Methods

We use a variety of techniques to investigate how infants and young children think about the world around them. In particular, infants are not capable of participating in the kinds of experimental paradigms used with older children or adults. However, by precisely recording what they look at, what they reach for, and the kinds of behaviors they show in carefully crafted experimental situations, we can make firm inferences about infants’ underlying cognitive processes.

These methodologies measure where and for how long infants look at different experimental displays. Using precisely designed stimuli, infants’ visual attention patterns reveal what kinds of changes they notice, what types of events they expect, and how they process visual information. [more]
Infants’ reaching behavior can be as informative as their visual attention. Choice paradigms present two objects to infants simultaneously and use infants’ reaching behavior as an indication of their preference for one object over the other. [more]
Video recordings of infants’ and young children’s behavior can be rich sources of data. To standardize the types of behaviors we are interested in, we develop coding schemes that precisely operationalize what is counted as, for example, a “look” or a “touch” in a particular study. [more]
Structured tasks allow us to assess young children’s knowledge. In these tasks, an experimenter presents children with images and/or objects and asks children a series of pre-determined questions about them. Children’s answers to the questions reveal what they know. [more]
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