We recently met for our last lab meeting of the academic year. Things were almost normal - we summarized the passing year in numbers and achievements, we talked about plans for the upcoming year, said goodbye and good luck to those who continue on a different path, and welcomed some new people. We also played a hilarious Kahoot game.
So things were almost normal, but the lab meeting was on Zoom, and we talked about the uncertainty we feel about the future. We realized that some of us had never met face to face, despite working closely together.
Throughout the entire meeting I felt such pride in this enthusiastic, clever, hard working group of people. The lab survived and even flourished, to some extent, during this extraordinary time. We set up four fascinating online studies, each providing a unique view of the impact that covid-19 had (and still has) on families' lives and children's social development. In one of these studies we measured changes in empathy and mental well-being on a weekly basis, in another we incorporated video observations (using video conferencing software) to investigate infants' empathic responses, in the third and fourth studies we recontacted participants who participated in our studies long before we ever heard about covid-19, and this will allow us to examine how this pandemic affected us. We are currently at the initial stages of yet another study on the impact of covid-19 isolation strategies on pubertal development. These extreme times were difficult and challenging, but also resulted in great creativity. Moreover, we learned so much about ourselves, team work, and online research.
I hope we can incorporate all the important things we learned into our future work, but that next year we will be able to see each other not just as faces on a screen.