Lookit is growing! We are now showing links to outside studies along with those happening here on Lookit. Use the tabs above to see activities you can do right now, or scheduled activities you can sign up for.

Please note you'll need a laptop or desktop computer (not a mobile device) running Chrome or Firefox to participate, unless a specific study says otherwise.

Where's The Ball?

Early Learning and Cognition Lab (University of California, San Diego)

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For 4-year-olds who speak English.

What happens

Your child will watch a video of a woman who will say hello and invite them to play a game. She will bring out two boxes and pull four colored balls out of each box. Your child will be asked to ‘touch’ which box they think has a *new* ball hidden inside! (P.S. there is no wrong answer!)

Purpose

This study investigates whether young children use abstract properties (like 'sameness' and 'difference') to make guesses about things they haven’t seen before. We are interested in this because, if it is something people do from a young age, that might explain how we are able to learn general things about the world (e.g., that animals of the same kind make the same sounds) from the specific things that we see (e.g., dogs barking and cats meowing). We have investigated this question before, but in person. Now, we are using Lookit to find out if children’s guesses about events happening on-screen are different than their guesses about events that happen directly in front of them.

Toy Room

Lab for the Developing Mind (New York University)

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For babies ages 8.5 to 10.5 months. Because the study has a language component, there should be a native English speaker in the home.

What happens

In this study, your child will watch a series of videos that show a room with three walls and three objects, and they will hear a label with a made-up noun. Then, your child will see two pictures side-by-side - a picture with just the walls and a picture with just the objects. They will hear the made-up noun again.

We’re interested in whether babies intuitively think that nouns refer to walls or objects. Babies tend to look longer at things that match what they hear, so we will measure how long your child looks to each picture to see if they think the novel noun refers to the walls or the objects.

Purpose

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 parts of a layout, such as walls? 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.

Thinking about Friendship

Developing Minds Lab (Yeshiva University, Stern College for Women)

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For 3- to 7-year-olds

What happens

Your child will be introduced to some kids at a new school, and we'll ask him or her to guess how the kids will behave toward one another - sometimes, we will ask about mean behaviors, and sometimes, we will ask about nice behaviors. For some children, the characters will be cartoon images of kids from a made-up school, and for some children, they will be real pictures of children who vary by race and gender.

Purpose

In this study, we're interested in how young children expect social groups to influence people's behavior. We know that when children are introduced to made-up groups of people, they expect people to be nice to ingroup members and mean to outgroup members. Here, we want to know if children have these same expectations for other kinds of groups, like race and gender. To test this question, we ask children to predict how people are going to act toward one another, and we vary whether the different characters share membership in various social groups (gender, race, and made-up groups). Do children think that people will favor members of their own group? Your child's responses can teach scientists about how these expectations develop across childhood, which can inform future efforts at encouraging children to be nice to others, no matter who they are.

What's their goal?

Centre for Infant Cognition (University of British Columbia)

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For babies aged 11 to 13 months who hear mainly English in their household and does not hear Spanish regularly; each child may only participate in this study once

What happens

In this study, your baby will first watch a video where two female experimenters will introduce themselves. After the introduction, your baby will watch a scene in which one of the experimenters will repeatedly select one toy over another. After a number of scenes, the placement of the toys will switch and the experimenter will continue selecting the same toy or a new toy. Your baby's looking behaviour will be recorded, and we’re interested in whether understanding someone’s language affects babies' ability to understand other people's goals. During the study, we will ask you to either keep your eyes closed or be turned around facing away from the screen. There will be more detailed instructions on how to hold your baby during the study!

Purpose

Babies reason about other people's goals through observation: if they see a person consistently choose option A over option B, they will start thinking that this person prefers A over B, and will be surprised when this person suddenly starts choosing B when A is available. Interestingly, babies don't generalize this type of reasoning to everyone! If an inanimate object (for example, not a human) reaches for the same object over and over, babies don't make the same type of inference. In this study, we are interested in whether babies make different inferences about people's goals depending on whether they speak the same language as them. This will help us understand how babies perceive people who are different from themselves!

Road Trip with Friends!

CALC (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)

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For 4- and 5-year-olds that can understand English and live in the US.

What happens

In this study, your child will go on a virtual road trip and help some friends along the way! They will play a guessing game to figure out who has the larger amount, and then help some Alien friends find their way around the Earth by going through a choose-your-own-adventure story. We are interested to see how children's guesses in the first game relate to their choices in the second game.

Purpose

Children’s interests in numbers impact their engagement and performance. Our study asks how children’s intuitive sense of number (their guesses in the first game) relates to their interests (their choices in the story). Findings from this study will help us better understand what impacts young children’s interests. Ultimately by studying children’s interests, we aim to understand how to help children develop and maintain their interests.

Baby Number Sense 1 for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Infants

Infant and Child Cognition Lab (Boston College)

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For babies ages 5 to 11 months with and without hearing loss who reside in the US or Canada. Each participant can only participate in this study once.

What happens

Prior to beginning the study, parents will first be asked some questions about your baby's hearing and language experiences. During the study, your baby will see two sets of circles on the screen – one on the left and one on the right. The circles will appear and disappear, with the number of circles on one side changing and the number of circles on the other side always staying the same. Your baby will then see colored squares appearing and disappearing.

Purpose

In this study we are going to learn more about your baby’s sense of numbers. Imagine you are trying to find a parking spot in a crowded lot. After looking to the left, then to the right, you instinctually know that one side has fewer cars without even counting. This ability is actually thought to be the foundation to counting and learning about numbers. We know babies also have this ability, and this study will help us learn whether early language experiences shape this.

Biological Motion

Leiden Babylab (Leiden University)

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For babies between 4 and 8 months of age, who haven't participated in the "Biologische Beweging Studie" (the Dutch version of the same experiment).

What happens

In this study, your baby will see several short videos. First, we will either present a woman making hand gestures, such as playing peek-a-boo, or we will show rotating machine gears. Then, we will display two videos side by side that will show moving points. While in one of the videos the points resemble a person moving in the dark, in the other the points will be moving randomly. Which video will your baby prefer to look at more?

Purpose

Human movements are an important source of social information for babies. Babies can distinguish human movements from non-human movements very early on, even if the movements are partially hidden or abstract. In this study, we want to see if babies can recognize human movements when they are represented by points corresponding to human joints moving in the dark. We are also trying to discover whether the context within which babies observe the moving point displays influences their ability. By answering these questions, we will be able to understand more about how infants’ social skills develop, in particular, to what extent the recognition and preference for human movement is automatic.

Baby Body Perception Study

Essex Babylab (University of Essex)

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For full term babies aged 5 months or 9 months (please only participate in this study once - e.g. if you participated when your baby was 5 months you cannot participate again when they are 9 months)

What happens

In this study your baby will watch pictures of two babies presented side-by-side. Some pictures will look normal but others will be stretched out. Sometimes the pictures will be upright and sometimes upside down. We want to see which picture your baby chooses to look at!

Purpose

The body is an important source of social information. However, we know little about how babies develop an understanding of what typical bodies look like. With this study we want to better understand when babies develop expectations about the relative size of the different parts of baby bodies.

Scene and Heard! (6-7.5 mos)

Lab for the Developing Mind (New York University)

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For babies ages 6 to 7.5 months. Because the study has a language component, there should be a native English speaker in the home.

What happens

In this study, your child will watch several videos of one kind of scene (like an indoor scene) labeled with a made-up word. Then, another example of that type of scene will be presented side-by-side with a new kind of scene (like a field). Your child might also see scrambled scenes. We use these to see how much a scene’s structure — versus its colors and textures alone — might help babies to categorize it.

We’re interested in whether language draws babies’ attention to the information that differs between different kinds of scenes. Babies tend to look longer at things they find interesting, so we will measure how long your child looks at each scene to see if they find one more interesting than the other.

Purpose

From very early on, we start naming different kinds of objects for our children, like spoons, bottles, or chairs. Naming different examples of the same kind of object with the same word can help children form categories of objects that all have the same shape or function. Can naming the different kinds of scenes that we encounter in everyday life also help babies learn about scene categories? This study aims to address this question.

Face Preference Tug-of-War

Cognitive Development Lab (Loyola University Chicago)

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9 through 12-month-old infants born full-term (38+ weeks) who are regularly exposed to the English language and live in the United States.

What happens

Your child will watch short videos of South-Asian women reciting a children’s story. One of the videos will have the accompanying audio, while the other will be silent. Then, we will show your baby pictures of the same people, or a new face. We want to see which face your baby will pay attention to more.

Purpose

We know many things about which faces babies prefer to look at. One is that babies usually prefer to look at a face that is talking rather than a face that is silent. Another is that babies usually prefer to look at faces that belong to races that are familiar to them. We are interested in looking at how these preferences interact, such as whether babies will look longer at the face of someone from an unfamiliar race if that person has spoken to them. This study benefits from babies participating no matter what their previous familiarity with faces from different races, and the results will increase our understanding of the development of face processing and face preferences in infants.

Looking for more ways to contribute to research from home? Check out Children Helping Science for even more studies!