A new Brock University study aiming to learn more about how youth think about kindness is calling on teens to share their thoughts and experiences.
The Mentalization, Kindness and Well-being Teen Study is part of a larger five-year research project led by Sandra Bosacki, Professor in the Faculty of Education and Director of Brock’s Theory of Mind in Education (ToME) Lab.
Funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant awarded to Bosacki and co-primary investigator Victoria Talwar at McGill University, the research is focused on adolescents’ mentalization skills, identity and well-being.
Bosacki and the research team are particularly interested in learning what comes to a teenager’s mind when thinking about kindness.
“It is of utmost importance to listen to the voices of youth about what they think the word ‘kindness’ means, how they think and feel about it, and how they express kindness to themselves and others,” she said.
Previous research from Bosacki’s ToME lab showed that some adolescents may tend to show more kindness and compassion to others versus showing it to themselves.
By allowing young people to describe their perceptions and experiences of kindness and compassion, the researchers hope to determine how educational programs can incorporate aspects of mentalization in the secondary school curriculum to promote overall well-being and emotional health as well as behaviour that benefits others.
“The first of its kind in Canada, the study will give researchers in Brock’s Department of Educational Studies a chance to explore how kindness plays a role in the links between mentalization and prosocial acts in young people,” Bosacki said.
Adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18 years old are invited to participate in the study. Each participant is required to have a personal email address and informed consent provided by one parent.
Participants will complete an online survey, which takes place using Qualtrics and over Microsoft Teams, lasts about 60 minutes, and involves watching short video clips and filling out questionnaires.
After the session is completed, participants’ parents will be sent a digital gift card and will have the opportunity to participate in a follow-up study next year.
Anyone interested in taking part can contact the Theory of Mind in Education lab by email at email@example.com
For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
* Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-941-6209