Infant and Toddler Research


Your child can be in this study if he or she:

  • is 0 to 6 months old 
  • has no visual or hearing impairment, seizure disorder, or any known genetic syndrome

Babies are enrolled prior to birth or within the first six months of life. They are followed with regular visits to our laboratory from enrollment through three years of age.

Your baby will view objects, activities and people on a computer screen, experience gentle touch, and listen to various speech and speech-like sounds. Some of these activities will be done while your child is wearing different net-like caps that are designed to measure brain activity. The studies that use these types of caps are EEG (electroencephalography) and NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy). As he or she gets older, the visits will include traditional developmental, language and diagnostic play assessments, such as the ADOS and CSBS, administered by a trained Yale clinician. Parents will complete questionnaires and interviews concerning their baby’s development and adaptive behavior.

Parents are asked to participate over the course of their baby's first two or three years of life. There will be up to twelve visits at our laboratory, beginning with three months of age and ending at either 24 or 36 months. We schedule all appointments at the parent’s convenience.

Clinicians will monitor the baby’s progress throughout their time in the study and offer support and direction when appropriate. The developmental trajectory of each child is closely followed by our staff, with parent/clinician reviews taking place at the completion of each full set of assessments. Parents of children with identified delays or other developmental concerns will receive recommendations and guidance for early intervention. There are no charges involved in the study. Dependent upon your baby's participation, you may receive small monetary compensation ranging from $25-$85 per visit for study participation and a “graduation” t-shirt at completion.

Each visit will be slightly different depending on the age of your child and what you are scheduled to participate in that day. Overall, when you arrive, you and your child will be given time to get used to the staff and setting by playing with toys, reading, or having a snack. We will walk you through your participation for that day’s visit and answer any questions you might have before beginning.

These studies have been approved by the Yale Human Investigations Committee, protocol numbers: #0509000617, #1004006656, and #12378. The examiners working with your child have extensive experience with newborns and toddlers, and the assessments are supervised by licensed clinicians. None of the assessments or activities are invasive or carry any risk to the baby. A parent will be with each child at all times.

This study is funded through the Simons Foundation, the Autism Speaks, the National Institute for Child Health and Development and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Yes, our research assistants can baby-sit your children in our play area during your infant's participation.

If you would like more information about these studies, please contact Amy Margolis at (203) 785-6237

Eye tracking is a method for recording when and where your baby is looking on a monitor displaying various videos or photographs. During eye-tracking experiments your baby will sit in front of a computer screen either in a car seat or on your lap. A small camera located under the computer screen will track your baby’s eye movements. You will be able to watch the sessions on another monitor to see how your baby explores images on the screen.
This method of investigation is non-invasive, safe, and comfortable.
During each visit your baby will participate in two sessions, with each session lasting between 10-15 minutes.
EEG stands for Electroencephalography. Your child will wear a soft flexible cap on his or her head. This cap records your child’s brain waves while he or she is watching pictures and videos on a computer screen and listening to different sounds.
This method of investigation is non-invasive, safe and comfortable.
We schedule 1-hour visits so that you and your baby have plenty of time to get comfortable. The actual EEG experiment takes less than an hour to complete.
For the EEG study we will ask you to sit in a chair with your child in your lap. We will entertain your baby with toys and bubbles, and place the cap on his or her head when he or she is comfortable. You and your baby will watch pictures and videos on a computer screen and listen to different sounds.
Brain waves are the electrical activity produced by the brain. They are recorded by wearing a soft, flexible cap. Recording is safe and painless and an easy way to study brain function in infants.
NIRS stands for near-infrared spectroscopy. Your child will wear a hat with soft (optodes) that emit light, while he or she watches videos on a computer screen. The NIRS machine measures brain activity using light.
This method of investigation is non-invasive, safe and comfortable.
We typically schedule 1-hour visits so that your baby has plenty of time to get comfortable. The actual NIRS experiment takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
The NIRS optodes are very mobile so we can move the machine around the room. Your infant will be comfortably sitting in an infant bouncer (one that vibrates to calm them) or on your lap depending on your preference. They will be viewing Baby Mozart clips to keep them occupied.