Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Applied developmental psychology

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.09.00  Social sciences  Psychology   

Code Science Field
S262  Social sciences  Development psychology 

Code Science Field
5.01  Social Sciences  Psychology and cognitive sciences 
social development, social cognition, social adjustment, attachment, cognitive development, language development, personality development, brain activity, psychological individualization, developmental scales, developmental psychodiagnostics, developmental counselling, quality of preschool, developmental sports psychology
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  31848  PhD Blanka Colnerič  Social sciences  Junior researcher  2009 - 2013  65 
2.  10571  PhD Zlatka Cugmas  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  434 
3.  20922  PhD Urška Fekonja  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  300 
4.  25572  PhD Katja Grgić  Social sciences  Researcher  2009 - 2013  42 
5.  15844  PhD Alenka Gril  Criminology and social work  Researcher  2009 - 2014  455 
6.  30669  PhD Martina Horvat  Psychology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2014  38 
7.  21818  Ksenija Jaušovec    Technical associate  2009 - 2014  67 
8.  05038  PhD Norbert Jaušovec  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  319 
9.  21336  PhD Tina Kavčič  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  362 
10.  07606  PhD Ljubica Marjanovič-Umek  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  1,291 
11.  36488  PhD Anja Pahor  Psychology  Junior researcher  2013 - 2014  24 
12.  18919  PhD Anja Podlesek  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  529 
13.  15446  PhD Melita Puklek Levpušček  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  403 
14.  29922  PhD Mojca Rožman  Psychology  Junior researcher  2010 - 2014  80 
15.  17836  PhD Gregor Sočan  Psychology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  218 
16.  07671  PhD Maja Zupančič  Psychology  Head  2009 - 2014  842 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0553  Educational Research Institute  Ljubljana  5051614000  6,766 
2.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,859 
3.  0589  University of Maribor, Faculty of Education  Maribor  5089638013  12,964 
4.  2565  University of Maribor Faculty of Arts  Maribor  5089638050  33,048 
Three broad developmental domains are studied within this research programme: cognitive (including language), social-emotional, and personality development from infancy throughout early adulthood. Within these domains, we focus on specific developmental aspects in different developmental periods and across various contexts. Three developmental models are to be compared: the model of early, concurrent and cumulative experiences. Our specific research problems are based on recent scientific research waves, e.g. the study of the precursors of the Big Five personality dimensions in childhood, replicability and continuity of child and adolescent personality types, the role of personality in the development of social adjustment, academic achievements and psychological authonomy; exploration of life-span stability/instability of internal working models of attachment; testing the hypothesis of congruence/disonance of microsystem environmental influences; detailed investigation of the Mozart effect on spacial-temporal reasoning; employment of multi-informant approach. In the domain of child language development we focus on the development of its several components (meaning, structure, and pragmatics of language) in relation to cognitive and social development as well as to environmental interaction effects at the mezosystem level (family, preschool) on the development of these competences. Investigation of cognitive development is further extended into later developmental periods. In addition to exploration of environmental effects at the mezosystem level, a role of personality dimensions in the development of general cognitive ability and social cognition is to be inquired. Very specifically, we will study the effect of music on cognitive functioning at different ages and test for an eventual moderator influence of personality on its effect-size. Furthermore, we will explore possibilities to use music for the purpuses of enhancing cognitive development. Understanding complex environmental effects at the mezosystem level and in their interactions with personality as well as social-cognitive factors will enable us to investigate relevant options of developing prevention programmes aimed at decreasing intolerance and violence among children, adolescents and adults. In the field of social-emotional and personality development, we build upon the attachment theory and Big Five model. We aim to determine the role and nature of relationships between parent-child attachment and other key factors (temperament/personality, quality of (pre)school/family environment, and personality of caregivers) in the development of attachment to (pre)school teachers, peers and later, to intimate partners, and consequently to individuals' contemporaneous as well as later social adjustment and psychological authonomy. Revealing these complex associations will enable us to suggest effective solutions of how to decrease environmental risks that contribute to the development of e.g. internalizing, externalizing problems, other types of maladjustment to (pre)school, poor academic achievemnt, problems in gaining psychological authonomy and coping with developmental tasks of adolescence and early adulthood. In the context of the aforementioned environmental factors and individuals' psychological chracteristics, we specifically intend to investigate (in)direct effects of systematic sports practice on concurrent and long-term quality of psychological adjustment, since engagement in sports was previously found to be a significant protective factor. Moreover, we also aim at the construction of new psychological instruments and techniques that would be ecologically valid in the Slovenian cultural environment as well as those that could be age- and culture-decentred.
Significance for science
Paths of the effects of social/cultural/material environments on child language are not clear and therefore, we examined several protective/risk factors and their interactions influencing language development; this is important because language is a cultural tool of development of higher-order cognitive abilities, acquisition of knowledge, and education. Our research also contributes to studies of Slovene language as we have created new approaches/tools to assess several aspects of language across childhood/adolescence (e.g., (over)generalization of grammatical rules, understanding of metaphors as a domain of metalinguistic awareness). We were among first to demonstrate that the developmental change in social competence is related to the change in extraversion, the trajectories of neuroticism and internalizing behavior show concomitant change, and the change in disagreeableness is associated with the course of externalizing behavior. Our studies on person-environment transactions over childhood further extend the knowledge on differential directions of influence between personality and social adjustment. Bidirectional links of motivational/emotional factors with academic achievement and the role of specific personality traits in achievement across childhood/adolescence have not been examined yet. Our studies: (i) provide a new insight into the teacher's role in early adolescence – the period vulnerable to change in students' school attitudes, perceived significance of education, and academic motivation, and the contribution of specific personality traits to the relationship of robust traits with academic success; (ii) offer new knowledge on the role of learning interactions in adolescent psyhosocial development/identity formation; (iii) contribute to the development of methods/analyses of diadic/group interactions, and instruments – scales of attitudes, active learning, career orientation, civic identity, intercultural competence. Our ITEA is the first instrument to provide a reliable/valid assessment of aspects of individuation specifically in emerging adulthood. The translations/adaptations enable quality measurements of individuation in several language communities. The e-application: (i) assures research to conduct research quickly/cost-free; (ii) offers a centralized repository for a large amount of international data with an open access to authorized researchers; (iii) facilitates effective international collaboration. Examining the development of attachment to multiple figures, who were scarcely considered in precedent studies, and usually in the earliest developmental periods, we contributed to the theory of attachment. The findings on trajectories of personality/psychosocial development also accounted significantly to understanding of the new developmental period of emerging adulthood. Our neurophysiological research has had an impact on understanding of the plasticity of the brain, and gender differences in (socio)cognitive functioning.
Significance for the country
The research findings represent a scientific foundation for language assessment in infants/toddlers, and for implementation of early prevention activities that also consider the influence of various environmental factors. Specific findings provide an adequate basis to reduce social differences in language competence of children from different social/cultural backgrounds. Our research outcomes are applied across different social contexts: (pre)schools, developmental clinics, and in the domain of arts (e.g., theatres for infants/toddlers/children; picture books and children's books). Our research is important for the development of education in Slovenia where, according to the results of international studies PISA and TIMSS, there is a substantial discrepancy between mathematical and natural science literacy on the one hand, and attitudes and motivation in the respective school subjects on the other hand. We have provided research-based foundations for: (i) the development of educational practice to enhance active academic engagement of adolescents; (ii) planning of relevant activities in out-of-school social contexts/institutions for adolescents. The construction of the ITEA and its translations/adaptations for use across cultures enhances our international cooperation and recognition of the Slovene researchers international-wise. The e-application, representing a central application for the ITEA measurement and a central repository for the obtained databases is very likely to increase the reputation of the Slovene research on individuation in emerging adulthood. The application will also be very useful for psychologists in practice as it will enable them to conduct individual measurements quickly, and provide an immediate access to normative scores in order to interpret individual scores of the client. The practitioners' work will thus become less time-/cost-consuming. Our findings will affect the prevention, intervention and research activity, which aims to assure better quality of life to children/adolescents, emerging adults and adults. The research outcomes are useful in education of psychology/education students and professional staff employed in education, health-centres, counselling institutions, and work organizations. The findings can also be used for the development of memory training in elderly, in centers of daily activities, and in educational and counselling institutions for the elderly. Our original psychodiagnostic instruments, and those adapted/validated/standardized within the framework of the RP will improve the quality of developmental assessment and counseling with individuals across ages, and others involved in their close relationships. The international research community is permanently informed on our achievements at distinguished international conferences and through our publications in recognized research journals, which contributes to the promotion of our country.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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