We are very fortunate to have the generous co-operation of many local schools and nurseries in Birmingham, and around the rest of the country. We are always very happy to talk to teachers about our research. Find out more about the work that you can help us with.
How do we study children’s development?
Our work is based on experiments that involve children taking part in a game or task similar to everyday classroom activities. For example, to study children’s ability to think and act strategically, we have children play a competitive game where they must point to an empty box that someone else will receive in order for themselves to get a box with a sticker in it. People are often surprised to see that three-year-olds find it very hard to avoid pointing straight to the box with the sticker, even after a number of goes. In contrast, by four years, many children are very successful at following the right strategy and win many stickers! A typical experiment would involve 30-60 children, who we work with individually for five or ten minutes. We liaise carefully with class teachers to make sure we avoid any disruption to normal school activities.
Who does this work?
Much of our research is funded by grants from research councils. This enables us to employ several full-time and part-time researchers. We have a number of students working for research degrees (PhDs), and each year we supervise the research projects of a large number of undergraduate students.
What happens with our findings?
We present our work at national and international conferences, and write articles for publication in scientific journals (see our publications on our People pages). Where possible, we also aim to speak to a wider audience, for example via newspapers or radio programmes.
For more information about our research please contact us at:
Dr Ian Apperly / Dr Sarah Beck
School of Psychology
University of Birmingham