Stanford Developmental Labs


List of Current Studies



These studies are conducted by Stanford Developmental Labs:
Social Learning Lab
, Language & Cognition Lab,
The Markman Lab
, & The Social Concepts Lab .

To participate, click HERE to sign up for an appointment.


Test

Why did you say that?

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 4 - 6



When teachers or parents say things like “that tracing is great!”, what do children actually think that means? In this study, we are asking how children respond to feedback depending on who it is coming from. For instance, do they understand that some people may always give praise no matter the quality of the work and that others may be a bit stingier?

In this short activity, children will watch videos of teachers providing praise to a student. Then, they will give advice to other students about which teacher to show their work to!

We are excited to see what decisions children make in this activity! We hope this work sheds light on how children understand the praise that they receive from others and whose feedback they seek out.



Test

Who knows better?

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 3 - 5



We want to know how children reason about what others know based on the effects of their communication. Children will watch videos of “wubs” (puppets) trying to figure out how a toy works and communicate with each other. After the video we will ask which wub knows how the toy works!



Test

Noisy Questions

Social Learning Lab / Language & Cognition Lab


Ages: 3 - 5



Do children understand that noise can prevent someone from understanding speech? In this study, we show children short video clips of a teacher and her student who wants to learn about some cool new toys in the class. But because the classroom is noisy, it can be hard for the students to hear what the teacher is saying. We are curious if children infer that the student might not understand everything the teacher says.



Test

Storybook

The Markman Lab


Ages: 5 - 6



How can we inspire and motivate girls to achieve and pursue fields in which they have been historically underrepresented (e.g. science)? Recently, there has been an explosion of well-intentioned efforts to address this question. In particular there is a growing market of storybooks about historical female role models intended to inspire and motivate young female readers.

In this study, we’re interested in evaluating how effective different elements of these storybooks are in motivating girls to actually pursue these fields. In a typical study from this project, we read select excerpts of actual best-selling storybooks to 5 and 6 year old children, and ask them questions about their own motivation and a third-party’s motivation to pursue a certain field or career.



Test

Mr. Bear's Candy

Language & Cognition Lab


Ages: 4 - 5



In this activity, children will meet a cartoon bear, Mr. Bear, and his friends in the forest. They will hear a story and answer questions about what they think Mr. Bear will say. The goal of this research activity is to learn about the predictions children make about what speakers will say and what will affect these predictions.



Test

Asking for a snack!

Language & Cognition Lab


Ages: 3 - 4



How do children perceive the way people speak to each other? In this activity, your child will watch an animation in which characters ask for and eat yummy snacks! After the animation, we will ask your child a couple of questions about the characters. The goal of this study is to discover how children form opinions about others during social interactions.



Test

Maggie's New Toys

Language & Cognition Lab


Ages: 3 - 5



In this activity, children are introduced to a new friend, Maggie. Maggie will show children some of her new toys and their silly names. Then, children will guess the names of Maggie’s new toys. Sometimes Maggie’s classroom is noisy and sometimes Maggie’s classroom is quiet. The purpose of this study is to understand children’s word learning in sometimes noisy places.



Test

Space Adventure

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 6 - 7



Come meet the friendly aliens and their teacher! In this study, children will hear a story about a teacher who watches her students as they play different games. Sometimes she’s surprised and sometimes she’s not surprised about how her students do. We hope to understand how children use the teacher’s emotions of others to learn about others! There are no right or wrong answers in this game - we just want to know what children think!



Test

Meet the Vovies!

The Social Concepts Lab


Ages: 4 - 5



How do children think about groups? In this study, your child will meet some creatures from another planet called Vovies. Then they’ll be told a bit about two groups of Vovies, and we’ll ask your child what they think of the Vovies!



Test

Snap, Hop, Whistle!

The Markman Lab


Ages: 5 - 6



How does the language we use in everyday life shape children's beliefs about social categories? In this activity, children will learn about some characters and how they play! Then, children will answer some questions about the characters and their games. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects that statements of equality have on how children see the world!



Test

Race the Bee!

Language & Cognition Lab


Ages: 4



*Tablet required; no appointment needed*

In this study, your child will independently play a tablet game that teaches letter and number recognition. In the game, your child will hear the name of a letter or number and choose the flower with the right answer. If they miss, they can try again — this time, racing a helper bee that flies toward the correct answer! The goal of this study is to investigate how children direct their own learning. There is no need to make an appointment for the study — just click for info on downloading the app on your iPad or Android tablet



Test

What can aliens eat?

The Markman Lab


Ages: 5 - 8



Why are there differences between groups of people? For example, why do different social groups eat different kinds of foods? We can imagine this might be because of some biological, cultural, or structural reason. Importantly, what we take to be the underlying reason may lead us to different ideas about how members of a group behave and should behave. In this study, children learn about groups of aliens who eat different kinds of berries. We give children different reasons why a group eats a certain kind of berry, and see how that shifts their attitudes about what the aliens eat and should eat. This study can help us understand the importance of how we think about the cause of group differences from an early age.



Test

Alexa, are you human?

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 3 - 6



How do children (age 3-6) think about "smart" technology (e.g., Siri or Alexa)? Do children think it's a machine or a human? In a 10 minute Zoom session, your child will watch a video of a boy named Simon interacting with an AI voice assistant and then draw what Simon interacted with. Will your child draw a person or a device? To participate, children need one blank sheet of white paper and a pencil, marker, or crayon to draw with.



Test

Let's go fishing!

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 3 - 5



How do children reason about the difficulty of a task? In our study, children will get to play a fishing game where they meet two different types of fish: red fish (which are easy to catch and require little effort) and yellow fish (which are hard to catch and require much more precision and/or help from another person). They will then be shown two ponds with different compositions of red and yellow fish and asked which one would be harder to fish all by yourself. We hope to better understand how children reason about task difficulty, especially when difficulty cannot be determined by visual complexity. This is important because assessing the difficulty of tasks helps us make decisions about how to allocate effort and time, as well as when cooperating with others is most helpful vs. when we can easily accomplish tasks on our own.



Test

What did she get?

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 12 - 17 months



What: In this study, we ask how babies use others’ emotional expressions to reason about the world. In particular, we would like to know whether babies use emotional expressions, like surprise, to infer what has happened. For instance, if someone makes a surprised face after randomly drawing a ball from a box that contains mostly red balls and only a few white balls, what will your baby think she got? A red ball or a white ball?

How: Your baby will watch some interesting videos in which someone randomly draws a ball from a box that contains mostly red balls and only a few white balls. Before revealing what she got to your baby, the person will first take a look at it and react to it with either a surprised or happy expression. We are interested in what your baby thinks she got by measuring how long your baby looks at the final outcome revealed to them following the emotional expression.



Test

Talk to your baby!

Language & Cognition Lab


Ages: 6 - 18 months



In this study, we look at how you interact with your baby. We will show you some pictures (e.g., colorful bubbles, stuffed animals, and food) and ask you to describe these pictures to your baby or an adult partner.



Test

What's that sound?

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 3 - 5



How do children combine different sources of information to understand what happened in the past? In this study, we will show children some animations of Elmo playing with a “Plinko Machine”. Children will see some animations and hear different sounds made in the box. We invite children to be little detectives and figure out what happened in the machine from what they see and hear!