Co-Constructing the Past


Storytelling forms the basis of our identities and shapes our development. Negative events, including ones involving pain and sadness, occur in everyday life. These types of events provide powerful social learning opportunities during childhood. Talking to children about past negative events is one way to optimize their development.

This study will examine how parents and kids talk about past painful and sad events, and how this affects development. This study involves two research sessions. The first session will be remote via a scheduled Zoom appointment. The second session will happen one year later, in person, at the University of Calgary. In the first session, you and your child would discuss a few past events together, and you would complete a series of questionnaires about your child's development. Then, one year later, you would discuss another set of past events together in person, and your child would complete a few research tasks assessing their social and emotional development while you complete the same online questionnaires again.


Currently recruiting participants: Yes

Eligible gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Other

Eligible ages: 4 to 4

Accepts healthy participants: Yes

Inclusion criteria:

Eligibility requirements include:
1) Your child is 4-years old
2) You consent to participate

Exclusion criteria:

Exclusion criteria include:
1) Developmental or language delays, as they may interfere with children's ability to complete the tasks;
2) Mental health disorders (e.g., ADHD, ODD), as they may interfere with children's ability to complete the tasks;
3) Inability to speak and/or understand English, as the majority of tasks and measures are available only in English


Fill out the following form if you want to participate in this research

Method of contact

Additional information

Contact information

If interested, please contact the study team via email at

Principal investigator:

Melanie Noel

Clinical trial: