9th November 2005




Researchers at the University of Lincoln are appealing for parents with babies and young children to take part in a study looking at the early stages of language development.


The Lincoln Babylab is a research unit in the Psychology Department of the University of Lincoln where babies and their parents take part in ongoing infant development studies looking at how babies learn to speak.


The studies involve the children sitting on their parent’s lap whilst watching images or video clips on a large screen. The researchers then measure what the children understand by video-taping their eye movements.


Senior lecturer in Psychology Dr Kerstin Meints said: “We are trying to answer questions such as: what do babies know about the world? How do they think? And how do they learn to talk?


“As words are not learned in a vacuum, we are especially interested in finding out how the acquisition of these and other words ties in with children's categorisation skills. What is going on in babies' minds when they show evidence for understanding the word ‘bird’? Is the word connected to all birds or only the bird they saw once such as their grandmother's canary?


“All these efforts bring us closer to finding out about how thinking and language develop. You might be surprised to learn how much your child already knows!”


Sessions last between 30 minutes and an hour with only two to four minutes’ ‘testing’ for the looking studies and about 15 minutes for play studies.


Dr Meints added: “In the past both parents and children have enjoyed their visit to the Babylab. We really appreciate parents’ support with our studies and as a thank-you for their participation we offer the children a Babylab t-shirt.”


If you have a child aged between five months and 28 months and are interested in taking part you can contact Dr Kerstin Meints on 01522 886481 or email babylab@lincoln.ac.uk.


For more information contact:

Kate Strawson, Assistant Press Officer

(01522) 886244

Visit our news web pages:      www.lincoln.ac.uk/news/latestnews.htm