How much do infants know about the world in which they live? At what age do humans begin to develop an understanding of object permanence and of the reality that people act in response to different things around them? These are the kinds of questions Yuyan Luo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, seeks to answer. In addition to teaching cognition development courses—from infancy to toddler—she runs the Infant Cognition Lab, which tests psychological and biological knowledge development through a series of lab experiments. Now in its second year of operation, the lab conducts experiments with participants as young as two and one-half months old.
Psychologist Yuyan Luo explains how she first became interested in studying infant cognition and the types of “looking-time studies” she uses to study how much infants understand about object permanence.
Luo runs the Infant Cognition Lab at MU, in its second year of existence. Luo describes some of the experiments she began in graduate school concerning transparency and object permanence.
Luo describes her current research project, which focuses on determining infants’ knowledge of psychological reasoning. Using the looking-time method, she is testing infants as young as three-months old to see if they understand the concept of object preference.
Yuyan Luo uses “looking-time studies” to learn how much infants understand about the world around them. In this lab video, the top half of the frame will reveal what the infant is shown, whereas the bottom half reveals the infant’s reaction.