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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. 

(15-19 month olds) How bilingual children learn counting principles

Name of Researcher: Jon Redshaw

Age range of children required for the study: We are interested in testing children aged between 15 and 19 months, who are raised in a bilingual home.

Previous research shows that very young children prefer to listen to correct counting sequences (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) rather than incorrect sequences (e.g., 4, 2, 1, 3). Our project aims to establish whether children who are exposed to multiple languages develop this understanding earlier than monolingual children.

Additional information: Toddlers who often hear more than one language are welcome to participate.

 

(2 year-olds) Developmental of preferences for correct or incorrect counting

Name of Researcher: Jon Redshaw

Age range of infants required for your study: 2 years old

In this study we will invite children to press buttons that control videos portraying counting. One button activates a correct counting sequence, whereas the other activates counting that contains errors. We are interested to find out if at age 2, children can tell the difference.

Any additional information about your study (e.g. bilingualism/autism diagnosis etc.): We invite monolingual and bilingual children to participate.

(4 and 6 year-olds) Children’s understanding of supernatural beings

Name of Researchers: Rohan Kapitany, Karri Neldner and Mitchell Green

Age range of children required for this study: Children within three months of their 4th and 6th birthday.

Description of study: We are interested in observing how children’s behavior might change in relation to their understanding of whether they are being watched by another person or think they are alone. In this study, children will be read a story book about a very Friendly Professor, who has the special ability to see inside his testing room at all times.                                  

Children learn about the professor inside this room and then complete some fun science experiments and games of his. They may do so in the company of an experimenter, when alone in the room, or when the Friendly Professor is watching. It is yet unknown whether children will change their behaviour in response to a benevolent presence who is watching, but not physically present, within a room, and how this may differ to when a human experimenter is present in the room as well.

Additional information: This experiment takes 30-40 minutes. You will be able to observe your child at all times through the use of a one-way only mirror (although this needs to be kept a secret from your child until the end of the experiment!). If there are any further questions about this study, please call our office on 3365 6323.

 

(4 - 8 year-olds) Biological concepts in farm and city children

Name of Researcher: Sarah Longbottom

Age range of infants required for your study: 4 - 8 years old

Before children even begin attending school they have begun to develop an understanding about numerous biological concepts including what is inside the body, animals and their ecosystems, life and death, illness, and growth.

Previous research has shown that this knowledge can be influenced by children’s everyday experiences. For example, the child’s cultural group, the type and amount of contact they have with nature and animals, and how their parents talk to them, are all believed to influence children’s biological knowledge.

My project aims to compare farm and city children’s understanding of biological concepts, such as death and animal relations. I am also interested in the possible influences of children’s experiences, and parental communication about death, on the development of this knowledge.

Given that children go through a major shift in conceptual understanding between the ages of 5 and 7, we are recruiting children between 4 and 8 years, and their parents, to take part in this study. Parents will be asked to fill in a questionnaire about their children’s experiences and how they talk to their child about death, while children will be interviewed in person at the ECDC. No prior experience with death is required, although children who have experienced a recent loss (within 8-12 months) are not recommended.

(2 - 5 year-olds) Can young children solve a tool-based problem independently?

Name of Researcher: Karri Neldner
 
Age range of children required for this study: Children from 2 years old to 5 years old
 
Description of study: Young children often look to their parents and other adults to learn how to solve everyday problems. For example, children are often taught how to use common tools, such as toothbrushes, pencils and cups, from their parents. However, we want to examine the age at which children work out for themselves that a tool might be able to help them solve a problem. For this experiment, children will be given four different puzzle boxes. Each time these puzzle boxes contain a fun sticker or toy inside it. The puzzle box will be presented to the child alongside a tool that will need to be used in order to extract the reward. We want to see at what age children will reliably employ the tool to help them open the box, rather than just relying on their hands or body. This will give us insight into when children’s minds are beginning to assess the physical properties of a tool, and are capable of deciphering why it might be helpful to them.
 
Additional information: This experiment takes 10-15 minutes. You will be able to observe your child in the room at all times – but please don’t give them any hints on how to solve the problems! We really want to see what their minds are capable of, all on their own. If there are any further questions about this study, please call our office on 3365 6323.