Take part in our online studies

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Due to the restrictions in place since March 2020, we have been unable to invite families into our baby labs to take part in studies. We've really missed seeing our lovely volunteer families. However, our brilliant researchers have come up with ingenious ways to adapt their studies to take place online. A major positive of this, is that without the need to travel to our labs, more people can now take part in our studies.

Below are the studies currently available, along with details of how to take part. All the studies are designed to be fun (normally they involve playing a game or answering some questions) and are a nice way to add a bit of variety to your day! If your children aren't the right age for these studies, but you're interested in taking part in future studies, you can sign up to our babylab volunteer databases and we'll contact you once a suitable study is available.

What do children understand about promises? - recruiting children aged 4-7 year olds

This online study aims to learn what children understand about moral behaviours, especially what they think about people who make a promise to behave in a particular way, but afterward break this promise. As adults, we tend to think that people should act how they say they will act, and we disapprove of people who don’t. At some age, children must acquire the tendency to do this as well, but we know little about how this occurs. Here, our goal is to learn more about how and when this tendency develops.

If you have a child aged between 4-7, who is fluent in English, then we would love to hear from you! The study would involve a 15-minute session with the researcher over Zoom, where your child would listen to a story and answer some questions by choosing between two pictures. Email Laura for more details. 

Young children's reasoning - recruiting 21/2 -5 year olds

When we solve problems together, we talk about our reasoning to one another. But how do children understand non-verbal reasoning, like pointing? PhD student, Kirstie Hartwell (University of Manchester), is running a study to investigate this in children aged 2.5 to 5 years. The study lasts around 30 minutes and takes place over Zoom. Email Kirstie for more details.

Children's evaluations of apologies - recruiting 4-5 year olds

Children are often told to say 'sorry', but what do they really understand about apologies and when they become necessary? PhD student, Owen Waddington (University of Manchester) is looking for children aged 4 and 5 to take part in a short online experiment from the comfort of home. The study lasts around 20 minutes and is completed via a virtual Zoom meeting. Email Owen for more details.

Children's language of emotion - recruiting 5-13 year olds

This project aims to find out about children’s understanding of emotion words, and how it changes across children aged 5-13. We will be carrying out a few language based tasks over Zoom, investigating the effectiveness of some novel measures of the language of emotion. The purpose of this research is to prepare for a larger study that will compare the same language skills in typically developing children and Autistic children. This will help us to better support clinical populations through building our understanding of disordered language of emotion development. For more information please email Mari Hamano, who is working with Dr Jenny Freed and Dr Alexandra Sturrock (University of Manchester).

Children's Understanding of Size Comparisons - recruiting English-speaking children aged 3 years – 8 years

One thing that makes humans so clever is our ability to compare things.  But learning the words to talk about comparisons (e.g., bigger, smaller) is actually quite hard for children.  In this study, we are looking at what children think these words mean and how that changes as they develop.  Kids will look at two pictures on a screen and help teach a robot what the words mean (e.g., "The robot wants to know about the word bigger.  Can you tell him which is bigger?").  This study takes place over Zoom and will be conducted by some of our third year Psychology students who are doing this research as part of their degree. Data collection is ongoing and we would like to invite English speaking children aged between three and eight years old to take part. If interested, please click here to sign up to our Manchester Child Study Centre database or email the project lead Dr Alissa Ferry

Understanding infants’ ability to gaze follow during virtual interactions - recruiting 10-12-month olds

Our Lancaster based researcher Chiara Capparini for 10-12-month old babies to take part in her final PhD project. This study aims to investigate infants’ ability to gaze follow during virtual interactions. Your baby will watch an experimenter looking at some objects on the screen. We are interested in whether babies treat virtual and real social partners in a similar way. To take part you will first complete a short online questionnaire and subsequently take part in a gaze following game with the experimenter via a video conferencing platform (about 15 minutes). If you would like to take part and you have an internet- and webcam-connected computer device (including desktops or laptops) please contact Chiara for more information or register your interest via the Lancaster Babylab website

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