What we do

The Infant & Child Studies Group conducts research on how children learn, with a focus on language and cognitive development. Our research asks the following questions:

  • How do very young infants process speech? What sounds do they treat differently and what sounds do they treat as the same?
  • How does this change with exposure to the native language(s)?
  • When do infants start to learn about what words sound like and what they mean? How do these two processes interact?
  • How do toddlers interpret new or unusual pronunciations of words? Is this different from how adults treat new pronunciations?
  • What perceptual and learning mechanisms help young learners acquire language so rapidly?
  • How do infants and young children use probability and statistics to guide their actions and make predictions about the world around them?
  • What kinds of experiences lead children to develop the understanding that people can have preferences independent of their own?
  • What methods can children use to make and test hypotheses about their physical environments?