Dr Frankie Fong is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, located in Leipzig, Germany. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow of the School of Psychology, University of Queensland. Frankie’s research interests lie broadly in early childhood social cognitive development, with a particular interest in children’s imitative behaviour and normative understanding across diverse contexts. He employs an experimental and cross-cultural approach to study factors that influence children’s social learning decisions of high-fidelity vs selective copying. Frankie is currently conducting and supervising research in Germany and Australia. Additionally, he has established, coordinated, and conducted developmental research with parents and children across Malaysian urban and indigenous communities.
Frankie has recently become interested in studying the influence of digital environment on children’s social cognition and behaviour. This line of research is motivated by findings in one of his PhD studies, The digital social partner: Preschool children display stronger imitative tendency in screen-based than live learning. He is an affiliate of the Comprehensive Assessment of Family Media Exposure (CAFE) consortium, and employs measures developed and validated by the consortium to evaluate children’s digital environment across Australia and Malaysia. He aims to work with research collaborators and students to further investigate how children may perceive digital media as a modern “social partner” that provides important culturally relevant information to guide their daily preferences and behaviours. Relatedly, he is also interested in investigating the role children’s parasocial relationships with media characters may play in social cognitive development.
First digital memory
Watching Hong Kong drama series with my grandmother on VHS, which probably have inspired the young me in many ways