LFE

Profile of the Leipzig Research Center
for Early Child Development (LFE)

If you are interested in one of the topics, please contact the responsible project manager (in brackets after the project name).

Students of the M.Sc. Early Childhood Research can find the guidelines for writing a Master’s Thesis here.


Projects

Educational Psychology (AG Saalbach):

Early Child Development and Culture (AG Haun):

Cognitive Anthropology (AG Musholt):

  • Only unsolicited applications with own topic suggestions possible
  • Requirements: Knowledge of philosophical theories and approaches as well as ability to work independently

Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (AG Schmitz):

LFE Members:


    Project: “Children’s abilities to form commitments in a situation with high uncertainty”

    The ability to coordinate, cooperate and form commitments with other individuals is one of the characteristic features of human beings, distinguishing us from other species. Children begin to participate in collaborative activities with others in the second year of life. By three years of age, children seem to begin to understand the obligations of a joint commitment. In this project we want to investigate whether preschoolers try to establish a joint commitment with a partner in situations with a high uncertainty regarding a partner’s adherence to a collaborative game.

    Tasks: :

    • Training and implementation of the study in kindergartens in Leipzig
    • Provision and preparation of data and statistical analysis
    • Preparation of a written thesis

    Requirements:

    • Master Student of psychology or related subject (Neuroscience, Early Childhood Research)
    • High motivation for and interest in working with children, scientific research, developmental psychology
    • Ability to work independently
    • Good German and English skills

    Planned period of time for conducting the study and writing the master thesis: 10 months. The project is intended for 2 students. If you are interested, please send an informal application to Kachel.ulrike@gmail.com.


Project: “Moral emotions”

Humans show a rich set of emotions such as shame, guilt, regret, and pride that emerge early in ontogeny and have a profound impact on the quality of children’s cooperative relationships with their peers.

Within this broad thematic framework, we offer projects addressing the following research question (but not limited to):

  • How does it feel to do the morally right thing?
  • How are guilt, pride, regret, and shame expressed in early childhood?
  • Do children’s experience positive emotions in response to seeing others being helped?
  • How do children perceive moral emotions in others?

Planned period of time for conducting the study and writing the master thesis: 8 to 10 months.

Project manager: Robert Hepach


Project: “Individual differences in children’s prosociality”

Children are not helpful all the time even though they and others can benefit greatly from cooperative relationships. In an ongoing line of work we investigate individual differences that predict whether and how much children are motivated to help others.

Within this broad thematic framework, we offer projects addressing the following research question (but not limited to):

  • Does children’s motivation to help change over development? Are teenagers less motivated to help than toddlers?
  • What are markers for callous behaviour?
  • Are functional social relationships for children intrinsically rewarding and are there differences to clinical populations with social anxiety disorders?

Planned period of time for conducting the study and writing the master thesis: 8 to 10 months.

Project manager: Robert Hepach


Project: “Children’s well-being in pedagogical contexts”

Children enter kindergarten at an early age. While many tools assess children cognitive development, few automated measures exist to capture children’s positive and negative emotions. In one line of research we seek to better understand how kindergarten experiences impact children’s emotional well-being.

We offer projects addressing the following research question (but not limited to):

  • Can we track children’s emotional well-being in their day-to-day routine?
  • What impact do peers and caregivers have on children’s well-being?
  • How can we identify children with emotional adjustment problems?

Planned period of time for conducting the study and writing the master thesis: 8 to 10 months.

Project manager: Robert Hepach


Project: “Mechanisms of learning”

In ongoing work we collaborate with other labs to better understand how we can design environments that provide optimal learning environments for children in kindergarten, preschool, and school.

We offer projects addressing the following research question (but not limited to):

  • How do teachers structure efficient and impactful teaching environment? What makes a teacher a good teacher?
  • How do infants develop categories such as ‘harmful’ and ‘non-harmful’ in the context of learning about plants?

Planned period of time for conducting the study and writing the master thesis: 8 to 10 months.

Project manager: Robert Hepach


Thema: „Theory of Mind and Social Reward in Young Children“

The final thesis is part of an ongoing dissertation project at the Leipzig Research Center for Early Childhood Development (LFE) and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The project investigates how 3-6-year-old children in different populations (Leipzig/Germany vs. Ovambo/Namibia vs. Hai||om/Namibia) can put themselves in the position of beliefs and desires of other actors and which personality traits and motivations are related to the development of these abilities. In concrete terms, we want to use a tablet-based app to find out how children like to look at social stimuli (e.g. photos of adults or children compared to non-social stimuli). The ability to “Theory of Mind” is then captured through an interactive picture book study. A first study has already been conducted in Namibia. The final thesis refers to the collection of a German comparative sample, including project-related literature research, data coding and evaluation. The final thesis is to be written in the form of an empirical report in English or German. The requirements for the thesis (self-employment, scope of work) will be adapted according to the type of thesis (Bachelor vs. Master).

Tasks: :

  • Literature research
  • Training and implementation of the study
  • Provision and preparation of data for statistical evaluation
  • Preparation of a written thesis

Requirements:

  • Student of psychology or related subject (biology, social sciences, etc.)
  • Interest and enjoyment in developmental psychology and comparative cultural content
  • Initiative, motivation
  • Enthusiasm for working with children
  • Good German and English skills

If you are interested, please send an informal application to roman.stengelin@uni-leipzig.de by the next possible date.

Thema: „Risk-Taking Behaviors Across Cultures and Social Contexts”

The final thesis is part of an ongoing dissertation project at the Leipzig Research Center for Early Childhood Development (LFE) and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. We investigate the risk preferences in play situations of children aged 6 to 10 years in different populations (Leipzig/Germany vs. Ovambo/Namibia vs. Hai||om/Namibia). Children play a game either alone, under the observation of a peer, or in collaboration with the peer. In each phase of the game, the children can choose between two rewards: Either they choose a safe option (1 candy), or a risky option (either 2 or 0 candies). We are interested in whether children under social observation tend to be more at risk and whether this effect is influenced by the age or gender of the children. Data from the two Namibian samples are already available. The final thesis therefore refers to the collection and evaluation of a German comparative sample (in Leipzig schools), whereby the comparative cultural data can be used if interested. The final thesis is to be written in the form of an empirical report in English or German. The work requirements (self-employment, scope of work) will be adapted according to the type of thesis (Bachelor vs. Master).

Tasks: :

  • Literature research
  • Provision and preparation of data for statistical evaluation
  • Preparation of a written thesis

Requirements:

  • Student of psychology or related subject (biology, social sciences, etc.)
  • Interest and enjoyment in developmental psychology and comparative cultural content
  • Initiative, motivation
  • Enthusiasm for working with children
  • Good German and English skills

If you are interested, please send an informal application to roman.stengelin@uni-leipzig.de date.