How often do you look into your baby’s eyes and wonder what they’re thinking? A fascinating new research project is keen to delve into the minds of babies and toddlers – and you can be part of it.
The University of Sheffield’s Dr Elena Hoicka wants to know how children learn to ‘read’ other children’s minds – that is how and when they develop the skills to know another child’s desires, intentions and knowledge. She says this is an essential skill, that helps us know how to interact with others. For instance, when does a baby understand that while they may like chocolate more than broccoli, another child may not?
“This skill takes time to develop, and some people have delays or difficulties in this area. This is why it’s critical to see how mind-reading skills develop from birth, and whether there are certain milestones and patterns that help most children develop to their full potential.”
The research is looking at an age span from newborn through to children aged almost four. Parents from around the world can take part, by completing the Early Social Learning Survey at Baby Loves Science. It takes around 10 minutes, and Dr Hoicka is keen to hear from parents of children with typical development, as well as those of children with Down’s syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder. At the end of the survey you’ll get a summary of how may socio-cognitive skills your child has.