At the UCLA Language and Cognitive Development Lab we are fascinated by how children learn words from the world around them.  Even seemingly simple words like “dog” involves a process of discovery. Children not only have to learn and remember the particular examples that they’ve heard labeled “dog” (e.g. the family pet, the neighbors’ poodle, Clifford), but they also have to correctly generalize the meaning of the word to new examples, so that they can confidently cry out “doggy” when they see someone walking a cocker spaniel down the sidewalk, but not when they see a field of cows. And children have to remember the word-category correspondence for years. Our research is focused on figuring out how children do this.

What is a typical study like?

Most children find our studies fun. Many studies involve children hearing objects labeled and then choosing other objects that they find to be similar. We design our studies to be game-like and engaging.  

Appointments are usually 30-45 minutes long.

You will be with your child during the entire visit.

Before we begin, we always explain the study and describe exactly what will happen during the visit.