Project 1: Birth Cohort IKIDS: Illinois Kids Development Study

A Research Partnership with Carle Foundation Hospital, Christie Clinic, Presence Medical Center,
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Brigham
and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School

IKIDS Study Timeline

7-8 Months of Age

Infants return to our research lab and are tested in 2 cognitive tasks.  At this age their brain electrical activity is also assessed.  More details about the tasks and measures are given below.

Memory and Attention Task

Memory and Attention Task


Their memory for faces is assessed in a task similar to the one they were given at birth.  They sit on their caregiver’s lap and watch pairs of black and white photos of faces on a computer screen (A).  A hidden camera (B) records the infant’s face during this task.  Infants' eye movements are tracked by a hidden observer and an eye tracker. 

7 - 8 month old memory test

Blocks of Trials

Infants watch several blocks of trials. In each block, the infant is first familiarized to two identical photos (A), and then the familiar photo is paired with a novel one (B).  The time they look at each photo is measured.

We want to see whether performance in this task (attention to and memory for the faces) is affected by prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

testing Examples

Social Reasoning Task

Social Reasoning Task

Infants will also be given a task that measures their sensitivity to other people's thoughts and perspectives. In this task, developed by Kovacs, Teglas and Endress (2010), infants watch two videos involving a cartoon character and a ball that rolls to different locations.  In one of the videos, the character sees the final destination of the ball.  But in the other video, the character believes the ball is in a different place.  Kovacs and colleagues found that 7-month-old infants were more interested in the video when the character had a false belief about the ball's final location.  Adults also look longer at the same video.  The authors concluded that young infants found this video more engaging because they could take into account the character's thoughts and beliefs. 


More details about this research can be found at:


We are developing our own videos of Kovacs and colleagues' task.  We are interested in seeing whether prenatal exposure to EDCs impacts infants' ability to reason about others' mental states.

Event Related Potentials (ERP) Measures
At 7-8 months of age, infants will be invited for a second visit to Daniel Hyde's lab. Their brain's electrical responses (ERPs) will be measured as they are given memory and attention tasks that display images and animated videos on a computer screen. We will examine whether prenatal exposure to EDCs leads to differences in the pattern of ERP responses.