Infant studies

Studies aimed at learning more about speech behavior, maternal sensitivity, or learning behavior in infancy are often carried out using The Observer® XT. The reaction to certain stimuli is captured on video. In infancy you can observe an explosive growth. Therefore, a lot of researchers choose to focus on this age group. Research is often performed in observation labs. In such a controlled environment you can accurately measure for instance exploratory gaze behavior. Some researcher use eye tracker data together with video to capture the exact gaze of the infant. Interested in managing and recording video/audio in multiple rooms? Check out our new multi video recording suite: Viso!

Infant studies
Remote eye tracking with SMI REDn to capture the exact gaze of the infant.
Infant studies
Observe behavior in an observation lab. Code and analyze your data with The Observer XT.

Exploring early life developments

Many of our habits that we never think about questioning develop in infancy. For instance, handedness develops at a young age and the preference for using one hand over the other usually stays with us for a lifetime. However, infants are not able to communicate effectively and so observation studies are the best way to learn more about these early life developments. The Observer XT codes the behaviors of young children efficiently and accurately and is the ideal tool to use to explore the early life developments of an infant.

  • Nelson, E.L.; Campbell, J.M.; Michel, G.F. (2013). Unimanual to bimanual: Tracking the development of handedness from 6 to 24 months. Infant Behavior and Development36, 181-188.

The HANDS lab and the Infant Development Center

The HANDS lab at Florida International University, Miami and the Infant Development Center of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro work together to study the development of hand use in infants. Infants explore much of their world with their hands. By studying how the hands are controlled, they learn new things about development. In a recent study, Eliza Nelson and colleagues took a particular interest in asymmetric bimanual actions. An observation lab is the ideal environment to record this behavior in great detail. They focused on actions where two hands work together to achieve a goal, a skill known as Role-Differentiated Bimanual Manipulation. The researchers set up experiments in their laboratory, the Infant Development Center (IDC). In the experiment, the passive hand stabilized or held the item for the active hand to perform the action. Test sessions were recorded with two cameras providing adequate views of the child’s actions. Video coding was done offline afterwards with The Observer XT software. After analyzing the data, they concluded that their series indeed elicited RDBM actions in toddlers as well as adults.

Learn more online: HANDS Lab: and IDC:

Observe behavior of infants

An infant won’t be able to fill out a long survey or communicate with an interviewer, so that rules out those possibilities for studies, leaving observational studies. For these studies, observation labs are extremely useful. Observe the infant in a setting similar to their natural environment unobtrusively, and be certain that your data is coded accurately and efficiently by using The Observer XT.

  • Umemura, T.; Jacobvitz, D.; Messina, S.; Hazen, N. (2013). Do toddlers prefer the primary caregiver or the parent with whom they feel more secure? The role of toddler emotion. Infant Behavior and Development36, 102-114.

Interesting publications

A diverse collection of scientific articles citing Noldus products are published in renowned journals each week. The following list is only a small selection of scientific publications in different research fields.

  • Blauw-Hospers, C.H., MSc; Dirks, T.; Hulshof, L.J.; MD; Hadders-Algra, M., MD, PhD (2010). Development of a Quantitative Tool to Assess the Content of Physical Therapy for Infants. Research Report, DOI: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181dbd5f1, 189-197.
  • Cecchini, M.; Baroni, E.; Di Vito, C.; Piccolo, F.; Lai, C. (2011). Newborn preference for a new face vs. a previously seen communicative or motionless face. Infant Behavior and Development34, 424-433.
  • Campbell, J.M.; Marcinowski, E.C.; Babik, I.; Michel, G.F. (2015). The influence of a hand preference for acquiring objects on the development of a hand preference for unimanual manipulation from 6-14 months. Infant Behavior and Development, 39, 107-117.
  • Colonnesi, C.; Bogels, S.M.; Vente, W. de; Majdandzic, M. (2012). What coy smiles say about positive Shyness in early infancy. Infancy, DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-7078.2012.00117.x
  • Corbetta, D.; Guan. Y.; Williams, J.L. (2012). Infant Eye-Tracking in the Context of Goal-Directed Action. Infancy17(1), 102-125.
  • Einspieler, C.; Marschik, P.B.; Domingues, W.; Talisa, V.B.; Bartl-Pokorny, K.D.; Wolin, T.; Sigafoos, J. (2014). Monozygotic twins with Rett syndrome: phenotyping the first two years of life. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 26, 171-182.
  • Gaffan, E.A.; Healy, S.; Murray, L.; Martins, C. (2010). Early Social Experience and Individual Differences in Infants' Joint Attention. Social Development, 19 (2), 369-396.
  • Ham, J.; Tronick, E. (2009). Relational psychophysiology: Lessons from mother-infant physiology research on dyadically expanded states of consciousness. Psychotherapy Research, DOI: 10.1080/10503300802609672, 1-14.
  • Lunkenheimer, E.; Kemp, C.J.; Lucas-Thompson, R.G.; Cole, P.M.; Albrecht, E.C. (2016). Assessing biobehavioural self-regulation and coregulation in early childhood: The parent-child challenge task. Infant and Child Development, 26 (1), doi:10.1002/icd.1965
  • Nichols, S.R.; Svetlova, M.; Brownell, C.A. (2010). Toddlers' Understanding of Peers' Emotions. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 2010, 171 (1), 35-53.
  • Parade, S.H.; Leerkes, E.M. (2011). Marital aggression predicts infant orienting toward mother at six months. Infant Behavior and Development34, 235-238.
  • Puyvelde, M. van; Loots, G.; Vinck, B.; Coster, L. de; Matthijs, L.; Mouvet, K. (2013). The interplay between tonal synchrony and social engagement in mother-infant interaction. Infancy, 1-24
  • Rousseau, P.V.; Matton, F.; Lecuyer, R.; Lahaye, W. (2017). The moro reaction: more than a reflex, a ritualized behavior of nonverbal communication. Infant Behavior and Development, 46, 169-177.
  • Schietecatte, I.; Roeyers, H.; Warreyn, P. (2011). Can infants' orientation to social stimuli predict later joint attention skills? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, DOI:10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.020239.
  • Sung, J.; Fausto-Sterling, A.; Garcia Coll, C.; Seifer, R. (2013). The dynamics of age and sex in the development of mother-infant vocal communication between 3 and 11 months. Infancy, 1-24.
  • Umemura, T.; Jacobvitz, D.; Messina, S.; Hazen, N. (2012). Do toddlers prefer the primary caregiver or the parent with whom they feel more secure? The role of toddler emotion. Infant Behavior & Development, 36, 102-114.
  • Williams, J.L.; Corbetta, D.; Guan, Y. (2015). Learning to reach with "sticky"or "non-sticky" mittens: A tale developmental trajectories. Infant Behavior and Development, 38, 82-96.
  • Wilson, P., et al. (2010). Inexpensive video camera used by parents to record social communication in epidemiological investigations in early childhood - A feasibility study. Infant Behavior and Development, doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2010.09.007.
  • Zambrzycka, J.: Kotsopoulos, D.; Lee, J.; Makosz, S. (2017). In any way, shape, or form? Toddlers' understanding of shapes. Infant Behavior and Development, 46, 144-157


Blog posts on infant behavior research