“Hello, my name is Zoe Trout, I’m a psychology student at William and Mary…”

Since my last post research has continued as it has been. I now have more experience soliciting participation over the phone than I ever thought I would, which it’s been an opportunity for me to grow.  Making phone calls to strangers at all, let alone asking for something, is far outside my comfort zone.  In the beginning, I followed a script exactly, hoping and praying for voicemails every time. I spoke with “live” parents about half the time and their attitude was a bit of a toss up; it’s amazing how many people have just had small surgery, gotten back from vacation, or just got home from work. Perhaps that frequency speaks to the busy urgency of American life.  Anyway, as I kept calling people I became more and more comfortable advertising the project and I grew to understand that negativity or annoyance wasn’t a reflection of me personally. This system has been effective (much more so than the school system recruitment) and different lab members have all been pitching in to collect data.  Though I’d considered having all the interviews completed by the start of the semester, it looks like data collection will run into the school year. At this point the process has become pretty streamlined and we’re just working to get as many participants as possible!


We have now begun administering questionnaires and collecting data. I put the word beginning in quotation marks because, in reality, this study began long ago during brainstorming and conceptualization, but something about these past weeks feels like a real beginning. Our discussion, organization and planning are finally being put to use and the lab members and I are watching our hard work turn into the beginnings of results.

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Good Things Come to Those who Wait

They say “good things come to those who wait,” and we have certainly had to put that skill to practice.  Starting this project has involved a lot of patience and waiting.  Especially since we’re recruiting chid participants through their schools, there has been a lot of down time as the lab members and I wait for approval and permission from various authorities in the school system.  Since getting the green light to distribute letters of introduction and consent forms, we have made hundreds of photocopies, and put them together in packets for kids to take home to their parents.

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Week 1 – A New Outlook

Following the winding (and often bumpy) path of research, I have had to revise and re-imagine my work this summer. I’m still working within the study of loneliness and emotional regulation, broadly, but some of the specificities have shifted. To echo my last post, the original plan was to recruit participants through the James City County school system and administer a series of questionnaires in one long session before school got out for the summer. Unfortunately the lab members and I did not get approval to access to these student populations before school let out, and we have consequently revised our plan of action.

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Emotion Socialization within Children’s Friendships

My name is Zoe Trout, and I’m a rising junior at the College of William and Mary. This summer I will be working with Dr. Janice Zeman’s Psychology Lab on a study entitled “Emotion Socialization within Children’s Friendships.”  Emotion socialization is the process by which a person’s emotional development is influenced by social interactions that reinforce and discourage various behaviors.  The goal of our research project is to investigate peer socialization of children’s sad emotions, specifically. By studying the emotion socialization of 4th and 5th grade children, Dr. Janice Zeman and I hope to gain insight into the ways that social relationships affect emotional regulation at this formative age.  More specifically, we will examine whether factors such as gender and type of peer relationship (best friend vs. non-friend peer) have an effect on the socialization of sadness regulation, while exploring potential psychological outcomes of these processes.

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