Social & Moral Development Lab

In the Social & Moral Development Lab, directed by Dr. Annie Fast, we study the motivations for children’s social/moral behavior and the development of children’s social/moral evaluations. We are currently focused on exploring the experience of joy from giving as a rewarding and motivating mechanism for children’s generous behavior. We are also investigating children’s evaluations of other people’s social behaviors and the representation of prosocial behavior in children's books. 

 

Projects

Prosocial Behavior in Children's Books

Children's books are a very important context for socializing social and moral behavior! Young children may learn a lot about prosocial behaviors, such as helping, sharing, and comforting when reading books with adults. We are interested in learning more about the representation of these behaviors and relevant emotions in children's books.  

Do you have a child who is 2- to 5-years old? If so, we would appreciate your help with a brief online survey! We are hoping to learn your thoughts about children’s books and reading with your 2- to 5-year-old child.

If you are interested in participating in a brief online survey on this topic, please send us an email at wwucdrg@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support!

Happiness from Giving & Receiving

Do young children feel good from sharing and helping others? Is it better to give than to receive? These questions are investigated in a current study for 5-year-olds. In this study, we examine children’s happiness after they share stickers with another kid and after they receive stickers for themselves. This study is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social Rules in Pretend Play

Is it ok or is it not ok to pretend to wear your pajamas to work? Or to pretend to sleep with your shoes on? We are interested in children’s pretend play and how children evaluate others’ pretend behaviors. In particular, we are interested in what 3- to 5-year-old children think about pretending to do things that would be very unusual in the real world, like eating a hamburger for breakfast. This study is being conducted in collaboration with the Social Cognitive Development Lab! This study is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

 

People

Annie Fast

Annie Fast, Ph.D.

Director of the Social & Moral Development Lab

Annie is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at WWU. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Washington in 2018 and her B.A. in Psychology with a Philosophy minor from Providence College in 2013. In her free time she enjoys music, yoga, bowling, and quality time with family and friends. As a child, Annie wanted to be a music producer and her favorite pastime was pretending with her brother!

Erika Lutz

Erika joined the CDRG in Fall 2021. She is a graduate student in the M.S. Experimental Psychology Program, co-advised by Dr. Fast and Dr. Riggs. 

Sarah Robbins

Sarah Robbins

Research Assistant

Sarah joined the CDRG in Fall 2021. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in English. When she was younger, Sarah always knew she wanted to work with children or help others. She was known for getting along with most everyone! After graduation, Sarah will work as a preschool teacher, but plans to pursue child development research in graduate school. In her downtime, she enjoys podcasts, making friendship bracelets, swimming, and going on walks outside (rain or shine)!

Anya Davis

Anya Davis

Anya joined the CDRG in Summer 2022. She is majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. When she was a kid, Anya wanted to be a member of the Dixie Chicks! After graduation, she plans to pursue an accelerated nursing program and graduate education to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Her ultimate goal is to work in an inpatient behavioral medicine unit at a children's hospital. In her free time, Anya enjoys painting, reading, and performing theatre.

Sebastian Strauss

Sebastian joined the CDRG in Fall 2021. He is majoring in Psychology. 

Madeline Parrish

Madeline Parrish

Madeline joined the CDRG in Summer 2022. She is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. When she was a kid, she wanted to be a defense attorney or a veterinarian. Nowadays, Madeline plans to continue working in both EMS and social services followed by paramedic school. Longer term, she is considering pursuing a masters in public health or a doctorate in either psychopharmacology or forensic psychology. Some of Madeline's favorite hobbies include skiing, backpacking, fishing, rollerblading, and watching the Sopranos or listening to podcasts! 

Lab Alumni

Taylor Beer

Taylor Beer

Former Research Assistant

Taylor joined the lab in Fall 2020 and graduated from WWU in Spring 2022 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. In Fall 2022, Taylor will start her graduate education at Westminster University and begin her journey to become a clinical mental health counselor!

 

 

Meredith Maloof

Meredith Maloof

Former CDRG Lab Manager & Research Assistant

Meredith joined the CDRG in Winter 2019. Meredith graduated from WWU in Winter 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Anthropology. In Fall 2021, Meredith will start her graduate education at Chapman University and begin her journey to become a marriage and family therapist!

 

Shane Anderson stands in front of a stone wall

Shane Andersen

Former Research Assistant 

Shane joined the CDRG in Winter 2019. Shane graduated from WWU in Fall 2020 with a B.S. in Psychology. Since graduation, Shane began work as a behavioral technician in an A.B.A. program. He hopes to continue his psychology education in a graduate program one day.

Kohl Visser stands in front of a stone wall

Kohl Visser

Former Research Assistant

Kohl joined the CDRG in Winter 2019. Kohl graduated from WWU in Fall 2019 with a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. After graduation, Kohl plans to work as an EMT and then attend graduate school to become a physician’s assistant. 

Taran Wimer

Taran Wimer

Former Research Assistant

Taran joined the lab in Spring 2021 and graduated from WWU in Winter 2022 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy. He plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology.

 

 

Emily Reyes

Emily Reyes

Former Research Assistant

Emily joined the CDRG in Fall 2020 and graduated from WWU in Spring 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology. 

 

 

 

 

Katie Williams stands in front of a stone wall

Katie Williams

Former Research Assistant

Katie joined the CDRG in Winter 2019. Katie graduated from WWU in Winter 2020 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in History. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and become a clinical psychologist. 

 

Not Pictured:

Mackenzie Putman, Spring '22

David Dunlap, Spring '21

 

Annie Aker stands in front of a stone wall

Annie Aker

Former Research Assistant

Annie is a Senior at WWU who worked in the CDRG from Winter 2019 - Spring 2021. Annie is majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minors in Psychology and Dance. After graduation she plans to be a Kindergarten teacher with Special Education certification. 

Bekah Zieger

Bekah Zieger

Former Research Assistant

Bekah joined the CDRG in Fall 2020 and graduated from WWU in Spring 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology. Bekah intends attend graduate school to become a marriage and family counselor. 

 

 

 

Aysel Fernandes stands in front of a stone wall

Aysel Fernandes

Former Research Assistant

Aysel joined the CDRG in Winter 2019. Aysel graduated from WWU in Fall 2019 with B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. After graduation, she plans to pursue either physician’s assistant training or counseling training. 

Selected Publications

Fast, A. A., Morelli, S. A., Zaki, J., & Olson, K. R. (2022). Mutual identification
promotes children's generosity. Infant and Child Development, 31(3), e2310. https://doi.org/10.1002/icd.2310

Gulgoz, S., Glazier, J.J., Enright, E.A., Alonso, D.J., Durwood, L.J., Fast, A.A., Lowe, R., Ji, C., Heer, J., Martin, C.M., & Olson, K.R. (2019). Similarity in transgender and cisgender children’s gender development. PNAS.

Fast, A.A., & Olson, K.R. (2018). Gender development in preschool transgender children. Child Development. 89(2), 620-637.

Fast, A.A., & Van Reet, J. (2018). Preschool children transfer real-world moral reasoning into pretense. Cognitive Development. 45, 40-47.

Fast, A.A., Olson, K.R., & Mandel, G.N. (2017). Intuitive intellectual property law: A nationally-representative test of the plagiarism fallacy. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184315.

Fast, A.A., Olson, K.R., & Mandel, G.N. (2016). Experimental investigations on the basis for intellectual property rights. Law and Human Behavior. 40(4), 458-476.

Lab Photos

Students and Dr Fast presenting at PsychFest 2022
Lab students grouped together and smiling
Lab students pose in front of a bowling alley
Students presenting at PsychFest 2022
Lab students stand outside in front of a stone wall