Tag Archive for Cognitive Development Lab

Grant Supports Partnership between Cognitive Development Lab, CT Science Center

Cognitive Development Lab students Ziyue Li '16 and Portia Lundie '14 spoke with children and parents at the Connecticut Science Center last spring.

Cognitive Development Lab students Ziyue Li ’16 and Portia Lundie ’14 spoke with children and parents at the Connecticut Science Center last spring.

Faculty and student researchers from Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Lab recently received a $3,000 stipend from the National Living Laboratory® Initiative, which receives support from the National Science Foundation. The award will support an ongoing collaboration between Wesleyan and the the Connecticut Science Center.

Hilary Barth, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, oversees a Living Laboratory® site at the science center’s museum. For the past year and a half, Wesleyan researchers have visited the museum on Saturdays to collect data for current studies, talk with children and their families about child developmental research, and guide visitors in hands-on activities that demonstrate important findings in developmental psychology.

The stipend will support staff at the museum, student coordination and museum visit time for the students, travel costs, signage and materials for the lab’s child development demonstrations. In 2013, the Living Laboratory Initiative awarded Wesleyan with a $300 grant for signage.

According to its website, The Living Laboratory® initiative aims to educate the public about child development by immersing museum visitors in the process of scientific discovery. In the Living Laboratory®’s educational model, scientists (in disciplines including developmental psychology, cognitive science, educational psychology, cognitive neuroscience, social psychology and related fields) recruit participants and conduct their studies within dynamic exhibits at a local museum. Families visiting the museum are invited to participate in on-going research projects and to engage in one-on-one conversations with the scientists.

Read past articles about the Cognitive Development Lab here.

Cognitive Development Lab Designs Games for Family Math Night

Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Labs hosted Family Math Night at Edna Stevens Elementary School in Cromwell, Conn. on April 9. The event was full of games and activities for preschool children to play and get them excited about math while showing families activities that they can do at home to prepare their children for kindergarten. Assistant Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman’s students designed the math games as part of a research methods class.

Students of Anna Shusterman designed math games for Edna Stevens Elementary School’s Family Math Night. Pictured here are (top from left) Elissa Palmer ’16, Tawni Stoop ’15, Jess Taggart, Anna Shusterman, Max, Alison Denzer-King ’16, Davey Bales ’15, Olivia Mason 15, Julia Vermeulen ’15, Maddy Oswald ’14, Maddy Kidd ’14, and Reuben. Taggart is the lab coordinator for the Cognitive Development Lab’s and Max and Reuben are Professor Shusterman’s sons.

Students of Anna Shusterman designed math games for Edna Stevens Elementary School’s Family Math Night. Pictured here are (top from left) Elissa Palmer ’16, Tawni Stoop ’15, Jess Taggart, Anna Shusterman, Max, Alison Denzer-King ’16, Davey Bales ’15, Olivia Mason 15, Julia Vermeulen ’15, Maddy Oswald ’14, Maddy Kidd ’14, and Reuben. Taggart is the lab coordinator for the Cognitive Development Lab’s and Max and Reuben are Professor Shusterman’s sons.

Psychology Students Seek “Child Scientists” at Connecticut Science Museum

Wesleyan students involved with the Psychology Department's Cognitive Development Labs meet with local museum visitors at the Connecticut Science Center.

At left, Ellen Lesser ’15 and Jillian Roberts ’15 staff the Cognitive Development Labs’ exhibit at the Connecticut Science Center. The exhibit teaches museum visitors about psychology research—and research into child development, in particular—while allowing the Wesleyan researchers to collect data for their studies.

Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Labs are bringing their research on how young children think and learn to local museum visitors, thanks to a new partnership with the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford.

The partnership provides the public with a rare opportunity to learn about child development and psychological science—topics not often represented at science museums—at the Connecticut Science Center, while allowing the Wesleyan researchers access to a wide pool of subjects to include in their studies.

“It’s basically bringing the lab research out into the public, making the science accessible to kids and families, and also collecting data in the process,” explained Hilary Barth, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior. She leads one of the Cognitive Development Labs, while Assistant Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman leads the other.

Jessica Taggart, lab coordinator at the Cognitive Development Labs, brought the idea for the Connecticut Science Center partnership to Barth and Shusterman. As an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, Taggart had been instrumental in setting up a partnership with the Maryland Science Center, which is one of the “hub sites” of the National Living Laboratory Initiative. The initiative, developed at the Museum of Science in Boston in 2005,

4 Institutions Participate in Cognitive Development Research Conference

Wesleyan’s Psychology Department hosted the second annual Cognitive Development Undergraduate Research Conference on July 18. Faculty, research assistants and undergraduates from Wesleyan, Smith College, Wellesley College and Barnard College attended the conference to discuss their research. Seven labs from the four schools presented their work at the event.

“This conference is a great opportunity for faculty and students to discuss research, for the faculty to catch up on new work, and for students in this field to connect with each other,” says Shusterman, who organized the conference. Photos of the event are below:

Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, spoke about the development of spatial navigation and about the Kindergarten Kickstart program, a summer pre-K she has developed in collaboration with Macdonough Elementary School in Middletown, Conn.

Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, spoke about the development of spatial navigation and about the Kindergarten Kickstart program, a summer pre-K she has developed in collaboration with Macdonough Elementary School in Middletown, Conn.

Mattel Supports Cognitive Development Study

Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology; Hilary Barth, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior; and Emily Slusser, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology, received a grant worth $25,000 from Mattel Philanthropy Programs. The grant was awarded on March 24.

The grant allows the group to explore children’s ability to learn from independent play with toys. Children will receive one of four kinds of toys for a period of two months, and their parents will be asked to bring the toys out daily. At the beginning and end of the study, children will participate in a series of brief measures, many of which have been developed or refined at Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Laboratory.

“Our goal is to find out if different kinds of toys, like dolls or blocks, have specific measurable benefits in distinct cognitive domains, like social or spatial reasoning,” Shusterman explains.

A Wesleyan undergraduate research assistant will help implement the study, and Slusser will be invited to present the results of the study at the Mattel/Fisher-Price Toy Labs.