On-going Research Projects

Many of our tasks ask children to learn new words -- in games, on the computer, or by viewing slides. We do this to understand how learning works and how it can be made easier. We are also interested in real world, everyday learning in naturalistic settings.

In the past, we (and lots of other researchers) followed young children around with cameras and clipboards, trying to understand their every day learning experiences. But these techniques just allow us to see the child in the world, they don't show us the child's world in the sense of what the child sees. In very exciting new research, we are putting lightweight head-cameras on children, a first attempt to see the world as they do.

Below is a list of our current studies and the ages that researchers are seeking for participation. We hope you find a study that excites you and sends you eagerly to filling out our on-line particpation form.

Understanding Changes in Physiology During Play

Researcher(s): Jeremy Borjon
Ages needed:8-12 months
Visits: One-time visit
Study description:  A new, developing branch of research in the lab is seeking to understand how changes in your infant's heart rate and breathing help them to learn and play. These studies use a new, lightweight vest designed right here in Indiana University to wirelessly measure your child's heart beats, breathing, and movement using cloth sensors.

Parent and Child Joint Play

Researchers:Linger Xu, Jeremy Borjon
Ages Needed: 9-36 months
Visits: One-time visit
Study Description: In this study we want to understand how infants learn about new words and objects and how they develop their social interaction skills while playing with their parents. This toy-play interaction is one of the most common everyday activities in the infants' lives and gives us a valuable representation of how learning happens in the real world. During the study, we will put light-weight head-mounted eye-trackers on both the infant's and parent's forehead to see the learning unfolds from the infant's point of view and examine how all types of parent's social cues (such as hand actions, speech, looks, body movements, etc.) influence the infant's behavior and learning in real time.

Object Training Study

Researcher(s): Elizabeth Clerkin
Ages needed: 17-20 months
Visits: 6 visits, once oer week for 6 weeks
Covid Policy: This study is currently on hold due to an inability to social distance during the sessions. Please stay tuned as we hope to be up and running again soon!
Study description: We want to understand how playing with different types of toys affects children's learning of novel object names. At each session, experimenters fit the child with a lightweight eye-tracking headband, and the child plays with novel toys and an experimenter. At some sessions, the child is also asked to point to pictures of objects in a book or to indicate which objects they think have the same name. We want to see how each child's visual attention to the toys across the play sessions is related to their vocabulary and to how they choose to apply names to objects they have not seen before.