Our Studies

Children's Learning

Children's Learning:

We are interested in determining how young children understand basic concepts of science, and how they use these concepts in their reasoning about the world. For example, why do young children believe that a big cylinder sinks faster than a small cylinder? Our research is guided by the hypothesis that children, like adults, use their ability to coordinate isolated pieces of information into higher-order patters. Our experiments are simple reasoning games for children between 1 and 12 years old, either on the computer or with real-life objects. Children’s answers allow us to understand how beliefs and ideas emerge spontaneously. Click here to participate!


Coordination Dynamics

Coordination Dynamics:

Knowledge can be understood as a form of coordination, a dance of some sort among all the information that affects our mind. But how does coordination develop? How, for example, can even young children coordinate simple motor actions with high-level cognitive thinking? Our study is designed to answer this question, in collaboration with the Perceptual-Motor Dynamics lab at the University of Cincinnati. 4- to 9-year-olds wear a glove with a sensor while following a character on a TV screen. The variability in their behavior is then analyzed with non-linear methods to study how coordination changes over time. Click here to participate!


Thinking in Autism:

Children with autism might see the world differently than typically developing children. They focus overly on isolated features of their environment, and much less on the global relations among those features. In exaggerated terms, they are better at seeing the trees than the forest. Our goal is to study whether this difference between autism and typical development comes from a difference in how children with coordinate pieces of information. Children with autism who know at least a few words and have a mental age of 4 to 6 participate in simple reasoning games on the computer. Their answers will help us discover ways to help children with tasks that require higher-order pattern recognition. Click here to participate!