Current Studies

IMG_4969Attachment Style:  In this study, we observe infant-caregiver relationships using the Strange Situation paradigm, and measure brain activity in response to picture’s of mom’s face and a stranger’s face processing, using Event-Related Potential (ERP). In particular, we are looking for the Negative Component (Nc) which is believed to correspond to a baby’s attention to salient stimuli (i.e mother’s face, a new toy, etc). Changes in social relationships, such as attachment, are believed to correlate
with changes in babies’ neural development (and the part of the experience dealing with looking at faces). This study involves two sessions of one hour each.

Currently recruiting 12-18 month olds


Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 4.12.38 PMImitation and the Social Environment: The goal of this study is to examine how the social environment influences imitation ability. This study involves one visit to our lab that lasts 30 minutes. During this study, an experimenter demonstrates a set of actions on a toy and the child then gets to play with the toy however they like. 

Currently recruiting 20 to 24 month olds


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Social Motivation in Children: The goal of this study is to better understand differences in how children process social and non-social cues. To do this, we measure the natural brain activity of 3-4 year olds using a mesh cap as they watch a 10 minute video showing a series of images of toys and faces. Right now, we’re working with typically developing children, and in the future we hope to work with children diagnosed with autism as well. The study takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Currently recruiting children 3 to 4 years old


IMG_2687Imagination in Special Populations: This study explores how typically developing individuals, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and individuals with Down Syndrome differ in their imaginative and creative process. Researchers administer a cognitive assessment (WASI-II) followed by an assessment of creativity. This assessment is inspired by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) and R.J. Shapiro’s methods used in Creative Research Scientists(1968). The tasks are simplified and adjusted for different populations, in order to create an accurate measure of imagination, as opposed to intelligence. Creativity scores and cognitive scores will be compared, after which creativity scores will be assessed in respects to diagnosis. These results should suggest whether a link between autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome and differing imagination ability exists, which will help researchers learn more about the disorder as well as the creative process.

Currently recruiting subjects ages 15-25


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Breastfeeding/Bottle-feeding and Contingent Communication: Though extensive research has been devoted to the biology and nutrition of breastfeeding, less is known about how infants use this important early experience to gain information about communication and the social world. We are looking for volunteers (mothers who are currently breastfeeding/bottle-feeding their baby) to come into the lab to be observed feeding their baby. The purpose of this observation will be to examine patterns of parent-infant interactions during feeding across different cultural contexts. We are also recruiting mothers to participate in an at-home feeding log component of this study. More info HERE

Currently recruiting mothers and their breastfeeding/bottle-feeding babies (all ages)

Prosocial Behaviors: This study explores social behaviors in children with and without Autism. We are examining how children may differ in their social behaviors that are performed to benefit other individuals. The study involves a visit to the lab in which participants play and interact with an experimenter doing various sharing and helping tasks.
Currently recruiting children aged 4.5-6 years and verbally-fluent children with Autism aged 4.5-6