Welcome to the Conceptual Development Lab!


In light of the spread of COVID-19, the University of Michigan has asked that all in-person research activities, including our studies at the Conceptual Development Lab, be suspended. However, we are very excited to announce that we are now holding VIRTUAL research sessions!

If you are interested in signing up to participate in ONLINE, VIRTUAL research, fill out this form and our team will be in contact with you shortly!



The Conceptual Development Lab is directed by Dr. Susan Gelman and is located in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan.

Thank you very much for visiting our website. For over 20 years, we have been conducting research on children’s language and thought at the University of Michigan. Our projects explore cognitive development, category formation and use, causal reasoning, and relationships between language and thought. Most of our studies focus on children between the ages of 2 and 10, and are conducted either in our home-like laboratory setting or in area preschools and schools. If you are a parent who is interested in participating, please check out the Parents section for information about our current studies.


Our Projects

Currently Recruiting:

Understanding COVID transmission: 5-12 year olds for a project on children’s understanding of COVID, and who might be more likely to get COVID. Interested? Please click here to learn more!      


Museum Exhibit:

Check out our exhibit on visualizing viruses at the second floor of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (UMMNH) in Ann Arbor! It’s open Tuesday—Sunday from 11am to 3pm.



Click here to read more about our research topics.

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Click here to check out our 2021-2022 Newsletter!