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Natasa goes to Japan!

In mid-April 2019 Natasa Ganea, a PhD student in Goldsmiths InfantLab, will be going to Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan for 6 weeks.  Thanks to funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, she will have the chance to run a rare cross-cultural study on what babies know about gender.

About the study

Natasa wants to find out how babies perceive the gender of faces and voices. Infants will watch videos showing a woman and a man speaking in synchrony, side-by-side. As the infants watch the videos, they will hear a single female or male voice in the background. Natasa wants to know if they will match the gender of the voice to the correct face. She also wants to know if this is harder for faces of a different culture.

A Japanese woman and man with a speech bubble

Will babies match the gender of the voice they hear to one of two faces on the screen?

Some infants will watch pairs of Caucasian-British speakers reading in English. Other infants will watch pairs of Asian-Japanese speakers reading in Japanese. Natasa predicts the task will be easier with faces from their native Japanese culture. When Natasa returns to the UK she will run the same study with British babies. She expects the pattern to reverse.

This is the final study of Natasa’s PhD which is all about how babies combine information from different senses to understand the world.

This is also the second collaboration between Chuo University and Goldsmiths InfantLab. Between 2016 to 2018, Jiale Yang a researcher from Chuo University visited Goldsmith’s InfantLab. Jiale and other members of the Yamaguchi Lab will help Natasa conduct the study.

By Catherine Zhao, 9 April 2019

Babies teach Developmental Psychology class

On Friday January 25th a mum and two babies (9 months and 23 months) visited our BSc Psychology 2nd year class in Developmental Psychology. The babies played games that are designed to show how they are learning new skills. We performed aspects of standardized tests called the Mullen Scales of Early Learning.

A special thank you to Claire and her children for helping with this class and to our PhD student Natasa for playing all of the games! Check out the videos below of the babies time in class!

In the second video Claire explains her choice to raise her children gender neutral. This discussion begins at around the 29 minute mark.

The Mullen Scales are a set of games that each focus on a different area: Gross Motor (standing, walking, crawling), Visual Reception (matching objects, noticing the difference between objects) Fine Motor (picking things up, building things from toys), Expressive Language (how babies express themselves through language) and Receptive Language (language understanding). These tasks attempt to assess the cognitive and motor abilities of children (specifically from 2 months to 45 months) and is generally used for seeing if children are intellectually ready to go to attend school.

Multisensory Perception of Looming and Receding Objects in Human Newborns

Our former members, Dr. Giulia Orioli and Professor Andy Bremner, have recently published a paper on babies being able to make sense of multisensory cue combinations specifying motion within hours of being born. Congratulations Giulia and Andy!

Young Babies Don’t Experience Tickles The Way You Think They Do

Research from our lab shows that when you tickle the toes of a newborn baby, the experience for them isn’t as quite as you imagined it would be. We investigated how babies perceive touches in relation to their own bodies.

Baby in experiment