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

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Project: “Overimitation”

Overimitation is the imitation of recognizably irrelevant action steps. Numerous experiments have shown that humans (unlike apes such as chimpanzees or bonobos) tend to imitate unnecessary steps of action despite their obvious irrelevance for the actual goal of the task. The phenomenon is usually investigated by an investigator performing irrelevant and relevant actions on a new and unknown object. This object is usually a transparent puzzle box with a reward in it. The relevant action is usually to open a flap or door and get out the reward with the help of a staff. The irrelevant actions range from clapping to the use of levers or buttons that have no function. The aim of this master thesis will be to investigate whether overimitation is connected with the transmission of other culturally relevant knowledge. This project is to be carried out as a joint thesis by two to three students.

Subtasks:

  • Literature research
  • planning of a suitable study design
  • Data collection
  • Data evaluation

We offer:

  • Active cooperation in social-cognitive research
  • Working with children in Leipzig day care centres
  • Intensive integration in all stages of the research process: planning, data collection and data evaluation
  • tight and intensive support during work

Requirements:

  • Study of Psychology or a related subject
  • Self-employed, committed and responsible work
  • Fluent German and very good English skills

Project managers:  Roman Stengelin and Hanna Schleihauf

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Project: “Consequences of linguistic similarity in preschool age”

The master thesis follows an ongoing research project on homophilia (self-similarity preference) at the Leipzig Research Center for Early Childhood Development (LFE) in cooperation with the CNRS in Bron (Lyon, France). It is examined in which situations children prefer (linguistically) similar other children. Children of pre-school age are presented with various stimuli in German and French and asked about their preferences. We want to find out in which situations linguistic similarity is important for children and what conclusions they draw from the language of their counterparts.

Requirements:

  • student*in psychology
  • interest and fun in developmental psychological content
  • initiative, motivation, self-employment
  • enthusiasm for working with children
  • German or French at native speaker level

Procedure/Focal points::

  • Literature research and training
  • Survey of stimulus material in Leipzig
  • Training for conducting the study
  • Student implementation
  • coding and statistical evaluation of data
  • Creation of a written dissertation
  • Creation of a written dissertation

Project manager: Marie Kaiser

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Project: “Socialization of intergroup attitudes and ethnicity in German-German and Turkish-German milieus”

The master thesis is part of an ongoing dissertation project at the Leipzig Research Center for Early Childhood Development (LFE). In a first step qualitative surveys of the different groups are prepared. Within the framework of the project, internships as well as dissertations are possible upon request.

Requirements:

  • student*in psychology or a related subject
    (Sociology, Cultural Studies, Ethnology)
  • Founded research methodological knowledge (quantitative or qualitative)
  • interest in development-psychological / anthropological contents
  • initiative, motivation, self-employment
  • Social competence, open and friendly behaviour in contact with parents
  • Very good knowledge of German or Turkish

Project manager: Marie Kaiser

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Project: „Children’s gaming behavior in a free setting”

This master’s thesis aims at exploring the relationship between how children play games and the values of their cultures. In cooperation with a game designer, we designed the a game called “KoKo“, which can be played in different gaming contexts (cooperative or competitive). This master’s thesis explores how German children intuitively play KoKo. Do children prefer to play KoKo cooperatively or competitively? How quickly do they switch between these different options? What rules do they develop while playing the game? Using naturalistic observations, these questions will be addressed in 3- to 5-year-olds. Data will be collected in kindergartens in Leipzig, thus, potential candidates should have a good understanding of the German language. The master’s thesis includes data collection, statistical analyses, and data interpretation, and should be written in English.

Project managers: Sarah Peoples and Theo Toppe
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How does it feel for children to do the morally right thing?

This project investigates the effect of prosocial behavior on the posture of preschoolers. The data collection is organised by the LFE.

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

Project manager: Robert Hepach
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What motivates children to protest against conventional and moral rule violations? Are moral rule violations more charged with emotions (physiological arousal)?

The data collection is organised by the LFE.

Planned period of time for conducting the study and writing the master thesis: 9 to 11 months.

Project manager: Robert Hepach
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Are functional social relationships for children intrinsically rewarding and are there differences to clinical populations with social anxiety disorders?

The data collection is organised by the LFE.

Planned period of time for conducting the study and writing the master thesis: 7 to 10 months.

Project manager: Robert Hepach