers’ scaffolding of children’s conversations in memory development, Tiffany noted how associations between joint reminiscing and children’s later narrative coherence remain to be fully understood and has dedicated her work towards expanding the understanding of narrative coherence in this area. In this study, data from approximately 100 mother-child pairs were obtained from the Durham Child Health and Development Study for analysis. Tiffany and her team are currently finalizing the analysis of the data. Tiffany plans on graduating within the year.