All of our current studies are actively recruiting. 

Please contact us if you are interested in participating ("Get Involved" Tab).


Adolescent Causal Reasoning

Question:


How the Game Works:

 

 

 

Ages:

How do adolescents reason about the causes of other people's actions and the causes of physical events in the world?

This study explores how older children and teens reason about the causes of other people's actions as well as the causes of physical events. In one game, your child will see two dolls interacting with some toys and will answer a series of questions about why the dolls are playing or not playing with particular toys. They will also participate in a game in which they will see different types of blocks activate a machine that lights up and plays music and will be asked what types of blocks make the machine go. If they are interested in helping out, your child will receive a $10 gift card afterward to thank them for participating!

12 - 14 year olds


Eggsploration

Question:


How the Game Works:

 

 



Ages:

How are children motivated by the potential to gain information as opposed to the potential to gain a reward? 

Children are shown two boxes full of colorful Easter eggs with stickers inside. After being told how many stickers are in each egg in the different boxes, children get to choose a box to play with. Sometimes, the boxes will have an equal number of stickers, and sometimes one box will have more stickers than the other. Additionally, one box might have the same number of stickers in all of the eggs, while the other box might have different numbers of stickers in different eggs. We're interested in how these factors affect which box children choose, as well as how many eggs (and which eggs) they open from that box.

8 year olds


Runners

Question:


How the Game Works:


Ages:

How do children select information when making multiple-cue inferences?

Children are presented with a game on a computer screen. They have to find out which kind of monster is faster, and to do that they have to find out what body characteristics (color/shape) makes monster fast by selecting pairs of monsters they want to see running.

7 year olds and adults


Optimism

Question: 

 

 

How the Game Works:

 

 

 

 

 



Ages:

Adults, particularly western adults, tend to be irrationally optimistic about what the future holds.  However, Japanese adults tend to not display similar levels of over-optimism.  Little research has been conducted with young children, particularly cross-cultural research. We are currently investigating the development of over-optimism in children in the U.S. and Peru.

In an egg version of this task, children are randomized into one of two conditions, an experimental and control condition. 

Children are shown a bag of eggs with two colors of eggs – blue eggs or yellow eggs.
They are shown that the eggs are composed primarily of only one of the colors (e.g. 8 of one color and 2 of the other color). 
They are asked to guess what color they will blindly select from the bag.

Experimental Condition:
Children are told that if they randomly draw the less probable color from the bag, they will receive a reward. 

Control Condition:
Children receive a reward regardless of which color egg they select from the bag.

4 - 10 year olds


DevMo

Question:

How the Game Works:



Ages:

Do children prefer stable or unstable causal relationships?

Children are presented with two toys that sometimes light up when they are placed on a special "machine". The children complete several tasks to figure out the patterns of activation for each toy, and then make guesses about how the toys would behave on a new machine.

4 - 7 year olds


ChEx

Question:


How the Game Works:



Ages:

Do children use information from explanations to make predictions under conditions of uncertainty?

Children learn about novel toys (for example, a toy that glows in the dark, or is sticky, or is bouncy). They are then asked to evaluate different explanations of why each toy is sticky/bouncy/glows in the dark, and make guesses about new toys hidden in boxes, based on some cues about their properties.

4-7 year olds


StrEx

Question:


How the Game Works:
 

 

Ages:

Can children take into account information about external constraints when explaining behavior of others?

Together with an experimenter, kids "read" an illustrated story about a school where boys and girls play different games in different classrooms. Kids are then asked to think about the reasons the students in each classroom might play each game, and to guess what game a student would play if she transferred from one classroom to another.

3 - 6 year olds


Free Will

Question:

 

How the Game Works:



 

Ages:

What are children’s beliefs about their own free will, and do these beliefs relate to corresponding self-control (e.g. if children believe that they can choose to not eat a cookie, can they actually refrain from eating a cookie)?

To measure children’s free will beliefs, children are asked a series of questions.  Children state if they can choose to do a variety or things, or not do a variety of things that are incongruent with their own desires.
To measure self-control and executive functioning, children may be asked to refrain from doing something they want to do, or do something they don’t want to do (such as not look at the experimenter while they wrap a surprise gift, or put away toys).

4 & 5 year olds


Theory Revision

Question:

How the Game Works:


Ages:

How much information do children need to revise their beliefs or theories? 

Children will be invited to play a game in which they will learn how a set of arbitrary toys work. They will then see that the toys work differently and afterwards will be asked to activate a new toy to demonstrate their understanding of how it works. 

4 & 5 year olds


Boxes

Question:


How the Game Works:



 

 

 

Ages:

Do children adapt their exploratory actions to different information structures of the environment?

Participants are presented with two big boxes, each containing two smaller boxes. The experimenter places an egg shaker in one of the small boxes, four times. In the uniform condition the experimenter always places the egg in a different small box; in the skewed condition she always places the egg in the same small box. After each placement, children are asked to retrieve the egg and use it to activate a light-up toy. Children are then demonstrated two actions that are useful to find out whether a big box contains the egg: Shake it (if the egg is in one of the two smaller boxes contained it would sound), or open the boxes. Test. The experimenter hides the egg in one of the small boxes. The child is then asked to find the egg, and is told that he can open only one of the big boxes. 

3 & 5 year olds 


Language, Culture, and Theories

Question:

How the Game Works:

 

 


Ages:

Does language or culture influence the theories that children entertain?

In this game, children are the scientists. They will play a game where certain combinations of blocks make a machine play music. After they've seen blocks that make the machine activate and others that don't, they get to choose new blocks to make the machine play. We find that children in the US and Korea often choose different kinds of blocks, and we're interested in whether specific differences in language or culture might lead children to prefer some theories (or types of blocks) over others.

3 – 4 year olds


Blicket Machines

Question:


How the Game Works:
 

 

 

 

Ages:

Can young children effectively reason about relations between objects?
 

This study explores toddler's relational reasoning abilities and understanding of abstract concepts such as the idea of “same” and “different”. The child will see various pairs of blocks placed on top of a box; when the pairs are the same the box will play music, when they are different it won’t.  After seeing this pattern, they are shown two trays with a pair of blocks on each that all look identical.  The child will then be told the “names” of each block; one pair having the same name (ie. “blicket” and “blicket”), and the other with different names (ie. “tib” and “dax”).  The child will then be asked to point to which tray they think have the blocks that will make the box play music.

18 - 30 month olds (1.5 - 2.5 year olds)