3 things to know about this brain cap (or EEG, or electroencephalogram)

[By: Sayaka Fujita]

When visiting our babylab in Lancaster, some people say, “I’m here to do a study with a cap like a jellyfish”. Then I know they are here for my study. Yes, I use this jellyfish cap, called EEG (or electroencephalogram, to be more precise), to monitor baby’s brain activity.

A cap which monitors brain activity sounds cool – but what exactly does it do? When was it invented, by whom, and what can it tell us? In this month’s blog, I’ll talk about three things about EEG, as well as three reasons we should be bothered to measure brain activities despite all the challenges to get good data from cheeky little ones.

Read more3 things to know about this brain cap (or EEG, or electroencephalogram)

Study Update – Prosocial Development preliminary findings

[By: Victoria Licht]

For almost a year now I have been working on a study looking at prosociality in infants, specifically the development and their degree of understanding within it. At a young age, 3 months old, infants already display a strong preference for prosocial individuals over antisocial ones (Hamlin et al., 2007; Hamlin & Wynn, 2011). In this study we are investigating the role of individual differences in promoting and shaping understanding of prosocial and antisocial events. We evaluated 5 to 6-month-old infants in their ability to discriminate and prefer prosocial over antisocial individuals using several different methods ERP/EEG, behavioral measures (looking times and manual choice task), and we investigated through questionnaires whether temperament (Rothbart, 1981) and attachment (Condon et al., 2008) styles would affect the emergence of this ability. In total 26 infants were tested and analyzed in the behavioral measures; 7 infants achieved the sufficient number of trails per condition to be included in the ERP analysis.

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Baby comedians, grown-up clowns

[By: Pinelopi Bounia Mastrogianni]

Our adult, (not always) sophisticated sense of humour might involve laughing at Epic-Cat-Fails videos on the internet or at very bad puns, but do you remember that period when the re-appearance of mum’s face with a “peek-a-boo” was the best joke in the world? Probably not, but it was a fascinating one! Babies start laughing before they start to crawl, walk or talk and, before long, they start producing their very own non-verbal jokes to make people around them laugh. They start smiling at their first month and they laugh for the first time around 4-5 months of age, while they begin a humorous interaction by their 7-8 months. This very early adorable behaviour is proposedly connected to general cognitive development, as well as to the quality of the bond between infants and their caregivers – thus researchers have tried to describe the different ways infants joke and, mainly, what are the things they find amusing.

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Training school in Gothenburg

[By: Clément Dardenne]

From Monday 14th October to Friday 18th 2019, the ESRs (Early Stage Researchers) of the MOTION project gathered in Gothenburg for the last training school of 2019. My company, Smart Eye, was in charge of hosting the event, and I wanted to start this blog article by thanking Karin Persson and Jörgen Thaung for their devotion and the awesome organization of this week.

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Replication Crisis in Psychology Research: Who’s to Blame for?

[By: Umay Șen]

As a part of my PhD program, I am attending a lot of classes besides doing research. Recently, I took the course on Bayesian Statistics and had a lot of chance to compare Bayesian approach to data and statistical analysis to the frequentist approach which is/was more common in the field. This course made me get a critical perspective to the frequentist approach which is one of the most common practices in Psychology when you deal with the data. In this blog post, I would like to share some basic ideas of Bayesian approach and discuss it in relation to the replication crisis in Psychology.

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Sharing our research

[By: Joanna Rutkowska]

As ESRs in MOTION, funded by the European Union, we have a duty to disseminate our research findings as much as possible. There are several ways of doing so, and different audiences that we can present to. Firstly, one can present the research to the lawmakers and politicians in hopes of influencing future policies and governmental plans. Unfortunately, only few of the scientists are ever invited to do so, and they are definitely not PhD candidates, but rather respectable professors! Secondly, one can present their research to the (wider) public – everyone from parents to children themselves. I believe this is the best way to get everyone interested in research and try to make a change on a societal level bottom-up.

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Learning is a fundamental activity for children (and for ESRs as well!)

[By: Valentina Barone]

By the time you are hired as a researcher everyone expects you to be an expert. There’s no way you would get that position if you weren’t smart enough, right? Researchers – also the early stage ones – are supposed to show a high level of expertise and trustworthiness, associated with multiple skills like initiative and independence. A self-standing person who is able to dive into the intricate ocean of science and who can return to the surface with extraordinary results to share with the mainland. It sounds so fancy and respectful to read the initials “PhD” beside someone’s name. “Yes, I must definitely own enough competence if I got to this point, as a PhD candidate I am part of an intellectual élite after all”. This is what I sometimes tell myself in one of the rare excess of self-esteem I have.

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Mum, is this cliff safe to climb?

[By: Julia Mermier]

In 1960, Gibson and Walk came up with a brilliant idea to investigate depth perception in infants. They built this “visual cliff” apparatus, consisting in a checkerboard cloth covered by a Plexiglas board on which the infant could crawl.  On one side of the apparatus, the cloth was positioned right below the transparent board, while on the other side, the cloth was placed 1.2m deeper, giving the illusion of depth.

 

Read moreMum, is this cliff safe to climb?