Toy Room

Toy Room

Lab for the Developing Mind (New York University)

Who Can Participate

For babies between 8.5 and 9.5 or between 15.5 and 16.5 months of age (GAB >= 37 weeks). Because the study has a language component, there should be a native English speaker in the home, and your baby should hear at least 70% English.

What Happens

This study will take place on a video call, live with a researcher! Clicking on the “Participate Now!” button will send you to an online calendar where you can select a date and time that works for you.

In this study, your child will view a series of pictures that show an ambiguous figure with three different colored panels, and they will hear that figure labeled with a made-up noun. Then, your child will see sequential pairs of videos, half that show the figure as a room and half that show the figure as a toy. We’re interested in whether babies intuitively think that nouns refer to places or objects. Babies tend to look longer at things that they find more interesting or unexpected, so we will measure how long your child looks to each video to see if they are more surprised if the made-up noun refers to a place or an object.

What We're Studying

From very early on, we start naming different kinds of objects for our children, like spoons, bottles, or chairs. These names help children understand how words refer to concrete items that they encounter in everyday life. Do children instinctively think that these names refer to objects rather than layouts? This study aims to address this question. Babies hear lots of things labeled in everyday life. Learning about what babies instinctively expect noun labels to refer to will help us better understand how babies use what they hear to learn about what they see.


30 minute appointment (but we'll most likely finish in about 20 minutes)


After you finish the Zoom session, we will email you a $5 (USD) Amazon gift card (redeemable only at within approximately three business days. To be eligible for the gift card your child must be in the age range for this study and both you and your child must attend your Zoom appointment. We will send a gift card even if you do not finish the whole study or we are not able to use your child's data. Each eligible baby will receive only one gift card for participating. There are no other direct benefits to you or your child for participating, but we hope you will enjoy the experience.

This study is conducted by Yi Lin (contact:

Would you like to participate in this study?