Parents play a critical role in infants’ communicative development. Although much is known about how parent-infant interactions shape communicative development in face-to-face contexts, little is known about how screen media impacts these processes. As screen media continues to significantly rise in popularity, it is crucial to ask how screens impact the dynamic structure of parent-infant interactions, learning, and development. Thus, one aim of this ongoing project is to investigate the ways in which interactions between 1.5 to 2 year old infants and their parents differ across contexts involving screen media (such as video chat and interactive touchscreen games) and in traditional face-to-face interactions.
Another aim of this project is to deepen our understanding of early communication in order to inform and build a developmentally appropriate ‘model’ of early communication. Models allow researchers to test and validate psychological theories. This aspect of this project is conducted in collaboration with NZ-based company, Soul Machines.
A recent extension of this project examines how screen media interactions differ between caregivers and unfamiliar adults who have their own infant. This part of the research is our first online component and asks caregivers to participate from the comfort of their own home! If you have an infant between the ages of 20 and 26 months and would like to participate in this study we will be collecting data through to the end of 2022.