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. More recently we have explored Norwegian mothers' thoughts on infants' sleeping places. Currently, we are conducting research into Norwegian caregivers' resolution of everyday conflicts with their infants and children's emotional development.
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.
A related topic of research that I am interested in is children's understanding of others (Theory of Mind, emotion understanding) and their emotion regulation. We try to understand how these developments are related to their caregivers' behaviors and values.
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.