Research Team | Direction

          More development happens in infancy than in any other time in the life span.  Yet much of that development is unknown to us because of the limited communicative abilities of infants, the gap between our understanding of the world and theirs, and the difficulty older children and adults have remembering their infancy.  In the infancy lab infants are our teachers.  We attempt to design studies to help the infant teach us about their world and the sense they make of it.        

          Most recently the focus of the research in the infancy lab has been on how infants use visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation to learn about themselves and others.  Experiments explore how infants use the contingency present in normal social interactions with others and in play with objects to develop their sense of self agency, i.e., that they are effective agents in the world and can act on the social and physical environment with predictable outcomes.  Experiments also examine how infants make use of others' interactions with them to learn about the complexities of language and play, both of which are symbolic systems which allow for expansions in communications and memory.  With newborn infants, experiments explore the benefits of mother-infant skin-to-skin contact to the infants and their mothers, and to the mother-infant relationship.