Have you ever wondered how your baby learns so much in so little time? We try to answer questions like these, and you can help by participating with your baby!
Studies involve looking at fun pictures (like Leo the lion) with your baby online, and take around 5 minutes. If you wish, we can give you a small (e.g. €5) thank you for your time.
How does the human mind develop?
Human babies undergo a period of huge developmental growth over their first years of life. When compared to other mammals, it takes a long time for humans to learn to walk, talk and communicate. Yet, recent brain scanning studies show, many systems of a newborn’s brain are mature from birth and have the capacity for complex cognitive functions. What changes are taking place over these crucial two years? Why must infants remain dependent on their caregivers for so long? How can we unlock some of the secrets of our wonderful infants' minds?
Our online studies aim to answer some of these questions. We already know that infants direct their attention to those things from which they learn most. By measuring infants’ looking behaviour in our studies, we aim to investigate the mechanisms that typically developing infants use to learn and guide their attention. As such, our online studies capture webcam video data of infants while watching movies or pictures on screen. This allows us to investigate what types of stimuli grab and hold their attention best. We can also compare the findings from our studies to computational models of learning.
In addition to characterising typical development of the human mind, we aim to understand how it is disrupted by brain injury and to produce new diagnostic tools for neonatologists. A better understanding of infant development will help us to discover new ways to optimise infant learning, particularly for infants with a difficult start in life.