Early Social Cognition Laboratory


Is your baby college material?

Your baby probably learns more in the first year of life than he will in four years of college. That first year is full of amazing learning and growth, as the sounds, sights, smells, textures, and tastes in your infant's environment quickly become ordered and organized.

At the Early Social Cognition Laboratory, we study how babies come to understand themselves and the world around them. Consider the game of peek-a-boo, for example:   children learn about prediction and surprise at a very young age.

While your baby is too young to enroll in college classes, she may have a great deal to teach college professors. We've been studying Charlottesville babies for over thirty years--a whole generation of children teaching scientists how babies think and grow.

A typical experimental session lasts less than half an hour, and mothers stay with their babies the entire time. At the end of the session, your baby will take home a small gift to show our appreciation.

Most mothers and children enjoy participating in our research. Many have been in more than one study, often with more than one of their children. In addition, we have extra staff on hand to play with your other children if they come with you.

How do we choose the children we study? We maintain a database, called the Babypool, of children born in local hospitals, taking our information from birth records published in the newspapers. But we know there are lots of children in our area who are not in the Babypool. Many of the young children in Charlottesville were born elsewhere, or their families have moved since they were born, or maybe we just can't find a phone number to contact their parents. So we're always trying to update or add to the Babypool.

If you would like to participate in our research, please take a few minutes to register your baby in the Babypool. We promise not to give this information to anyone else. Only developmental psychology researchers from the University of Virginia will call you.

Please click on the links below for more information about

Selected resources in Charlottesville for parents, children, and families