Prof. Ariel Knafo
In the lab of social development, I and my students study are investigating different aspects of social development, starting from infancy and ending in early adolescence. Our main goal is to further the understanding regarding the origins of core aspects of the developing personality: pro-social behavior, cognitive and emotional abilities, empathy, emerging aspects of psychopathology and values as a key construct that directs human behavior. We do so by studying the genetic and environmental influences on related children’s behaviors, using the Twins’ model, sampling candidate genes that are known to affect the central nervous system and assessing the child’s environment, especially the behavior of his/her parents. In addition, we use physiological measures in an attempt to find endophenotypes that relates to pro-social behaviors. All this is done with 2 study cohorts: 1) The Israeli study of Family’s development: a study which assesses around 300 families of infants, followed from early pregnancy stages until the infants become toddlers and reach the age of 3 years. 2) The Longitudinal Israeli study of Twins (LIST), which assesses around 1000 families of twins from the age of 3.5 years until they are 13 years old.