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

She's surprised!

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 6 - 8



In this study, we ask how children figure out who is good at what. In particular, we would like to know whether they use emotional reactions, like surprise, to learn about the abilities of other people. For instance, if a teacher expresses surprise at a student winning a game, what do children make of this?

Children will meet lots of students who are doing some activities out on the playground and in the classroom. Their teacher watches them - sometimes she’s surprised at how the students do, and sometimes she’s not surprised. We will ask children questions about the students’ abilities for the different activities.

We hope to understand how children think about their own and others’ abilities, and whether the emotions of others are a key part of that reasoning process.


Test

Inferring Competence

Social Learning Lab


Ages: 4 - 8



What does it mean to be “more skilled” than someone else? Do children think it means being faster at completing a goal? Or making something more complicated? In this activity, children will watch a video of two people building blocks and then they will get to choose which person is better at building! After that, they will be able to choose between two horses to send to a race!


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

A planet far, far away!

The Markman Lab


Ages: 5 - 8



In this study, we’ll read a story introducing children to a new planet and some aliens they’ve never seen before. These aliens go to school and learn how to read, just like us! Then, we ask children for their opinions on the different kids who go to school on the planet. There are no right or wrong answers, we really want to know what children think!


Test

Semantic Adaptation

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: 2 - 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: 7 - 8



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

Storybook: Activity

The Markman Lab


Ages: 5 - 6



How can we encourage young girls to pursue activities related to fields in which women have been historically underrepresented (e.g. science)? Recently there has been an explosion of storybooks about historical female role models intended to inspire young female readers. In this study, we’re interested in evaluating how effective different elements of those storybooks are in motivating girls to pursue activities related to these fields. In a typical study from this project, we read select examples of actual best-selling storybooks to 5 and 6 year old children, and ask them questions about which activities they like to do and what activities a third-party character likes to do.


Test

Toy Drop

Language & Cognition Lab


Ages: 4 - 5



Help us make decisions about which shapes to include in a new set of toys for kids, to make them the most fun!


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.