Welcome to the Developmental Learning Lab!

We are a developmental psychology lab at the University of Waterloo. Our research focuses on cognitive development in infants and children under the age of seven.

Have you ever wondered how an infant’s mind develops into the complex and sophisticated mind of an adult? Is this development possible simply through learning? Or are babies “pre-wired” to develop in this way?

Our research has a special focus on:

  • Learning: Specifically, how infants and young children use probability and statistics to guide their actions and make predictions about the world around them.
  • The development of social knowledge: For example, what kinds of experiences lead children to develop the understanding that people can have preferences independent of their own?
  • Physical reasoning: What methods can children use to make and test hypotheses about their physical environments?

Our lab conducts studies with children aged four months to seven years.  Participating in one of our studies with your child can be a very interesting opportunity for parents, and a fun and engaging experience for children! A typical study involves meeting our team of researchers at the University of Waterloo and participating in a five to ten minute experiment. During the experiment, we observe your child's reactions to particular events while he or she is sitting on your lap or sitting next to you. Usually, we time how long infants look at different stimuli, or we observe the kinds of objects that they reach for or crawl towards to gain an understanding of what they know about a concept. With older children, we often ask questions about how they think new objects work or ask them to make guesses using simple, intuitive probability. The entire visit lasts approximately 30 minutes, and your child will receive a small gift as a thank-you for helping us in our research.

If you are interested in participating, please visit our Study Participation page for more information.

Lab for Infant Development and Language logo    Infant Studies Group logo

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) logoWork in the lab is supported by NSERC Discovery and Equipment funds