June 14, 2017

Current Studies

We have studies for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. To sign up for a study, please fill out the information on the right side of the page. We will contact you with information about the specific studies for your child’s age group, and a link where you can sign up for an open video chat slot.

In each study, you and your child will video chat with a Yale University researcher, who will show your child pictures or videos and then ask questions about them. There are never any right or wrong answers: we ask our questions to hundreds of children, to learn about how children of different ages think about the world in general.

Here are some examples of recent studies:

EXAMPLE 1: How do child learn who is an expert? 

People are experts in different things. For example, your doctor may know a lot about the best things to do when you feel sick, but may know very little about how to fix your car if it has a problem. Do children understand that people who know a lot in one domain may not know as much about other things? How do they learn who the best people are to learn from, for topics ranging from medicine to sports trivia? For example:

Anna knows a lot about cows. Betty knows a lot about airplanes. Who do you think knows more about owls:

  • Anna
  • Betty

EXAMPLE 2: What do children understand about the insides of machines?

There are many things that are easy to use without knowing how they work. For example, you can turn on your TV and watch a movie without knowing how all the small parts inside your TV (computer circuits, liquid crystals, etc.) work. How much do children learn about complicated things just by using them? How much do children learn from their environment, without needing to be explicitly taught? For example:

Which do you think is more complicated on the inside:

  • A chair
  • A smartphone

EXAMPLE 3: What types of explanations do children prefer? 

Sometimes, there are many different true explanations for the same event. For example, a person might say “I went to the store because I needed to buy food” or “I went to the store because I go there every Saturday morning.” What sorts of explanations do children prefer? What sorts of explanations do children learn from the best? For example:

A hat falls to the ground. Which do you think is a better explanation for this:

  • The hat fell because all hats are pulled down by gravity.
  • The hat fell because all things are pulled down by gravity.