Infant Cognition

So, funny thing, I actually don't believe in cognition. That said, most people would probably consider my dissertation research (the work that got me my Ph.D.) to have been a study of infant cognition. Ecological Psychology can turn things on its head though, so the confusion is understandable.


My infant cognition work has been on hold since I arrived at Altoona, as there is no space for a proper infant lab. At the University of California, Davis, I studied infant object permanence abilities using a looking-time paradigm (reported here). In the process of that work, I became deeply suspicious of the methodology, in which infants are shown displays and you measure how long they stare at them following different outcomes. In my work at Clark University, I tried to study looking as one might from an Animal Behavior perspective - it is a behavior constrained to serve multiple functions, and the role of each of those functions is worth studying. In particular, I examined the social function of looking in parent-infant interaction. The study (currently submitted) showed conclusively that infant looking affected parental behavior in a manner that had concrete consequences for the infant. At some point in the ambiguous future, Altoona will get more lab space for psychology, and I hope to restart that research.

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More to come.


 

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