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Current Research

The iLEAP research group is currently recruiting participants for three exciting projects!

Differential Perception of Auditory and Visual Aspects of Positive and Negative Emotion Expressions in 7- to 10-Month-Old Infants

Beginning Fall 2016, we are recruiting 7- to 10-month-old infants.  We are interested in their ability to discriminate a change in an emotion expression when just the face changes, just the voice changes, or when both the face and voice change.  Infant either gets familiarized with a happy speaker or a fearful speaker, and then gets to see various combinations of changes. We offer $10 compensation for participation.

We make appointments 7 days a week to maximize your convenience: morning, afternoon, evening, and on weekends!  We offer convenient parking near our building and child care for older siblings if you would like to bring them along.  Please contact us at (540) 231-3972, or iLEAP@vt.edu for more information.  Please join us for some fun!

[IRB 16-812]

 

Social and Nonsocial Priming Effects on 12- to 15-Month- Olds’ Preferences for Infant-Directed Speech

Beginning Fall 2017, we are recruiting 12- to 15-month-old infants.  We are interested in how infants' processing normal speech that they hear from caretakers (called "infant-directed speech") is affected by cues that influence their attention (for example, a smiling female saying "Hi Baby" versus a colorful shape and music).  We offer $10 compensation for participation.

We make appointments 7 days a week to maximize your convenience: morning, afternoon, evening, and on weekends!  We offer convenient parking near our building and child care for older siblings if you would like to bring them along.  Please contact us at (540) 231-3972, or iLEAP@vt.edu for more information.  Please join us for some fun!

[IRB 17-575]

 

Learning Trajectories Toward Cognitive, Social, and Language Outcomes in Low- and High-Risk Infants

During infancy and early childhood, learning abilities emerge in a variety of domains.  For example, infants are capable of extracting regularities from various streams of information (statistical learning), are sensitive to response-dependencies between their own actions and the consequences that such actions bring about (contingency learning), and are typically motivated by opportunities for social engagement and interactions (social learning).  While difficulties in one of these domains can be associated with atypical developmental outcomes (e.g., low social learning and autism), we know very little about their combination in individual infants, their reliability and compensatory relations within infants across age, or their predictive validity of generalized and diffuse learning deficits in young toddlers (e.g., specific language impairment).

We are initiating a longitudinal study of infants and children at the following ages: 3-mo, 6-mo, 9-mo, 12-mo, 14-mo, 18-mo, and 24-mo. Infants will experience a variety of fun, colorful learning tasks at each age.  We will present these tasks on an eye tracker and also record their brain activity and heart rates while they learn different kinds of relationships on the screen.  These measures will give us information about where and how they look and how well they pay attention during learning.  We want to establish the reliability and validity of learning trajectories throughout the first two postnatal years and look at their relationships to various cognitive, social, and language outcome measures.