Dr. Maayan Davidov

Dr. Maayan Davidov

Research Interests:

Parent-child relationships and children's socio-emotional development;

The early development of concern for others;

Different aspects of parenting and their consequences for children's socialization and well-being;

Cultural context as a moderator of the linkages between parenting practices and child outcomes;


Research Projects:

The development of empathy during infancy

Experimental examination of empathy in infancy

The effects of parental control on children's prosocial development in religious and secular families

Validating a new questionnaire assessing five domains of parental socialization


 Abstracts of Current Research:

The development of empathy during infancy: This is a longitudinal study (BSF funded, in collaboration with Carolyn Zahn-Waxler & Ronit Roth-Hanania) which followed infants from age 3-months to 18-month and systematically examined their responses to others’ distress. Additional variables were also assessed, including infants’ responses to others’ positive emotions, their prosocial behaviors, infant temperament, and parent-child interactions. A follow-up at age 36-months is also being conducted.

Experimental examination of empathy in infancy: This project (ISF funded) utilizes new experimental methodologies to study young infants’ empathic understanding and concern for distressed others. It includes a set of experiments with 3- and 6-months-old infants, using eye-tracking tasks as well as behavioral tasks.

Control and prosocial development in religious and secular families: This study examined secular and religious parents' use of authoritarian and psychological control methods when disciplining their school-aged children, and children's prosocial and antisocial behavior. Children's construal of these parental behaviors was also assessed.

Validating a new questionnaire assessing five domains of parental socialization (in collaboration with Joan Grusec): The questionnaire was constructed based on the domains of socialization theoretical framework proposed by Grusec & Davidov (2010). It is being used in projects examining specific links between different aspects (domains) of parenting and different aspects of children’s and adolescents’ competence.


Select Publications:

Grusec, J. E., Davidov, M., & Lundell, L. (2002). Prosocial and Helping Behavior. In P. K. Smith & C. H. Hart (Eds.),Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development (pp. 457-474). Oxford: Blackwell.

Davidov, M. & Grusec, J. E. (2006). Untangling the links of parental responsiveness to distress and warmth to child outcomes. Child Development, 77, 44-58.

Davidov, M. & Grusec, J. E. (2006). Multiple pathways to compliance: Mothers' willingness to cooperate and knowledge of their children's reactions to discipline. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 705-708. 

Grusec, J. E. & Davidov, M. (2007). Socialization in the family: The roles of parents. In J. E. Grusec & P. D. Hastings (Eds.) Handbook of Socialization. New York: GuilfordPress.

Knafo, A., Zahn-Waxler, C., Davidov, M., Van Hulle, C., Robinson, J. L. & Rhee, S. H. (2009). Empathy in early childhood: Genetic, environmental, and affective contributions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1167, 103-114.

Grusec, J. E. & Davidov, M. (2010). Integrating different perspectives on socialization theory and research: A domain-specific approach. Child Development, 81, 687-709.          

Roth-Hanania, R., Davidov, M., Zahn-Waxler, C. (2011). Empathy development from 8-16 months: Early signs of concern for others. Infant Behavior and Development, 34, 447-458.

Davidov, M., Zahn-Waxler, C., Roth-Hanania, R., & Knafo, A. (2013). Concern for others in the first year of life: Theory, evidence, and future directions. Child Development Perspectives, 7, 126-131.

Davidov, M., & Khoury-Kassabri, M. (2013). Recollections of Harsh Discipline in Childhood and Depressive Feelings in Adulthood: The Roles of Culture and Gender. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 1007-1014.

Davidov, M. (2013). The socialization of self-regulation from a domains perspective. In G. Seebass, M. Schmitz, & P. M. Gollwitzer (Eds). Acting intentionally and its limits: Individuals, groups, institutions (pp. 223-244). Berlin: De Gruyter Publishers.

Schonherz, Y., Davidov, M., Knafo, A. , Zilkha, H., Shoval, G., Zalsman, G., Frisch, A., Weizman, A., & Doron Gothelf, D. (2014). Shyness discriminates between children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and Williams syndrome and predicts emergence of psychosis in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 6(1), 3.

Knafo-Noam A., Uzefovsky F., Israel S., Davidov M., & Zahn-waxler, C. (2015) The Prosocial Personality and its Facets: Genetic and Environmental Architecture of Mother-reported Behavior of 7-year old Twins. Fronties in Psychology, 6, 112.

Davidov, M., Knafo-Noam, A., Serbin, L. A., & Moss, E. (2015). The Influential Child: How children affect their environment and influence their own risk and resilience.  Development and Psychopathology,27, 947-951. 

Grusec, J. E.  & Davidov, M. (2015). Analyzing socialization from a domain-specific perspective. To appear in J. E. Grusec & P. D. Hastings (Eds.) Handbook of Socialization: Theory and Research (2nd ed.) (pp. 158-181). New York: Guilford Press.

Davidov, M., & Atzaba-Poria, N. (2016). Maternal discipline and children's adjustment: The role of the cultural and situational context. Social Development, 25, 99-119.

Davidov, M., Vaish, A. Knafo-Noam, A., & Hastings, P. D. (2016). The motivational foundations of prosocial behavior from a developmental perspective: Evolutionary roots and key psychological mechanisms. Child Development, 87, 1655-1667.

Davidov, M. (in press). Empathy. In M.H. Bornstein, M.E. Arterberry, K.L. Fingerman, & J.E. Lansford (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Avinun, R., Davidov, M., Mankuta, D. & Knafo-Noam, A. (in press). Predicting the use of corporal punishment: Child aggression, parent religiosity, and the BDNF gene. Aggressive Behavior.