Current Research

What does participation involve?

All of our studies are designed to be fun, interactive games that help us better understand the skills that are important for early childhood development. Depending on the specific research project that your child is assisting with, participation may involve:

  • Playing interactive games on a touch screen computer or tablet
  • Eye tracking used to record your child's visual attention to objects on a computer screen
  • One-on-one play-based games that help us assess different cognitive abilities
  • Parent questionnaires

Studies are conducted in our child friendly research lab located on the Bradley University campus. Free parking is provided and all child participants receive a prize for coming in!

Current Studies

Communication Studies

Effective communication often requires us to consider the perspectives of others. For example, knowing what a speaker knows or intends to say can help us interpret the meaning of a message, particularly if the message on its own is unclear (e.g, if a speaker says "Look at the duck" when there are multiple ducks in the immediate context).

In this series of studies, we examine when and how children begin to apply perspective taking skills to become better interpreters and producers of spoken language.

Theory of Mind Studies

A fundamental milestone of early social and cognitive development occurs when children begin to think and reason about the mental states of others. Also known as Theory of Mind, this ability emerges when children first begin to realize that other people may have different thoughts or desires than their own and that internal states may be used to predict and explain the behaviors of others.

In this series of studies, we examine how improvements in different cognitive abilities (e.g., language and inhibition) contribute to the development of of both theory of mind understanding and related social skills.