Welcome to Harvard University’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies

Investigating how infants and children perceive and reason about the world around them

Why We Study Children

Children begin learning about the world and how it works from the moment they are born, and they rapidly acquire a wide variety of knowledge over the first years of their life. At Harvard's Laboratory for Developmental studies, we are interested in how this early learning happens and how it changes over time. By studying how children think and learn throughout development, we can gain a better understanding of how the adult mind works. Studying cognitive development also has practical applications, allowing parents and educators to help children learn better and helping create better interventions for children with developmental disorders.

Online Study Sessions

People on an online meeting Families meet with a member of our research team over zoom. We always start our sessions by explaining the study and answering parents’ questions.
participant Children sit on their parents’ lap, while we watch how they react to a fun video.
Matt Study Older children may be asked questions, make choices, or predict what will happen next!
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 9.39.50 PM Some of our studies involve human actors, puppets, or animated characters acting in fun and interesting ways!
New parent-exp question pic At the end of the session, parents can ask a member of our research team any questions that came up while their child participated.
Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 9.13.43 PM After the study, we will send you a $5 gift card code to show our appreciation for your support of our research.

Visiting the Lab

1 – mom getting the parking pass Baby Lucy and her mom arrive to the parking lot behind William James Hall. RA Olivia greets them with a parking pass.
2 – consenting mom 2 Researcher Tomer introduces himself and explains the study to Lucy's mom.
3 – baby playing and getting comfortable Lucy checks out some of our fun toys while she gets comfortable with Tomer and the lab!
4 – baby doing study Today, Lucy is participating in an eyetracking study. Her mom seats her in front of the eye tracker, which will monitor her looking patters while she watches a video. These patterns help us understand what Lucy is paying attention to!
5 – baby picking prize After she's done with the study, Lucy gets to pick out a prize to take home with her. See you next time!

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Our Studies Are Supported by Funds From:

National Institute of Child Health and Development

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is one of the National Institutes of Health in the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

National Science Foundation

NSF's mission is to advance the progress of science, a mission accomplished by funding proposals for research and education made by scientists, engineers, and educators from across the country.

John Templeton Foundation

Sir John Templeton lived in an era of unparalleled scientific and technological progress. The accelerating pace of scientific discovery led Sir John to wonder whether the methods of science might be harnessed to make similar progress in understanding the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind. Today, the Foundation that bears his name aspires to fulfill his vision — relentless curiosity in pursuit of infinite discovery.