Research Assistant: Social Cognition in Infants and Young ChildrenSummer Course

DIS Summer - Research Assistant - Social Cognition in Infants and Young Children
Major Discipline(s)
Child Development, Human Development, Neuroscience
Location: Stockholm
Labs, Research, & Practicums Session

At the Child and Babylab (Barn och Babylab) at Uppsala University, Joshua Juvrud uses novel and state-of-the-art techniques in research (eye-tracking, pupil dilation, EEG, motion capture) to assess how children perceive and interpret people, emotions, and actions. In developmental psychology, this is key to understanding how children learn about their world. As a research assistant at the Child and Babylab, you would take part in studies with infants and children exploring their social and cognitive development using unique experimental designs. This may include:

  1. Infant studies. With infants, we cannot simply ask questions or give them instructions. Instead, we use creative and unique experimental designs along with eye-tracking technology to try to understand what they are thinking and how they learn about the world. Using eye-tracking, we explore how infants categorize people and things, how infants learn to perceive, encode, and interpret other peoples’ actions as meaningful, and how environmental contexts (such as maternal depression) can impact these developmental processes.
  2. Young children studies. Young children know a great deal about causality and their causal knowledge changes with age. We explore how causal knowledge is represented, and more significantly, how it is learned. Using a digital platform developed in the lab, we have the ability to create custom digital experiments as ‘games’ that children play. By incorporating research questions into the design of these custom games, and with that the resulting data from eye-tracking and children’s behavior, we can answer important questions about how children learn goals, associations, causality, and other principles that are important for cognitive and social development.

Research Assistantship Hours 

You will spend 180 hours directly engaged in research, together with 20 hours in co-curricular activities, during your RAship. The research will take place at Uppsala University, ranked one of the top universities in the world, in the city of Uppsala. Please note that approximately 8 hours per week will consist of commuting between Stockholm and Uppsala by train (2 hours back-and-forth total per day). Hours may also not be distributed evenly across weeks – there may be peak times in the research process where all Research Assistants are expected to spend a few more hours – and then possibly a few less – another week, to reflect the individual research project and process. 

Field Studies: Culture & Language 

As a co-curricular complement to your summer research, you will meet every Wednesday, together with faculty from the DIS European Humanities program, for a 6-week introduction to culture and language in Stockholm.  

Select Mentor Publications

Juvrud, J., Haas, S. A., Lindskog, M., Astor, K., Namgyel, S. C., Wangmo, T., Wangchuk, Dorjee, S., Tshering, K. P., & Gredebäck, G. (2022). High quality social environment buffers infants’ cognitive development from poor maternal mental health: Evidence from a study in Bhutan. Developmental Science, 25(3), e13203. 

Juvrud, J., Haas, S. A., Fox, N. A., & Gredebäck, G. (2021). Infants’ Selective Visual Attention Is Dependent on Maternal Affect and Emotional Context. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 700272.