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Exploring Developmental Psychology: Understanding Theory and Methods

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Exploring Developmental Psychology: Understanding Theory and Methods

Margaret Harris

Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446211960 | Print ISBN: 9781412903356 | Online ISBN: 9781446211960 | Publisher:SAGE Publications Ltd

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Chapter 4: Experimental Research with Infants and Toddlers

Experimental research with infants and toddlers The next two chapters are concerned with experimental research in developmental psychology. The choice of experimental task is heavily dependent on the age of the children being studied so, in this chapter, I consider experimental research with children under the age of 2 years. Even within this relatively small age span, there is considerable variation in methodology. In essence, with young infants, who are unable to understand instructions or to produce spoken responses, experimenters have to rely on simple behaviours, such as sucking, leg kicking or looking, that are within the infant's repertoire. Even responses that involve object manipulation or pointing will not be within the competence of infants who are only a few months old. Alternatively, researchers can use physiological measures such as changes in heart rate or measures of neural activity in the brain. Both behavioural and physiological measures are used to ...

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