Research Projects

  • Child's Theory of Mind
  • TARDIF Twila, Wellam Henry M.*
    1 May 2000
    National Institute of Health and Child Development

    This project involves understanding how children's understanding of their own and others' thoughts and beliefs develops. It involves multiple experimental studies in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Beijing, China with preschool-aged children. (SS99503)

  • Developmental Precursors to Early Literacy in Chinese Children
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra FLETCHER Paul*, SHU Hua*, TARDIF Twila Zoe*, WONG Anita*
    1 August 2003
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    This project examines longitudinal predictors of early reading skills in Chinese children. Our unique sample of approximately 300 children each from Hong Kong and Beijing has already been tested at least twice from ages 8-20-months on the Chinese Communicative Development Inventory. We will focus on how these children’s previously tested early language skills predict subsequent performance on reading-related measures (e.g. phonological and morphological awareness) and reading itself. An overall measure of nonverbal intelligence will also be administered to all participating children at around the age of 3.5 years. All children will be tested on reading-related skills at twelve-month intervals from 3.5 years to eighty months or the fifth testing time, whichever comes first. Hierarchical linear modeling will be used to test growth curves predicting subsequent reading development from early oral language and literacy-related skills. A Beijing-Hong Kong comparison of growth curves in reading is particularly useful because it highlights some of the effects of teaching and linguistic environment on reading development in Chinese children. This study will be among a very few that have examined normal early spoken language development in relation to normal reading development in any language or orthography. Theoretically, this study will help researchers to understand both universal and language/script-specific aspects of reading development. Practically, this study will indicate to clinicians those markers of early language development that may be diagnostically useful for identifying children in Chinese-speaking populations who may be at-risk for subsequent reading problems. (CU03257)

  • Emotional Understanding and Emotional Competence in Hong Kong Chinese Children
  • TARDIF Twila
    1 November 2000
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    This project intends to examine Hong Kong Chinese children's emotional understanding and emotional competence and their relation to children's theory of mind, rule understanding, and parental socialization practices. Two studies are proposed, involving a total of 500 Hong Kong children, aged 3 to 10, and their mothers. Study one is a study of school-aged children's emotional understanding and its relation to children's theory of mind, attribution styles, moral rule understanding, their parents' emotion socialization practices, and parents' own emotional competence. It will involve sending questionnaires about the parents' own empathy, emotional intensity, and a number of other emotional competence scales as well as a scale measuring emotional socialization practices in parenting to 350 mothers of children aged 6, 8, and 10 in local schools. Children of the parents whose questionnaires are completely filled out (i.e., no missing data) will then be asked to participate in a 20-minute experimental testing session. In the experimental session, children will be presented with a number of story tasks measuring their understanding of their own and others' emotions, a simple and complex false belief test, a measure of their attributional style (internal vs. external), and their understanding of social rules and conventions about events likely to cause shame or guilt in an imaginary story character. Study two examines emotional understanding and emotional competence in preschool-aged children and its relation to their theory of mind, ability to delay gratification, emotional responses during a potentially guiltinducing situation (peeking at a toy when asked not to), scores on the Child Behavior Checklist, and their parents' emotional competence and emotion socialization practices. Taken together, these studies will add enormously to our knowledge of Chinese children's baselines for emotional understanding and competence and form a strong basis for further crosscultural research in this area. (SS00381)

  • Late Talkers in Chinese: A Longitudinal Study
  • TARDIF Twila, Fletcher Paul*, Stokes Stephanie*
    1 January 2001
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    This study involves following over 300 children's language development in two locations, Hong Kong and Beijing, for three years. The children were selected based on their results on the administration of a "Communicative Development Inventory" (Cantonese or Putonghua version, depending on location) when the children were 8- to 20-months-old. The top, middle, and lowest 10% of scorers in each age group will be re-examined for aspects of their phonological, lexical, and grammatical development at yearly intervals for two additional years. (SS00769)

  • Negotiating Survival: A Study of Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and U.S. Students' Negotiation and Dispute
  • BOND Michael Harris, TARDIF Twila
    1 November 2000
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    The proposed study intends to examine the disputing and negotiating behaviors engaged in by strangers when they are asked to come up with a consensus in two Chinese cultures (Hong Kong and Guangzhou) and one Western culture (U.S.A.). Negotiating disagreement is a critical social skill for individuals in all cultures, particularly when that negotiation occurs in a group setting. There are suggestions from previous research that Chinese persons will be more conflict-avoidant than Americans as will women be with respect to men. These conclusions may be premature, however, since the specific ways in which Chinese and women negotiate may simply be different, leading to presumptions that they are more conflict-avoidant. This research attempts to document the various ways in which people may agree or disagree as well as support or undercut one another during negotiations, so as to more fully understand the full range of responses by which different groups communicate to achieve consensus. These differences in style may lead to important misperceptions if they are interpreted by members of another group, and this research will enable questions about cross-cultural misunderstanding to be addressed also. The inclusion of two Cantonese samples will enable us to understand if the socialpolitical differences between Hong Kong and Guangzhou have resulted in different negotiation styles, despite their linguistic and familial similarities. (SS00736)

Research Publications

  • "Adolescent Identity and Snoopy Mania in Hong Kong" (co-authored with TANG Taryn, SIU Ying Chi and LAI Pak Kay). Paper presented in the 16th Biennial Meetings of International Study of Behavioral Development. Beijing, China, 2000.07.

  • "Comparison of Directness of Disputing Strategies (Politeness) between Two Chinese Cities: Hong Kong and Guangzhou" (co-authored with WONG Mui Fong Rose). Paper presented in the 16th Biennial Meetings of International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development. Beijing, China, 2000.07.

  • "Parental Expectations on Developmental Milestones and Directions for Development in Hong Kong" (co-authored with LEUNG Ka Wai). Paper presented in the 16th Biennial Meetings of International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development. Beijing, China, 2000.07.

* Name of external researcher
# Name of staff who has left the University