The Narrative Development Lab is housed in the Psychology Department at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The lab is supervised by Professor Ageliki Nicolopoulou, and the focus of the research is children's (and occasionally adolescents') narrative activities and their role in development. Specifically, the research examines both narrative development per se (the development of narrative competence and sophistication) and the role of storytelling in the overall process of development, including cognitive, socio-emotional, and identity development.
Graduate and undergraduate students collaborate on a range of projects. Undergraduate students participate in collecting data as well as coding and analyzing these data. These activities are supplemented with reading and discussing articles related to the ongoing research.
The topics we analyze in the Narrative Lab include:
- children’s picture storybooks in terms of their theory of mind concepts (especially false belief) as well as other social cognitive abilities that make the books easier or harder to understand
- the factors (cognitive, narrative, or linguistic) that affect preschool and Kindergarten children's understanding of commercially available storybooks
- the quality of adult-child bookreading interactions (initiation, response, evaluation) in promoting children's oral language and narrative comprehension
- the contribution of narrative and informational books in promoting text comprehension, inferential abilities, and academic language
- collecting narratives from children using a variety of elicitation techniques (storytelling, picture sequence, single picture, spontaneous etc.) in comparing them across each other as well as across different cultural communities
- using storytelling/story-acting practices--and other targeted play-based bookreading interventions--in preschool classrooms to promote oral language (vocabulary and narrative), emergent literacy, and social competence.