Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lab Rats

I pre-paid my (soon-to-be) debt to the research community today. (This is important because I have to collect data for my dissertation research in February, so I need good Karma).

I took my son to participate in an infant perception study at the Infant Cognition Laboratory. Yes, he became a little guinea pig.

(sorry if this is a little disturbing, it is meant to be funny----- and yes, I realize that there is a fine line between disturbing and funny and I am not sure which side this ends up on--the real problem is that I don't know how to use photoshop..... which makes sense, because I don't have photoshop)


It was a study to determine at what age infants can perceive number. On a screen, they showed a long series of objects in pairs (two red cars, two rabbits, two watches, two boats, two trees) randomly ordered, repeated etc. Then towards the end (it all took about 3 minutes) they showed objects in threes. They videotaped the session to see if he looked longer at three objects than at two objects.

I am no infant cognition specialist, but my own intuition, after watching Nico watch the screen, is that he was much more interested in objects with bright colors (i.e. the red cars) than the watches (YAWN!) or the brown trees (BO---RING!)

I think we can safely say that, as fascinating as numbers are, THREE brown trees are NOT more interesting than TWO brown trees.

They’ll have to shake it up a little more, if you ask me.

1 comment:

Aly @ Lip Zip said...

Interesting study! I like the photo of your little guinea pig. I think it's funny and not disturbing. It's not like your little guy was hooked up to electrodes in a giant test tube like you would see in a sci fi film. Very cute post!