Skip to main content

Join our study in to how we develop a sense of self

Adults process information better when it refers to our 'self', this study will examine if children and adolescents show a similar self bias.

Exploring self bias

Adults process information faster and more accurately when it refers to our ‘self’ (e.g. hearing our own name). But what about children and adolescents, and how is any 'self bias' linked to well-being?

Self development

This study aims to explore whether children and adolescents show a self bias similar to that seen in adults. We are also looking at relationships between self biases and well-being during these key period of change.

Childhood is thought to be an important time in the development of the self, but objective research about the self in children and adolescents has been limited to date. We also know relatively little about links between the self and well-being, even though we know that adolescence is a time when many young people experience difficulties.

Study aims and methods

The purpose of this study is to investigate the self objectively using computerised tasks that measure whether children and adolescents are faster to respond to shapes linked with the self than other people. We will also look at how children and adolescents learn from social feedback about how others see them and how they see other people.

There has been some research in adults showing that low mood or anxiety is linked to weaker self biases or learning more rapidly from negative feedback on these tasks, but it is not known whether the same effects hold in adolescents. So this study will also use well-being questionnaires, to explore links with between well-being and the self during this important time.

Taking part

Information on who we want to take part and what methods we'll use for the study.

Who's eligible to take part?

  • English speaking children and adolescents aged between 7 and 18 years old.

What’s involved in the study?

  • the study can take place either in the child's school, their home, or at the Department of Psychology at the University - depending on your preference and permissions
  • computerised tasks lasting around 25 minutes
  • questionnaires lasting around 30 minutes
  • if possible, parents will also be asked to complete a questionnaire taking around 10 minutes.

What participants will get for taking part in the study

  • £5 for participation and reimbursement for travel expenses or parking charges.

How personal information will be handled

All physical copies of information will be locked in filing cabinets in the University of Bath Department of Psychology. All data copies are entered into a spreadsheet, which is only accessible to researchers. All identifiers, such as names, will be pseudo-anonymised.

This study will run from 3 March to 14 April 2020.


Please get in touch if you or your child would like to take part or find out more

Relevant ethics approval information