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At the Child Cognition Lab, we look closely at how young children think about and understand the world around them. Specifically, we are interested in children’s understanding of the social world and behavior of other people.

Increasingly, we know how much young children learn and know early in life. In fact, they begin to actively interpret their world as soon as they are born. And then they learn more and more, often in ways and about things that parents (and researchers!) don’t expect.

The implications of understanding what children think about their worlds are fascinating and multi-faceted. There is the joy, for them and for us, of discovering the unknown. Plus there are the insights we gain about both typical and atypical behavior, as well as about the impressive mixture of both what children do and do not understand. Not only do parents benefit from our increasingly more in-depth knowledge of child skills and insights, but researchers, teachers, and policy makers also benefit from this understanding. 

The majority of our studies use game-like situations and story book-like materials. They include children’s direct interaction with toys, small unusual objects (that children puzzle out), small child-friendly robots, a small child-friendly dog, or short acted-out skits that children react to and talk about. Children have fun, often ask to return or to do more, and we learn more and more about them.