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Wanted! – babies and toddlers

St Andrews psychologists are looking for young minds to take part in a hands-on study into child brain development.

The School of Psychology’s Baby and Child Lab is seeking volunteers between the age of 18 months and three years to help studies into how children learn about the world around them. The research – undertaken by Dr Juan- Carlos Gomez and PhD student Victoria Southgate – is aiming to establish what young children know – and how they learn – about objects which move out of sight, falling objects, how objects interact with each other and the properties of such objects.

Victoria said, “We are interested in how much young children understand about the world of objects around them and how this knowledge develops over the first few years of life. It doesn’t matter whether they get the correct response as young children often make very interesting mistakes which provide a window into how their minds are working. In fact, the mistakes that children make will often surprise the parents. The kind of questions we are trying to answer focus on how much children understand about objects that disappear from sight. So, when they can no longer see a rolling ball, are they able to reason about where that ball must be? By testing a broad range of ages, it is possible to establish at what age these abilities fall into place”.

The study involves parents bringing their children to the lab in the School of Psychology at a time convenient for them. The child then sits next to their parent and Victoria play games with them where they have to find a hidden ball – the child’s responses are videotaped for analysis. Before they leave, children can choose a small gift as a thank-you for participating.

Interested parents should contact Victoria on telephone 01334 427279 or by sending their details to School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9JP – alternatively, they can register their interest or find out more information via http://psy.st- andrews.ac.uk/research/childlab/.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information, please contact Contact Claire Grainger – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or cg24@st-andrews.ac.uk; Ref: press releases/babies View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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