Current Studies

Infant Study:

We are currently recruiting 10- to-24-month-olds for an in-person research study on how motor skills and language abilities are related. You will be with your child the entire time. We will show some toys to your child, play with them, name them several times, and then hide them in either an easy to get location or a less accessible location. We will then ask your baby to find the toys. We are interested in how babies react to names of easily accessible objects and harder to get to objects. 

Social Motivation Study:

Children ages 4 to 6 years old are invited to participate in an in-person research study on how young children learn words. In this study we are interested in learning more about children’s questions about new words.

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In both kinds of studies a main goal is to find out what kinds of non-language skills might support infants’ and children’s understanding of language. For infants, we ask whether their ability to hold things in mind helps them figure out what people are talking about when the people or objects that are discussed are not present. For preschoolers, we ask whether their use of questions helps them learn words.

Our studies have previously involved a one-time, hour long visit to our child playroom on Vanderbilt’s Peabody campus, where parents remain in the testing room with children the entire time.

Our studies are designed to be enjoyable for infants and children. During the study, we might try to teach a child some new words or ask him or her to find hidden objects. We learn about how children learn words from how they respond to our questions.

Our study is designed for children who are English-speaking, monolingual (speak only one language at home) and hearing. Children who have hearing loss, vision loss, developmental diagnoses, or speech/language delays will not be able to participate in the study. Your child will receive a small toy or book as a thank you for your participation!

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If you are interested in participating in our studies or finding out more about our research please call us at (615) 343-8721 or email us at