Information for Parents

We take special care to ensure that both parents and children are comfortable and have a fun and informative time during their visit.

What to expect with a typical visit to the Babylab

If you have registered with us and your baby is the right age for one of our studies, we will give you a call or email you.

We will describe our study, and if you are happy to take part in it, we will arrange a convenient time for your visit and will sent you directions and more information via email.

Typically we’ll contact you the day before your scheduled appointment to confirm the visit, answer any questions that you may have and to make sure that you have received the directions.

When you and your baby arrive at the Babylab, a friendly researcher will welcome you to our playroom. You can take a moment to orient yourself and get comfortable with coffee or tea, and toys for your child.

We will explain the study to you again and will answer any questions you might have.

We will also give you a consent form to sign, saying that you are happy for your baby to participate.

Once everyone is comfortable we will move to a nearby room to start the study. Normally, your baby will sit on a baby chair or on your lap. You will be with your baby at all times. Most of our studies take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

After the study we will answer any questions you might have. Finally your child will receive a small gift and your travel costs will be covered up to £10.

We hope you will enjoy your visit in our Babylab! It’s certainly a informative day out with your baby!

You can also bring along siblings. We take great care to ensure all Safeguarding guidelines are met. As a consequence we will always ensure that two researchers will be present with your child while your baby is doing the study.

Some examples of our studies

Babies' action understanding

A big part of using tools correctly is holding them properly. Do babies learn how to hold everyday tools like cups by watching adults? We show them pictures of people reaching for and holding cups in normal and strange ways. The pattern of babies’ brain waves can tell us if the baby predicted that the person would hold the cup normally.

Babies' concept of objects

We present infants with real moving objects that disappear behind a stationary object in its path. Infants are then presented with possible and impossible events when the stationary object is removed. We are interested in whether infants understand that a moving object still exists when it disappears behind other objects.

Category formation and word learning

Infants’ category formation underpins language learning. We are interested in how infants group objects together into different categories such as cats and dogs using sounds and visual characteristics. We also look at how children begin to learn words for these categories using pointing games and eye-tracking studies.


We investigate communication between an infant and their social partner. We study how infants learn that we are communicating with them using eye contact and calling their name, and how this helps them to learn information such as object labels, categories and symbols.

Emotional development

Soon after birth, babies can read emotions based on the face, body posture, and tone of voice. To understand how these abilities develop, we present infants with pictures or videos of adults and children expressing different emotions and record the babies’ brain responses and their eye-gaze.

Understanding of symbols

Pictures are a rich source of information that humans use to communicate with each other. When do children understand that pictures are symbolic and refer to something in the real world? How does this interact with language? We investigate these questions in toddlers and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Research Ethics

All of our studies are approved by the ethics committees at Lancaster University. Information about your baby is confidential and all data is kept anonymous. Personal details will be kept securely and only for the purpose stated. You can ask for your details to be removed from our database at any time.

Adults and children may be tested in the same area.