Research Projects in Typical Development
Our research in typical development encompasses the areas of concept formation and quantitative reasoning. We study these topics in infants as well as children from about 4 to 15 years of age.
Looking Time and Eye-Tracking Experiments With Babies
In infants we use both behavioral and eye-tracking techniques to ask questions such as: “What is the relationship between knowing words for objects, and being able to keep track of how many there are when they go out of sight?”; and: “Can infants match sights (jumping characters) and sounds (tones) based on numerosity?”
fMRI Studies With Older Children
In older children we use a combination of behavioral and brain imaging techniques (ERP and fMRI) to investigate the neural bases of essential cognitive changes that take place during the critical period from about 4 to 15 years of age, as children are developing new ways of reasoning about the world. For example, in an fMRI study of proportional reasoning we asked children, adolescents, and adults to formulate rules for solving a classic “balance beam” task. Our findings are helping us to better understand how the protracted development of reasoning skills are associated with a prolonged maturation of brain regions (prefrontal and parietal) which have been found to be critical in studies of other types of reasoning abilities.