About Our Research > The Labs

The Child Development Laboratories at UVa consist of two individual labs. Each lab operates as a separate unit, but they both address questions about cognitive, language, and social development. Clicking on an individual lab’s name below will open up a new window with more details about that lab’s research.

The Child Language & Learning Lab, directed by Dr. Vikram Jaswal, studies how learning language changes the way children think.

The Early Development Lab, directed by Dr. Angeline Lillard, studies the role that pretending plays in children’s lives and investigates best practices in schooling.

We are excited that two new labs will be joining us in Fall 2014!

The Early Social & Brain Development Lab, directed by Dr. Tobias Grossmann, studies the early emergence of the social and affective competencies that enable infants to interact with others. By using non-invasive and child-friendly methods such as electroencephalography (EEG), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and eye-tracking technology, we examine changes in infant brain function while important developmental milestones are achieved. We study these processes across a range of situations in which infants can glean social and emotional information from various different sources such as faces, voices, or motion.

The Social & Moral Development Lab, directed by Dr. Amrisha Vaish, studies how young children perceive and respond to their social worlds. The main focus of our research is the development of social abilities that are essential to becoming moral and cooperative people. These include social emotions (such as sympathy and guilt), cognitions (such as the ability to evaluate moral actions and intentions), and behaviors (such as helping and sharing). We also study the development of more basic social and cognitive skills, such as when and how infants understand the emotions, desires, and actions of others.

Learn more!

To carry out our research, we rely on the support of local families, who volunteer about 30 minutes of their time to participate in one of our studies. You can learn what a typical visit is like, get answers to frequently asked questions, and register your family by clicking on the links below.


The Labs | A Typical Visit | FAQ | Register