Research projects

We are currently seeking participants for several studies of infants and children aged three months to six years, described below. If you want to know more about them, follow the links below or contact us via phone (0121 414 7219) or email (

Social processing

We are currently seeking two-month to six-year-old children for participation in brainwave studies of social processing. If you decide to participate in this research, you will be asked to bring your child to our laboratory for a one hour visit.

We will place a head net that records brainwaves on your child's head while he or she watches pictures of faces and objects or listens to sounds made by people and sounds made by objects.


The goal of this research is to understand the processing of social and non-social information in normal children, as well as in people with social disorders such as autism.

Project leader: Joe McCleery

Word learning

We are investigating how one-to-two-year-old infants learn new words. The questions we are interested in include:

  1. What makes word learning easier or difficult for infants. 
  2. What are the cues that infants use to infer meaning of new words. 
  3. How infants integrate information from speech and gesture.

This is a multinational project and our collaborators are:

Our research is funded by ESRC and BBSRC.

Project leader: Sotaro Kita

Join us for lunch!

If you are coming to the Infant and Child Laboratory to take part in a study, why not have lunch with us while you are here?

Dr Blissett is about to set up a study which looks at how parents introduce new foods to their children. We know that children vary in how readily they will try new foods, from the child who refuses any new foods to the child who will try everything. Parents also vary in the strategies they use to encourage their children to try new things.

This study is designed to look at the strategies that parents use, and how they interact with characteristics of the child to encourage trying new foods.

You can take part in these studies if your child is between 12 months and 5 years old. You would come to the lab for a lunchtime or afternoon meal, during which time you will be asked to introduce a new food to your child. You may be asked to do this as you would normally do it, or we may ask you to try one of our 'test' strategies.

The new food is likely to be something bland such as tofu or ackee (fruit). You would be video recorded whilst eating and would be asked to fill in some questionnaires about yourself and your child.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact the Infant and Child Laboratory and we will send you further information about the study as soon as it is ready to begin. Of course, if you enquire about the study, you are under no obligation to take part.

Project leader: Jackie Blissett

Bilingual language development

We are conducting a study on bilingual language development. It aims to establish standard language tests for typically developing bilingual children in order to be able to detect language development delay in bilingual children.

For that purpose, we are seeking to establish standard scores for typically developing bilingual children in common language development tests: a vocabulary questionnaire that parents fill in (Oxford CDI), a vocabulary picture task (BPVS III), a word production task (SETK), and a comprehension task (a component of the Preschool Language Scales III).

Parents are also asked to fill in an additional questionnaire regarding, for instance, the exposure of their child to both (or more) languages and the number of siblings.

We are happy to conduct these tasks in your home or in our Infant and Child Laboratory (ICL) at the University of Birmingham.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact the Infant and Child Laboratory.

Project leader: Andrea Krott