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Prenatal Studies

Understanding light & sound (4D ultrasound)

We know that newborns can detect the difference between small number sets and will cry in response to the sound of another baby’s cry (but not that of an older baby). We want to understand more about babies’ visual and auditory abilities before birth. For this purpose, we are using 4D ultrasound technology to discover how babies at approximately 34 weeks respond to shapes of light and sound. The 4D scans will measure detailed face reactions to both shapes of light and sounds. Studies take place at the University of Cumbria, Lancaster.

Contact: Kirsty Dunn

Studies for 0-5-month-olds

How do babies develop in their first month in the world?

We want to understand more about newborn babies’ visual and auditory abilities in those first few weeks in the postnatal world. For the first time, we are able to see how abilities that are developing in our prenatal studies are related to abilities after birth. We use behavioural measures to see how babies respond to sounds and shapes that have been presented in our prenatal studies. Studies take place here at the Lancaster University Babylab. 

If you have a 1 month old baby, and are interested in taking part, please contact Kirsty Dunn: k.dunn@lancaster.ac.uk for more information. 

Contact: Kirsty Dunn
How do infants from different cultures perceive faces? (Eye-Tracking)

This study is part of a series of studies taking place at Lancaster and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).  

Your baby will sit on your knee and we will show some pictures of faces on a television screen for about 5-10min. 

If you have a child aged 9 months who was born after 37 weeks gestation, and are interested in taking part, please contact Anna Barnett: anna.barnett@lancaster.ac.uk

Contact: Anna Barnett
Are infants able to track a moving object along a vertical path?

We are interested in whether 4-month-old infants are able to track a moving object on a vertical path and if so would additional auditory (sound) information help them to do so. 

We will be using eye-tracking so we can record your baby’s looking behaviour to various animations of moving objects on a computer screen. 

If your are interested and your child is 4 month of age, please contact Alison Rees: a.rees@lancaster.ac.uk or call 01524 593860

Contact: Alison Rees
Are infants sensitive to cenntrain associations between pitch and visual motion?

We are interested in how 3- to 4-month-old infants associate visual motion and auditory (sound) pitch. 

We will be using eye-tracking so we can record your baby’s looking behaviour to various stimuli presented on a computer screen. 

If your are interested and your child is 3-4 month of age (British and raised in an English monolingual home), please contact Nina Harrison: nina.harrison@lancaster.ac.uk

Contact: Nina Harrison

Studies for 6-9 month-olds

Will checking your phone while spending time with your baby affect learning?

We are studying whether checking your phone while spending time with your baby affect how good they are at learning. 

For this purpose you and your baby will be fitted with a head mounted eye tracked so we can monitor where both of you are looking throughout the study. 

If you have a a child aged 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 who was born after 37 weeks gestation, and are interested in taking part, please contact Xiaoyun Chen: x.chen24@lancaster.ac.uk

Please note for this study we are currently only inviting mothers and their babies to take part. 

Contact: Xiaoyun Chen
How do infants from different cultures perceive faces? (Eye-Tracking)

This study is part of a series of studies taking place at Lancaster and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).  

Your baby will sit on your knee and we will show some pictures of faces on a television screen for about 5-10min. 

If you have a a child aged 9 months who was born after 37 weeks gestation, and are interested in taking part, please contact Anna Barnett: anna.barnett@lancaster.ac.uk

Contact: Anna Barnett

Studies for 10-14-month-olds

RobotGaze

This study measures whether 11- to 12-month-old babies can follow an adult’s gaze (look where the adult is looking), and if so, whether this differs depending on the direction that the adult is looking in.

The study involves a visit to the Lancaster University campus. Your baby will watch a face look either left, right, up, or down at some novel objects that your baby has never seen before. We will use eye tracking to measure where your baby is looking. 

If you are interested in taking part please get in touc with Priya Silverstein: p.silverstein@lancaster.ac.uk

Contact: Priya Silverstein

Studies for 15-31-month-olds

Does baby-talk help woorld learning?

In this study we are going to play an object naming game with your child. We will show him or her familiar and unfamiliar objects and ask them to find the object that matches a particular name (e.g. dolly). The study will take no longer than 20 minutes and you will be with your child throughout the session. 

If you would like to help us find the answer to this research question and you have a child that is 24-months of age, please contact Anna Barnett: anna.barnett@lancaster.ac.uk for more information.

Contact Anna Barnett
Is your child 2-years-old and are you worried about language delay?

Our study looks at how ‘late talkers’ aged 24-28 months of age (children without any developmental disorders who do not say very much) learn words. This study tracks their language development between 2-4 years. 

We will use eye-tracking, picking different objects and a touch screen for this study. Ideally, we would also like to follow-up your child’s vocabulary over then next two years, with two further visits 8-12 months apart.

If you are interested to find out more and you have a child that is 24-28 month-old, please get in touch with Rachael Cheung: r.w.cheung@lancaster.ac.uk 

Contact Rachael Cheung
How do emotions influence your baby's world learning?

Our study looks at how children aged 24-28 months learn language. We are looking for very chatty toddlers as a comparison group to our late talkers.

This follow up eye-tracking study looks at how emotions may impact how babies learn new words and requires two visits to the Lancaster Babylab on two consecutive days. If you have the time and a toddler that is around 29-31 months of age, we would of course love to hear from you. 

For more information about this study please get in touch with Shirly: l.ma5@lancaster.ac.uk

Studies for children up to 34 months

UK-CDI Language Questionnaire

Our UK-CDI project is working on what parents can tell us about their children’s language. We recently asked a number of parents of toddlers to do a very short language questionnaire, and we were looking at families that were both bilingual and monolingual. We asked everyone to tell us what words their toddler could say from a very short list; we chose the list to be reasonably easy for the age group we are working with because we wanted it to be good at picking up the children who are having difficulties. We were not worried if it told us who was an early talker or average; we were more interested in working out who might be struggling a little. Usually, if you give parents a really longlist of words that’s designed to pick up differences right from early talkers to late talkers, children who are growing up bilingual know a few less words than their peers. However, another research group found -and we found the same – that for a *really* short questionnaire like this, it doesn’t make a difference. Children growing up bilingual could say just as many words. This was quite surprising to us but as this was also found by another group using a very very short questionnaire we think it is probably right.

We are very grateful for all the Lancaster Babylab parents’ help. In future, we are hoping to use this questionnaire to see which children might need help with their language once they are a bit older. For this purpose we will be trying it with families of toddlers and then catching up with the same children when they are older to see how their language has turned out. We are now moving on to another questionnaire which also asks parents to tell us about their children’s language. For this questionnaire we are looking for parents of children who only hear English at home, but they can live anywhere in the UK as you do this questionnaire online as well. Children need to be 24 to 36 months old. 

You can take part in this new questionnaire whether you did the previous one or not. If you did the previous one and told us your email address – we will hopefully be in touch soon.

If you didn’t take part, or you didn’t leave us your email address – please get in touch on uk-cdi@lancaster.ac.uk

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Are you 60 years or over?

Our colleagues at the Psychology Department at Lancaster University are currently building up a new participant database for people aged 60 and/or over. 

Once registered, you will receive invitations for research studies and other interesting events related to ageing research in Lancaster.

Studies include online questionnaires as well as visits to the lab (on the University Campus) or visits to your home. Of course you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ each time. 

Read More about the Centre for Ageing Research Panel