What do we study?
We study the way that children come to learn about and represent important aspects of the world, from how things work (causality) to how other people think and talk (the mind). This research has many applications, from school curriculum design to understanding atypical development.
What can I expect?
When kids come into the lab, they will play games with us that are designed both to be a lot of fun, and help further scientific research.Kids usually have a lot of fun (we do too!). The whole session takes somewhere between 30-45 minutes, and it's here in our lab. You are welcome to be with your child the whole time.
Who can participate?
Right now, in the Causality and Mind Lab, we are running experiments with infants, and children between the ages of 2-10. If you are the parent or guardian of a child in the right age range, and you would like to volunteer to participate in one of our studies, you can click here to sign up your child, email us or call us at 401-863-3527.
We also run experiments at Providence Children's Museum during Mind Lab. This semester, we are at the museum Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, as well as Friday afternoons. We also conduct research in the exhibits themselves (times variable). You can also come visit us there (no appointments are necessary).
What kinds of games do we play?
One game we play is designed to examine what children know about causality, or cause and effect. We have created a box that lights up and plays music when certain objects are put on it. We play with the blocks and the machine and then ask children some questions about the blocks. We also ask children questions about cause and effect, as well as examine what children know about science.
Many of the other games we play involve stories. We tell children stories and ask them questions about what characters are thinking or feeling. We also study how children understand pretending, learning, and other mental states by telling them stories and asking them questions about those stories.
Finally, other games that we play look at children's understanding of fairness and sharing, children's curiosity and reasoning, and how children learn from what other people say and do.