WHO WE ARE
We are scientists who conduct research on perceptual and cognitive development in infancy and childhood. Dr. Scott Johnson is the Research Director of the lab and also supervises graduate students and fellow researchers. Shannon Brady is the Lab Manager, organizing everything to ensure that things go smoothly. Bryan Nguyen, Lab Technician, helps design new computer-based studies. A number of graduate students are working on projects that investigate perceptual, cognitive, social, motor, and cortical development in infants and children.
We are indebted to the parents (and infants!) who visit our lab and take part in our studies. Without you, we couldn’t do our work, and we appreciate your contributions very much!
RESEARCH METHODS, GOALS AND OUTCOMES
WHAT WE DO…HOW WE DO IT…WHY WE DO IT…
Our research participants are little, but our questions are big. We investigate issues that are central to cognitive and developmental science, such as origins of knowledge, how infants come to understand objects, how they direct their attention, and how they learn about visual and auditory patterns in the world. Infants can’t tell us what they think verbally, so we use indirect methods.
Sometimes we measure looking times to various visual displays, because infants get bored with repetition and recover interest to novelty. We tap interpretation of various displays with this method, such as perception of depth and motion. We also record eye movements, gaining access to the timing and spatial patterns of scanning. Finally, we measure brain activity with arrays of sensors that are placed across the infants’ scalp. With an understanding of fundamental perceptual and cognitive brain development, scientists can diagnose and treat problems that arise in some children. We are funded by the government (the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) and feel a strong obligation to conduct and report the best possible science we can.