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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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.

 

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Testing update

[By: Linda]

In this blog post, I thought it would be nice to look back at the past six months. It has been a hectic but fun time. Every day I was lucky enough to work with cute little three-month-old infants. Although there were moments that were not as much fun, such as smelling like baby spit up almost every single day, I really enjoyed the testing period.

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On the importance of MOTION

[By: Iara de Almeida]

This is July 2019. By now all of us ESR’s have been PhD candidates at our universities for 9 months, we are at the brink of our careers. One foot in, but still rubbing our eyes to make sure it is indeed true. All is new and wonderful. Every setback is a challenge to be conquered. But, when the day ends and the “dragons” of MATLAB or Python or Experimental Design are put down and work to our advantage, who are we but just a couple of young adults – kids, let’s face it – trying to make it in Research. This idea of balance has troubled me since the start.

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