Online Studies

Can unborn babies remember their parents' voices?

This study aims to investigate the extent to which our developing fetus’ (32-34 weeks gestation) can remember familiar speech and voices that they hear in the womb. Both mothers-to-be and their partners will be asked to each read and record a short passage for ~ 10 minutes, which will be played every day for 2 weeks to the fetus. The mother-to-be will be asked to record the frequency and intensity of kicks from baby via an online survey. For any questions or to participate, please contact our MSc student Hope Butler:

Understanding infants’ ability to gaze follow during virtual interactions

Our PhD student Chiara Capparini is looking for 10-12-month old babies to take part in her final PhD project. This study aims to investigate infants’ ability to gaze follow during virtual interactions. Your baby will watch an experimenter looking at some objects on the screen. We are interested in whether babies treat virtual and real social partners in a similar way. To take part you will first complete a short online questionnaire and subsequently take part in a gaze following game with the experimenter via a video conferencing platform (about 15 minutes). If you would like to take part and you have an internet- and webcam-connected computer device (including desktops or laptops) please contact Chiara for more information:

Contact: Chiara Capparini
Adult object perception study (18-35 years)

We are also looking for adults to take part in an interesting online study which aims to explore how adults perceive different objects with different features. Given that we often study infants on basic object perception, this adult study would help us understand the developmental trajectory of object perception from infancy to adulthood. This study takes place online for about 20-30 mins. You will be asked to look at some object images and answer a few questions. If you are between 18 and 35 years of age and interested in taking part, please contact Xiaoyun Chen:

Contact: Xiaoyun Chen

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. 

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: for more information. 

Contact: Kirsty Dunn

Studies for 6-9 month-olds

Studies for 10-14-month-olds

Studies for 15-31-month-olds

Does curiosity lead to better word learning?

We are looking for 18-month-old babies to take part in this new eye-tracking study. This study aims to investigate infants’ ability to choose what they want to learn about using their gaze, and whether curiosity-driven choice leads to better learning. Your baby will see some objects on the screen and either have a choice what they want to learn about and be able to use their gaze to make a selection to learn new words for new toys, or will be taught in a passive manner, without making an active selection. We will then assess how well they remembered these objects.

This study will involve a visit to the Babylab. The study itself will last about 5 minutes, with the whole visit being no longer than 30 minutes. Please contact Marina Bazhydai for more information:

Contact: Marina Bazhydai

Studies for children 2 years and older

Do children’s interests affect the way they learn words?

Our PhD student Charlotte Rothwell is looking for monolingual English-speaking children between 2 and 8 years of age to take part in her PhD research. Her studies are investigating how children’s interests influence their word learning. Children’s involvement in the project will be divided into several short visits (minimum of 4 visits – the 1st two and the 2nd two visits 24h apart) to the Babylab. Before you visit to the Babylab, you will be asked to complete some short questionnaires. During the visits, your child will play simple and fun games, including the use of a touch screen computer. If you would like to find out more or wish to take part, please contact Charlotte:

Contact: Charlotte Rothwell
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

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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