Tiny to Tots
We study how babies, toddlers and children develop and learn from the people and the world around them.
We are based in the Cardiff University Centre for Human Development Science (CUCHDS) – and study how babies, toddlers and children develop socially, cognitively and learn all about the world around them. We use fun studies to gain insight into how children develop their social skills and cognitive abilities from as young as 3-months-old to primary school ages.
The Tiny to Tots Facebook group is a great place to learn more about our research and get involved with community discussions.
- To identify and describe fundamental processes in the development of cognition, communication, and emotion.
- To evaluate these processes within relevant contexts (in nature, during free play, in schools, with parents, etc.).
- To investigate whether findings are consistent across converging methods (behaviour, parent and child report, looking time, neuroimaging, etc).
- To provide hands-on and multi-faceted training to emerging scientists.
- To engage with families, practitioners, and the broader community to help share our research and inform future research directions.
Our research aims to discover more about the development of infants and children through both in-person and virtual sessions.
- Gambi, C. et al. 2021. The relation between preschoolers’ vocabulary development and their ability to predict and recognize words. Child Development 92 (3), pp.1048-1066. (10.1111/cdev.13465)
- Gambi, C. , Pickering, M. J. and Rabagliati, H. 2021. Prediction error boosts retention of novel words in adults but not in children. Cognition 211 104650. (10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104650)
- Gerson, S. A. and Meyer, M. 2021. Young children’s memories for social actions: influences of age, theory of mind, and motor complexity. Child Development 92 (1), pp.142-156. (10.1111/cdev.13387)
- Kucirkova, N. et al., 2021. An empirical investigation of parent-child shared reading of digital personalized books. International Journal of Educational Research 105 101710. (10.1016/j.ijer.2020.101710)
- Gattis, M. et al. 2020. Foundations of attention sharing: orienting and responding to attention in term and preterm 5-month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development 61 101466. (10.1016/j.infbeh.2020.101466)
- Hashmi, S. et al. 2020. Exploring the benefits of doll play through neuroscience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 14 560176. (10.3389/fnhum.2020.560176)
- Gerson, S. et al. 2019. Infants attend longer to controlling versus supportive directive speech. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 187 104654. (10.1016/j.jecp.2019.06.007)
- Lindsay, L. , Gambi, C. and Rabagliati, H. 2019. Preschoolers optimize the timing of their conversational turns through flexible coordination of language comprehension and production. Psychological Science 30 (4), pp.504-515. (10.1177/0956797618822802)
- Monroy, C. et al., 2019. The infant motor system predicts actions based on visual statistical learning. NeuroImage 185 , pp.947-954. (10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.12.016)
- Cameron-Faulkner, T. , Melville, J. and Gattis, M. 2018. Responding to nature: Natural environments improve parent-child communication. Journal of Environmental Psychology 59 , pp.9-15. (10.1016/j.jenvp.2018.08.008)
- Cameron-Faulkner, T. et al., 2017. Plant yourself where language blooms: Direct experience of nature changes how parents and children talk about nature. Children Youth and Environments 27 (2), pp.110-124. (10.7721/chilyoutenvi.27.2.0110)
- Gambi, C. , Pickering, M. J. and Rabagliati, H. 2016. Beyond associations: Sensitivity to structure in pre-schoolers' linguistic predictions. Cognition 157 , pp.340-351. (10.1016/j.cognition.2016.10.003)
- Hilbrink, E. E. , Gattis, M. and Levinson, S. C. 2015. Early developmental changes in the timing of turn-taking: a longitudinal study of mother-infant interaction. Frontiers in Psychology 6 1492. (10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01492)
- Rabagliati, H. , Gambi, C. and Pickering, M. J. 2015. Learning to predict or predicting to learn?. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 31 (1), pp.94-105. (10.1080/23273798.2015.1077979)
- Gerson, S. A. , Bekkering, H. and Hunnius, S. 2015. Short-term motor training, but not observational training, alters neurocognitive mechanisms of action processing in infancy. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 27 (6), pp.1207-1214. (10.1162/jocn_a_00774)
- Gerson, S. A. and Woodward, A. L. 2014. Learning from their own actions: the unique effect of producing actions on infants' action understanding. Child Development 85 (1), pp.264-277. (10.1111/cdev.12115)
Our selected projects will give you more of an idea about the type of research we undertake:
The neural signature of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder
Co-Investigators: Sarah Gerson, Catherine Jones, Ross Vanderwert, postdoc: Jennifer Keating. Funded by Waterloo.
The role of incorrect predictions in children's comprehension of structural alternations
In this project, we use a fun tablet-based game and eye-tracking to ask how 4 year olds learn difficult grammatical structures. (British Academy Small Project Grant), PI: Chiara Gambi, co-I Katherine Messenger (Warwick).
A multi-methodological approach to assessing the benefits of play
With an industry partner, we are investigating the effects of doll play on the brain and development. PIs: Sarah Gerson and Ross Vanderwert.
Implications of pacifier use for the development of emotional competence
We’re researching how pacifiers impact the development of emotion understanding and regulation in infants. (British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant), PI: Ross Vanderwert.
Development of wearable, room-temperature and movement-tolerant MEG for adults and children at Cardiff University
The newest in wearable neuroimaging research is being developed in the Cardiff University Centre for Human Developmental Sciences (CUCHDS) in partnership with the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC). Fast and accurate measurements of neural activity can now be captured from sensors worn in a cap that moves with the child. (Wellcome Trust ISSF3), co-I: Ross Vanderwert.
Generation wild: The role of children’s experiences of nature in nature connectedness, wellbeing, and environmental values and behaviour
Generation Wild is a collaboration between Cardiff University and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) investigating how nature-based interventions can enhance children’s wellbeing as well as their care and concern for the natural world. (Cardiff University and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), PI: Merideth Gattis, co-Is: Wouter Poortinga, Kersty Hobson, Julia Newth, Jonathan Reeves, PhD student: TBD.
Sharing rhymes and rhythms across generations: Mutual benefits of music and reading aloud between children and individuals with dementia
We are interested in investigating the bidirectional benefits of intergenerational interactions between children and individuals with dementia. (ESRC DTP Collaborative funding in collaboration with Health and Care Research Wales)- PI: Sarah Gerson, PhD student: Jonny Flint.
Investigating and improving STEM learning: From computer coding to logic across home, lab and school
This project investigates the incorporation of robotics into early formal and informal learning settings in laying the groundwork for STEM. (ESRC DTP Collaborative funding in collaboration with Techniquest & PrimoToys)- PI: Sarah Gerson, PhD student: Amy Hughes.
Understanding risk factors for disordered eating in children
ESRC DTP Open Studentship- PhD student: Kai Thomas, Supervisors: Ross Vanderwert, Catherine Jones
The role of the sensorimotor system in infant verb acquisition
ESRC DTP Open Studentship- PhD student: Kelsey Frewin, Supervisors: Sarah Gerson, Chiara Gambi, Ross Vanderwert
The role of statistical domain-general mechanisms in early language acquisition: A computational and experimental investigation
Cardiff University and Nottingham Trent University – PhD student: Francesco Cabiddu, Supervisors: Chiara Gambi, Lewis Bott and Gary Jones (Nottingham Trent)