Child development in focus

Various research methods for investigating child development


Infants sit on their parent's lap and watch short movies or animations while we register their gaze. Photo: Mikołaj Hernik



Eye-tracking studies


We study how infants perceive and understand events in the world around them. Infants watch simple movies, and we use an eye tracker that registers exactly where and when they look. This tells us what catches infants' attention, what they remember, what they think is similar or different, what they expect, and what surprises them. 


Want to know more? Ask Mikołaj!


A child from a hunter-gatherer tribe in Tanzania, Et barn fra en jeger- og samlerstamme i Tanzania wearing a chest strap that registers heart rate, sound, and the distance from caregivers. Photo: Monika Abels


Observational studies


We investigate how infants' early interactional experiences are related to later development (for example gestures or language), and how children in different cultures develop. In order to study this, we observe families in everyday situations, sometimes with the help of new technology, and we ask parents about their parenting practices and values.


Want to know more? Ask Monika!


After having seen the experimenter perform a novel action with a lamp, the child gets to manipulate the object himself. Photo: Thomas Nermo


Imitation studies


We are interested in what young children can learn and remember before they begin to can talk. Young children often imitate what other people do, and this is in fact one of the earliest learning mechanisms. We study how different factors, for example the social interaction with the experimenter, influence children's learning. 


Want to know more? Ask Gabriella or Solveig!

Photo: Colourbox


Intervention studies

We investigate whether children’s theory of mind (ToM) and social skills can be strengthened with the help of animated cartoons. First, children watch a fun cartoon, and then they children participate in a semi-structured discussion that focuses on the characters’ mental states. Children’s ToM and social skills are measured at both pre- and post-test to test whether the intervention has a positive effect on children’s social competence.

Want to know more? Ask Gabriella or Linda!