Dr Dawn Watling

Research interests

Much of my research explores children social development with a focus on how children learn to navigate through our social world, including factors that may influence behaviour, and the implications of social behaviour on relationships. Much of my research focuses on children's social development, but I am also interested in taking a life span perspective.

Key areas of interest include: self-presentation use and understanding; development of social skills; children's peer relations; development emotion recognition; links between behaviour and personal factors (e.g., social anxiety, depression, mood, etc.).

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SELF-PRESENTATION and IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT: 

It is well known that individuals wish others to view them positively, and that to achieve this many use impression management techniques. I am interested in how and when children and adults understand and use self-presentational tactics. Within each of these areas I explore the factors that may influence their use and understanding (e.g., how well they know their audience, levels of social anxiety, mood, depression), both in face to face situations and in online communication.

 
EMOTION RECOGNITION:

The ability to quickly and accurately recognise emotions in others (facial or through body language) is an important social skill. My research focuses on how children and adults recognise emotions in others through investigating the role of neuropsychological factors (i.e., hemispheric lateralisation) and social factors (e.g., social anxiety, depression, attachment).

In combining my interests with emotion recognition and self-presentation, I am beginning to explore, using eye tracking techniques, how children identify emotions as being genuine or being pretend. 

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