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
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.
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).
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: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/04/science/04obbaby.html?_r=2&
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.