Current Studies

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Our research focuses on how children learn about other people, begin to understand communication, and become a part of the social world. Babies love to watch people from the time they are born – what do they understand about what they’re seeing?

WE ARE INTERESTED IN QUESTIONS LIKE:
• What do babies understand about the role of language in communication?
• How do children learn that others can have different thoughts and feelings than they do?
• How do children start to evaluate what they and others know and don’t know?
• How do babies and children develop an understanding of how to help and share?

CURRENT STUDIES:

Infant-Directed Song: In this study, we are interested in how caregivers comfort their babies through speech and song. We record different samples of speech and song to contribute to a world-wide study on infant-directed communication.

Infants preference for different speech patterns: In this study, we are interested in the type of speech patterns babies prefer. Your baby will sit on your lap in front of a T.V. screen and watch images on the screen while audio tracks are being played. We use how long babies pay attention to the screen to understand their preference for different types of speech. If you have a baby between 6 and 9 months old we would love for you to come in and participate!

Understanding others’ thoughts and actions: In this study, we are interested in how 15-month-old babies think about other people’s thoughts and actions. Your child sits in your lap in front of a tv monitor and watches a short 5-minute movie where an actor is searching for a toy in some colourful boxes. Babies usually look for a longer time when they see something that is surprising or unexpected, so we measure how long your child looks at each part of the movie to see what they expect the actor to do. If you have a baby who is 15 months old or younger, we’d love to invite you to come in and participate!

Understanding the role of communication in social interactions: In this study, we are interested in how 17-month-old babies think about communication. Your child sits on your lap in front of a puppet stage and watches a short 5-minute play where two actors interact with two toys. We measure how long babies look at each part of the play to see what they expect the actors to do. If you have a baby who is 17 months old or younger, then we would love for you to come in and participate!

Understanding the communicative nature of faces: In this study, we are curious if babies aged 5 to 6 months prefer specific types of faces! Specifically, we are interested in whether babies prefer faces that are facing towards each other, or faces that are facing away from each other. This study takes about 5 minutes and involves your baby looking at pictures on a TV screen. If you have a 5- or 6-month-old, we would love for you to come in and participate!

Perspective taking in children: In this study, we are interested in children’s perspective taking while playing a communication game. The study takes about 15 minutes and involves your child playing this communication game with two researchers. If you have a child who is between 3 & 6 years old, we would love for you to come in and participate!

Decision-making in children: In this study we are interested in how children make choices for others. Children interact with another person on a computer screen who asks for a snack and we are interested in what children will do. If you have a 4-year-old, we would love for you to come in and participate!