Labs

Early Development Research Group
Principal Investigators: Andrew Baron, Susan Birch, Geoff Hall, Kiley Hamlin, Darko Odic, and Janet Werker

The Early Development Research Group consists of a group of researchers in the UBC Psychology department dedicated to the development of language, learning, and social understanding in infants and children.

Centre for Cognitive Development
Principal Investigator: Darko Odic

The Centre for Cognitive Development studies the origin of number, time, and space representations and how their interaction with language plays a role in higher-order reasoning, including mathematics, confidence, and communication. We combine tools from traditional cognitive development, visual cognition and psychophysics, formal linguistics, and computational modeling to understand how children and adults reason and learn to talk about quantity, and why children are not uniformly successful in learning mathematics and related higher-level concepts. More recently, we have been investigating the origins of our sense of confidence and how it is communicated to others during learning and cooperation.

Centre for Infant Cognition
Principal Investigator: Kiley Hamlin

At the Centre for Infant Cognition we study infants’ and young toddlers’ everyday cognitions about the world, with a particular focus on social-cognitive and moral-cognitive processing and evaluation in the first two years of life. This developmental approach allows us to (1) examine the roots of these basic processes before more complex cognitive abilities (such as language and inhibitory control) fully develop and prior to extensive cultural influence and (2) track how they change over time.

Infant Studies Centre
Principal Investigator: Janet Werker

Our research focuses on understanding the first steps in infancy that launch the process of language acquisition. We study infants growing up in different language communities, including infants growing up bilingual. We present infants with different types of language and non-language sound stimuli, often accompanied by pictures, and record their sucking, looking, reaching, or brain activity. We apply our knowledge of typical development to populations of infants at risk for a language delay.

K. I. D. Studies Centre
Principal Investigator: Susan Birch

We research Knowledge, Imagination, and Development (i.e. K.I.D.). Our research focuses on a wide-range of topics related to children and adults ability to reason about someone else’s perspective.

Language Development Centre
Principal Investigator: Geoff Hall

One project in the Centre focused on how children distinguish between proper names and common nouns. Learning to make this distinction presents children with a real challenge. Imagine showing your child a new object, such as a toy bear, and offering a new word for it. How does your child know whether your word is a proper name for that particular object (like “Yogi”) or a common noun for the entire object category (like “bear”)? And when do babies first understand the difference between these two types of words?

Moral Psychology Lab
Principal Investigator: Larry Walker

Researchers in the Moral Development Lab focus on aspects of the psychology of moral development, especially moral personality and identity. We are fundamentally interested in exploring the factors that contribute to exemplary moral action.

Social Cognitive Development Lab
Principal Investigator: Andrew Baron

The Social Cognitive Development lab explores how children (from infancy through early teenage years) establish preferences for and beliefs about other people. Research involves understanding how preferences for and stereotypes about people are acquired and change across development on both a conscious and an unconscious level of processing.

Child Study Labs
Principal Investigator: Ann Cameron

The researchers in the Child Study Labs are included in all aspects of the research process, from library searches, through research design, to actual participant interface, data reduction, and analysis, and on to scholarly presentations. Ethical considerations and comportment in the field, and participant rapport building are also part of necessary training. Students are also trained in careful data recording and in many cases, audio- and audio-visual records require time-consuming transcription before analyses can start.