For Parents

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What type of research is conducted at the Infant Development Lab?

We study perceptual, cognitive, and social development in infants and young children. How do infants and young children learn about the world around them? For example, how do infants know what sights and sounds belong together and which come from separate events? How and when do children remember the objects, places, and people in their environment? What motivates children to attend to social events such as people, speech, and actions? How do patterns of infant attention and perception lead to optimal language and social functioning? How can an understanding of typical development contribute to early identification of children at risk for atypical development such as autism?

What is involved in participating in our research with your child?

Most studies require one or two visits to our lab, but some are longitudinal and require multiple visits across several months or years. Our lab is located at the University Park campus at Florida International University. Free, reserved parking is available. Our studies usually last about 30 minutes and parents are with their child at all times. Children are seated in a chair/infant seat and presented with video displays and/or actual objects. Trained observers record how long the child looks to each display. Often a soundtrack that matches one of the events is played. A more detailed description of the study that is appropriate for the age of your child is given when parents are contacted by phone. Your child’s results are kept strictly confidential.

Who can participate?

Children of 2 months through 7 years typically participate. Many of our studies focus on infants of 2 to 12 months of age.

What do parents and their babies gain from participating?

Most infants and children enjoy their experience. By participating in research, parents make a valuable contribution to scientific knowledge about child development. Parents are also given a small reimbursement for their time and effort and infants and/or children receive a Certificate of Appreciation from Florida International University for their contribution to science. Once the study is completed parents have access to a short summary of the results.

We also provide resources for parents about child development.

What do we do with our research findings?

Our findings are: 1) presented at national and international conferences, 2) published in scientific journals and, 3) made available to parents through our website (see Conference Presentations) and our Facebook page, so that they can learn about our most recent and exciting findings about child development. Parents may also be interested in reading our Conference Presentations and Scientific Publications.

How to contact us:

If you have an infant or child and wish to participate in one of our studies, we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you! Please call (305) 348-2842 or e-mail The pace of scientific discovery and the success of our research depends on many parents like you volunteering to come to our lab with their infant for a brief visit. We encourage you and your child to participate and are grateful for your time and effort!