In our research, we address a variety of questions related to infant cognitive development, particularly from a constructivist, information-processing perspective. We use a variety of methods to learn about infants including visual habituation, behavioral tasks, and eye-tracking. The long-term goals of our research are to contribute to the global understanding of learning and development during infancy and beyond, as well as to improve our understanding of cognitive development in children with developmental delays.
Currently, we are engaged in several studies examining the development of face processing in infants. A face is a very important stimulus to a baby as it provides emotional cues, linguistic information, information about identity and is a source of social stimulation. Infants’ perception of faces goes through dramatic changes during the first year of life. In this line of research, we are investigating how infants process, or view, a face and how their processing changes with the development of other skills, such as learning to sit up independently.
We are also interested in cognitive and linguistic development in toddlers with developmental disabilities. An important application of the research conducted on typically developing infants is that these findings not only inform us about what we can expect from infants at various times during development, but also they help us understand where the strengths and deficits lie in children with developmental delays or disabilities. We are interested in shedding light on development during the first years of life for children who have developmental delays, such as Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, Down's syndrome, or autism. Much of this research is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Carolyn Mervis and her lab.
The U of L Infant Cognition Lab uses eye-tracking technology by: