Our Research

A typical session

For most of our studies, the actual session lasts only about 10 minutes. However, we typically schedule 30 minute appointments to make sure your child feels comfortable and we can answer any questions you have. We use several different methods depending on the goal of the study and the age of your child. In all of these studies, we will stop the session if your child becomes fussy or disinterested, or if you wish to stop for any reason at all. But this rarely happens because all of our studies are designed to be fun and engaging for young children.

The looking-while-listening procedure

In this type of study your child looks at pictures while listening to speech naming one of the pictures. We videotape your child's gaze patterns for later frame-by-frame coding. By monitoring eye movements in response to speech, we can learn a lot about the time course of spoken language comprehension in very young children.

Language and games

Language is learned in an interactive setting. For older children, we sometimes use puppets and picture books to find out what children understand and how they put their thoughts into words. We might also play problem-solving games with blocks or other toys to see how language skills relate to the development of thinking or reasoning.

Natural language samples

To learn more about how children learn to talk, we want to hear the speech they hear in their daily lives. To do this, we might ask you to play with your child with some toys in our laboratory playroom. Or, we may ask you to audio-record a typical day in your child’s life, using a recorder that we lend you.

Thank you for your contribution to our research!

As a token of our gratitude for your contribution to research on early development, you will receive a Certificate of Appreciation. Your child can also choose a special gift to take home, such as a Stanford t-shirt or a book.