Not me – the Little Lovely (LL). He also beat me to making a contribution to psychology and science by about 18 years, and that’s only if A-level psychology counts, which in terms of making any significant contribution to science, my A-level psychology certainly did not. What am I talking about? Well I signed baby up to take part in a baby-lab research project, at Birkbeck BabyLab and Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development. And all we got was this T-shirt! (picture to come, once I can get LL to pose in it for me, t-shirt is currently in the wash after getting dribble and other stuff on it). Not really, we got to contribute to a study that will tell us more about infant brain development and behaviour, and it was a fun afternoon out for us. The place was very baby friendly, and set up for us, of course.
So what did we do? LL had to watch a video involving a number of short clips of a person doing a certain activity on the screen, whilst wearing some interesting head gear. I won’t go into the specifics of it, just in case anyone is interested in participating, but the study was investigating brain activation underlying infants’ understanding of other people’s beliefs. Previous research had found that babies as young as 6 months were able to track another person’s beliefs and make predictions about the person’s actions based on those beliefs.
The study LL took part in was looking at which parts of the brain were responsible for understanding others’ beliefs, hence the fancy headgear which I think is supposed to detect which areas of the brain are activated and “light up”, when looking at the video clips. LL was not harmed in any way, or in any discomfort! And he had two very nice researchers paying him a lot of attention, plus I got a cup of tea, which is always a nice bonus, and to re-engage my brain in terms of thinking about psychological research.
⇒ ♥ ♥ ♥ Infant Scientists Wanted! ♥ ♥ ♥ ⇐
Science needs you! – the baby lab was looking for 3.5 month old babies to take part in another study. I said I would look out for some at our baby classes, although most of LL’s friends are his age (almost 6 months at the time he did the study), give or take a few weeks. They also had other studies available for older babies, including the one we took part in. If you want to contribute to developmental psychology, maybe see what studies are going on at a local university near you.
Not near any research centres or just don’t want to visit one for whatever reasons? Here’s some research you can take part in online – the Baby Laughter Project – the scientific study of what makes babies laugh. Here’s how you can take part – you can “file a field report” on what has made your baby laugh recently, or submit a video of your baby laughing. There’s also some really interesting information on there about laughter and development, and cute things including a video of the world’s youngest ever fan of listening/watching paper ripping (3 months old), see him laugh here!