The research in our lab focuses on the nature and development of infants’ knowledge of objects. We are interested in the type of information infants represent about objects, how this changes during the first year, and what factors contribute to changes in knowledge. The kinds of questions that we ask in our research include: What object knowledge do infants possess at birth or soon after? What knowledge is acquired during the first year of life? What kinds of experiences are important for learning about objects?
In particular, we are investigating the kinds of information infants use to individuate objects. That is, when an object disappears from view and then reappears, what information do infants use to determine whether it is the same object or a different object than seen before? Traditionally, we have relied on violation-of-expectation (VOE) methods to study object individuation in infancy. In VOE studies, infants’ duration of looking to an event is measured. Infants generally look longer at events they find surprising or unexpected. Using this method we can identify the kinds of object information to which infants attend, the expectations that infants hold for objects as they move about in the world, and how this changes with age.
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