Infant and Child Research

Infant and child researchers use eye tracking to study perceptual, cognitive, and social emotional development from birth through early adulthood.

Why use eye tracking in infant and child research?

Eye tracking plays an important role in gathering data about how children interact with the people and the world around them. This technology is the most unobtrusive and reliable way to collect eye movement data from infants and children who typically can't sit still for long periods of time and have short attention spans. Using an eye tracker, developmental researchers can gain a deeper understanding of when specific capabilities emerge and how they change over time.

Here is a video from our customer Uppsala Child and Baby Lab. In the video Professor Gustaf Gredebäck explains the value of eye tracking, the different types of research that are conducted at the lab, some of the different research paradigms that they employ and finally where eye tracking could go in the future.

Researchers can use this tool to investigate spatial relations, problem solving, number sense, language acquisition, and cause and effect relationships, as well as social interaction and gaze following. Eye tracking data can help explore infants' ability to categorize visual, linguistic, and auditory events, and scan dynamic human faces.

Among older children and adolescents, researchers study cognitive processes like executive function and social interaction. Due to the more portable, lightweight design of today's eye tracking systems, these studies can now be carried out in real-world environments.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder and Language Development

New York University’s Learn Lab uses eye tracking to study the learning mechanisms underlying language acquisition in children who are typically developing as well as children on the autism spectrum. Read more

Uppsala University

Eye tracking is used in developmental psychology to explain infants' growth and transformation in cognitive, social and emotional abilities. At the Department of Psychology's Child and Baby Lab at Uppsala University in Sweden, Claes von Hofsten and his fellow researchers use eye tracking to measure development of infants' object representation and study the differences in social interactions in children with typical development and children with autism.  Read more

Osaka University

Researchers at Osaka University developed a quantitative method for identifying individuals with autism by analyzing temporo-spatial gaze patterns, which could help experts diagnose the issue earlier. Read more

University of Rochester

The Rochester Baby Lab used eye tracking to test whether infants could make use of the information contained in speech disfluencies, such as "uh" and "um". Read more

  • Paukner, A., Slonecker, E. M., Murphy, A. M., Wooddell, L. J., & Dettmer, A. M. (2017). Sex and rank affect how infant rhesus macaques look at faces. Developmental Psychobiology. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21579
  • van den Bosch, L. J., Segers, E., & Verhoeven, L. (2018). Online processing of causal relations in beginning first and second language readers. Learning and Individual Differences, 61, 59–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2017.11.007
  • Kis, A., Hernádi, A., Miklósi, B., Kanizsár, O., & Topál, J. (2017). The Way Dogs (Canis familiaris) Look at Human Emotional Faces Is Modulated by Oxytocin. An Eye-Tracking Study. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00210

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