The BabyBRAIN lab studies the big questions of developmental science: Although babies seem to be born completely helpless, within little more than a year, they transform into totally different creatures, who actively explore their environment, learn new skills at a breath-taking rate, and have meaningful interactions with others. How do these astonishing changes come about in such a short time?
In the BabyBRAIN group we combine theoretical approaches from cognitive science with empirical developmental psychology to understand the initial makeup of the human mind and how information processing and learning mechanisms drive the dramatic developmental changes we see during the early years.
We investigate early social and cognitive development and the developmental mechanisms and neurocognitive changes that underlie it. Using advanced research methods, such as eye tracking or measuring brain activity, we investigate for instance how infants learn new things by exploring their environment, or how they learn from and during interaction with others. We also study how infants perceive other people and develop all capabilities necessary to become competent social partners. Moreover, we strive to understand non-typical development of young children, for instance as it occurs in autistic children.
Ultimately, our goal is to use our knowledge to stimulate the development of young children and to help create environments in which all children can develop optimally. This is why we regularly share our findings with parents, practitioners, policy makers and the general public.