Essex Babylab (University of Essex)

Who Can Participate

For 6- and 7-month-olds

What Happens

In this study, we are looking at how caregivers and their babies interact when something unexpected happens. To participate in this study, you will need to have your baby sat in their highchair. First, you and your baby will play a game while being recorded via your webcam. This will involve you talking and playing together, then you freezing and maintaining a still face with a neutral expression. We are interested in how your baby reacts to this and behaves when you are not interacting with them. Some babies may find the ‘freeze’ game stressful - please be assured that you will be able to stop and resume interacting with your baby whenever you choose. After playing the game, we will ask you to answer some questions about your body, your mood and your baby. At the end of the questionnaire, you will find a special certificate for your baby!

What We're Studying

We are interested in how babies learn to interpret their own feelings and what this has to do with interactions with other people early in life. In this study, we are specifically interested in how babies respond to an unexpected pause during interactions with their caregiver and how this affects the interactions that come next. For context, we also ask about the caregiver’s own mood and experiences as well as their baby’s. Studying how babies manage during the pause could help us better understand how babies learn to regulate their emotions.


20 - 30 minutes


Unfortunately we are unable to provide monetary compensation for your participation, but we hope you will enjoy the experience. Please only complete the study once.

This study is conducted by Caryn Cook (contact:

Would you like to participate in this study?