Current Projects

Parents and their children can participate in any of the below studies currently running at ECDC.  These are just a few of the studies that are currently underway in our labs.

Our research would not be possible without the generous support of parents with children and students who take part in our projects. If you are interested in participating with your child in our upcoming studies, please enter your details below, and we will be in touch with you when a study becomes available within the age of your child.

Interested in participating, but cannot find a suitable study? Register your interest to be contacted for future research studies. 

(2 years) Tech, Tots and Bots: How Young Children Learn from Technology and Robots

Name of Researcher: Kristyn Hensby

Age: 22 to 26 months old

Description of Study: Infants and young children growing up in Australia are being increasingly exposed to information presented on electronic devices. Yet we know little about what they learn. This study investigates whether or not 2-year-old children can learn to complete a sequence of actions to build a toy from one of three different sources of instruction: a social robot, a touch screen tablet or a human.

Additional information: Participation in this study will take around 30 minutes with your child. After participating, every child will receive a certificate of appreciation and a prize. If you have any further questions about this study, please call our office on 3365 6323 or send me an email  

(2.5 to 5 years) Uncertainty in Young Children

Name of researcher: Shalini Gautam

Age: 2.5- 5 years

Description of study: This study explores when children are able to use reason in uncertain situations. A snake puppet hides stickers under four boxes, and children are given varying information about where the sticker is not. Children can then use this information to reason logically about where the sticker is likely to be.

Additional information: This study takes a total of 10 minutes, and all children receive a certificate and a prize upon completion of the task. If you have any further questions, please email

(4 to 5 years) Children’s prosocial behaviour in the face of inequality

Name of Researcher: Kelly Kirkland
Age range of infants required for your study: 4 to 5 year olds
Description of study: Young children are often influenced by what is occurring in their surrounding environment when choosing to engage in prosocial behaviours. By age four, children can recognise when resources are unequal and react accordingly. Recent research has shown that factors such as economic inequality and socioeconomic status can change prosocial behaviours in adults. This study involves presenting your child with a competition where they will have a number of opportunities to receive prizes. This is done in a fun and interactive way alongside several puppet competitors. We are primarily interested in how your child may behave depending on the number of prizes they receive and the division of prizes amongst the puppet competitors. After this competition, your child will engage in a prosocial task, as well as tasks to better understand how your child makes sense of the world around them in response to this competition. The results of this research will further our understanding of the impact that everyday societal inequalities can have on the wider community. This study is specifically designed to be ethical, fun and child-friendly.
Additional information: This experiment takes 30-45 minutes to complete. You will be in the same room as your child at all times – but we do ask that you don’t help or encourage your child throughout! We are interested in how children behave on their own terms. If you have any further questions about this study, please call our office on 3365 6323 or send me an email (

(4 to 5 years) Does behaving generously affect children’s future behaviour?

Name of Reseacher:  Sophie Cameron

Age of children required: 4-5 year-olds

Description of Study: It’s well established that adult’s previous behaviour can affect their future behaviour. Sometimes good deeds prompt future similar acts, other times they license misbehaviour as they are thought to ‘balance out’. We are investigating whether this also occurs in children.

Children play a series of games with a puppet, during which they may have the opportunity to help the puppet finish the game. We then play a second game in the next room. We are interested to see if their behaviour on this game changes based on the circumstances of the first half of the study.

Additional Information: The experiment takes 20-30 minutes. For the second half of the study the child must be in the room alone, but you can still observe through the use of a one-way mirror! If there are any further questions about this study please email Sophie Cameron or call our office on 3365-6323

(4 to 6 years) Children's normative learning in tool use

Name of Researcher: Frankie Fong

Age range of children required for the study: 4 to 6 years old.

Description of study:

Different cultural groups develop a vast diversity of problem solving methods that are suited to their living environment and style. When we move to a new environment or cultural group, we may change our usual ways of doing things and trouble ourselves to learn the normative ways (which everyone uses) of the new group. Some hints come from previous research, which has shown that children will involve high-fidelity imitation and adherence/enforcement of normativity in their learning. However, there are instances when the motivation of instrumental functionality is stronger than social motivation to conform with our own group. What I am aiming to investigate is whether children will adopt and learn a normative way of completing a task in a novel setting, or select a more efficient and less effortful way that is readily available.

Additional information: This experiment takes 10-15 minutes. Children will get to watch some demonstrations of tool use and attempt to retrieve stickers out of two apparatuses. If there are any further questions about this study, please call our office on 3365 6323.