We use a variety of methods to study how infants and children learn languages and other patterns in their environment. Our methods are designed to be safe, natural, and fun for our infant and child participants.
We study learning by:
Observing what children are paying attention to.
We use special cameras to determine where children are looking as they view short movies or interact with objects in the world. Observing what children are paying attention to helps us understand what they are learning from their environment.
Playing interactive games with children.
We have designed many fun and educational computer games designed to test how children learn language and other patterns in the world around them. Children hear or see patterns during the game and we are able to study how they are learning from them.
Teaching languages to children.
Many of our studies involve teaching real or pretend languages to children using puppets or games. These studies help us understand how children acquire and learn language in the real world.
Comparing children and adults.
Children are known to have an easier time acquiring languages than adults. To investigate why, we compare the behavior of children to the behavior of adults in our experiments. This helps us understand whether children and adults are learning in different ways.