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Associate Professor

Monika Abels

Child development
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My research focuses on the interplay between eco-cultural factors and child development. 

Among other aspects, I am interested in caregivers' (ethno)theories on childrearing and cultural norms and values. For instance, I have studied (mainly Indian) caregivers' theories on the expression of emotional warmth towards babies and baby massage. Currently we are conducting research into Norwegian caregivers' theories on infants' sleeping places.

I also study caregiving behaviors and infants'/children's experiences which are assumed to shape children's development. An important part of this research consists of observational studies. For example, we have observed which behaviors caregivers from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds prioritize when interacting with infants (such as body contact, playing with objects) or how mobile phone use is related to caregivers' responses to their children's signals. An aspect of these caregiving behaviors is also how infants are spoken to.

Much of my research has been conducted with farming families in Gujarat, India and more recently with Hadza (hunter-gatherer) families in Tanzania. These experiences have led to an enhanced interest in research ethics and ecological validity of research methods.

I have been or am currently teaching in the following courses:

PSY-1001 Innføring i generell psykologi
PSY-2502 Utviklingspsykologi i et livsløpsperspektiv
PSY-2705 Fordypningsemne i barns utvikling
PSY-2707 Praksis og praksisrelatert undervisning
PSY-3000 Research Proseminar
HEL-8040 Theory of science, research ethics and research design

I am also happy to guide you in the following:
PSY-2002 Bacheloroppgave
PSY-2901 Hovedoppgave
PSY-3000 Research Proseminar
PSY-3900 Masteroppgave


Member of research group