Studies

Oxford Brookes Babylab

Current Studies

The BabyWordTracker app allows you to monitor your baby's vocabulary whilst also helping science!

Download the app from the App Store (Apple iOS)

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Understanding How Bilingual Infants Learn Words

Have you ever wondered how bilingual babies learn two languages at the same time?

At the BabyLab, we run lots of studies to find out! We will be looking at early word understanding to the more complex techniques that bilingual babies use to learn language.

Are you raising your child bilingually? Check out our bilingualism section or register to take part!

Who Are We Looking For?

At the Oxford Brookes BabyLab, we are always looking for more participants to help us answer our research questions!

Whilst the BabyLab is currently closed, you can still register an interest in taking part in the future or our online studies here.

What are we looking at?

In this online study, we investigate how the measures of quarantine and social distancing implemented by the government affect development in infants aged between 8 and 36 months. This longitudinal study involves you as a parent/guardian completing a series of questionnaires about your child's development and vocabulary.

We are currently analysing the results of this study!

Statistical Word Learning in Monolingual and Bilingual Infants

What are we looking at?

We are investigating whether bilingual babies are better at learning words from two made-up languages compared to monolinguals.

Who are we looking for?

8-to-15 month old monolingual and bilingual infants and their parents!

Development of the Mutual Exclusivity Bias in Bilingual Infants

What are we looking at?

We explore bilingual infants' ability to use the mutual exclusivity bias to learn new words. This is a word learning tool that relies upon the assumption that each object can only have one name. For example, if a child saw a familiar and an unfamiliar object and were then asked to “Look at the dax”, they would be more likely to look at the unfamiliar object as they know that a ball is called “ball” so cannot be a “dax”.

Who are we looking for?

22-to-25 month old bilingual infants.

Accent Perception in Monolingual and Bilingual Infants

What are we looking at?

In this study, we explore monolingual and bilingual infants' ability to recognise newly learned words when spoken by individuals with very different accents.

Who are we looking for?

8-9, 12-13, 17-18 and 23-24 month old monolingual and bilingual infants.

Bilingual Infants' Sensitivity to Mispronounced Words

What are we looking at?

We are investigating monolingual and bilingual toddlers' responses to mispronounced words.

Who are we looking for?

24-to-27 month old toddlers who hear English and one of the following languages: Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese or Spanish.

Bilingual Infants' Word Recognition

What are we looking at?

In this study, we explore when bilingual infants start understanding their first words.

Who are we looking for?

6-to-12 month old bilingual infants.

Infants' Understanding of Adjectives

What are we looking at?

In this study, we explore another area of abstract word learning: adjectives! Here we look at when babies are able to understand descriptive words, such as, hot, cold, gentle and rough.

Who are we looking for?

8-to-18 month old monolingual infants.

Early Walker or Early Talker

What are we looking at?

"Is your child an early walker or an early talker?" These two abilities are often assumed to develop separately meaning that your baby will either be an early walker or an early talker. We are exploring whether this is really the case or these abilities develop at the same time!

Who are we looking for?

8 to 15 month old monolingual infants.

Infants' Understanding of Prepositions

What are we looking at?

Previous research has often focused on the age when babies learn nouns (e.g. milk, bottle, dummy); however, relatively little is known about their understanding of more abstract concepts. In this study, we explore infants' understanding of prepositions - the connecting words which describe relationships between nouns.

Who are we looking for?

10-to-18 month old monolingual infants.

Infants' Understanding of Emotion Words

What are we looking at?

In this study, we explored the age at which infants begin to understand basic emotion words (angry, happy, sad, scared, surprised).

Who are we looking for?

8-to-15-month-old bilingual infants

Infants' Understanding of Question Words

What are we looking at?

In this study, we investigated whether infants are able to understand that "what" typically refers to objects, whilst "who" refers to people. We also looked at whether infants' perceived animals to be either a "what" or a "who".

We are currently analysing the results of this study!

Investigating the Role of Familiar Voices in Word Recognition

What are we looking at?

We investigated whether infants would recognise more words when they were spoken by a familiar voice (i.e. their primary caregiver) than when heard by an unfamiliar voice (i.e. the researcher). We also explored whether there would be a difference in responses to recorded voices versus someone speaking live.

We are currently analysing the results of this study!

Gaze Following in Bilingual and Monolingual Infants

In this study, we investigated we compared monolingual and bilingual infants ability to follow another's gaze (i.e. look where they are looking).

This study is part of a multi-lab project testing infants in 11 labs in 8 countries!

We are currently analysing the results of this study!

Early Language Acquisition in Preterm and Full-term Infants

In this study, we compared how babies born preterm and full-term are able to learn the sounds of their language and the rules applying to those sounds.

We are currently analysing the results of this study!

Infants' Ability to Learn Novel Words

We explored whether there are some words that are easier to learn than others based on the way they sound.

We are currently analysing the results of this study!


Previous Studies

In this study, we explored whether babies have a preference for the way adults speak to them called "baby talk". This study is part of a multi-lab project testing 2,329 infants in 67 labs in 16 countries!

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In this study, we investigated whether children make use of this 'social consensus' cue and how this awareness develops between the ages of 3, 4 and 5 years of age.

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Health visitors are on the front line for identifying possible problems in mother-infant relationships so it is important that their evaluations are as accurate as possible. Mothers and babies were invited to the BabyLab where their interactions were observed and video-recorded. Health visitors were then invited to rate the quality of the interactions and their ratings were compared with objective ratings made by the researchers using a standardised scoring system.

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Children's intuitions about the relationship between real and cartoon people and real and cartoon worlds were explored. We were interested in finding out whether children think that cartoon people can interact in the real world and vice versa or do they think that each world should be separate?

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Previous research has shown that children actively evaluate the reliability of spoken information, however relatively little is known about how children evaluate written information. Once a child learns to read, written sources present a large opportunity to learn new information, although this is not always reliable, especially with the availability of information on the internet.

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