Current Studies

 

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Social Evaluations

These studies ask whether infants can tell the difference between someone who is helpful and someone who is unhelpful, and whether they prefer helpful others. We use a variety of puppet shows to ask this question, including situations of helping a puppet up a hill, helping a puppet open a box to get a toy, and giving a puppet a dropped ball, and then we ask if infants prefer helpful characters over unhelpful ones. Click here to see some of our puppet shows in action!

Ingroups and Outgroups
These studies ask whether infants, like adults, prefer those who are like them in some way versus those who are not like them. Using various cues to group membership (food preferences, clothing, toy preferences) babies are shown puppets who share these traits with them, and those who do not. We then see if babies prefer to play with a puppet who is like them. Click here to see the food preferences puppet show.http://www.yale.edu/infantlab/foodpreference/Food_Preference.htmlhttp://www.yale.edu/infantlab/foodpreference/Food_Preference.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0

Plants

This series of studies examines infants’ understanding of plants.  Throughout human history, plants have been essential to human life.  Do infants recognize plants as sources of food?  Do they also understand that plants can be harmful? In order to explore these questions, babies participate in a variety of tasks, including situations in which they are presented with plants along with other object types.