My research interests lie broadly in the field of developmental psychology with a particular focus on the parent-infant relationship and early social development. Below is information about some of the projects I have conducted or am currently working on.
BabyX is a virtual infant that is underpinned by neural network models allowing BabyX to learn in real-time, express emotions, speak and recognize words and objects. These processes allow BabyX to express herself differently based on the people and things she interacts with.
Alongside Associate Professor Mark Sagar and Dr Annette Henderson, I am working on further developing BabyX to learn more about social learning and the microdynamics of early social interactions between parents and their infants.
Deconstructing Early Communication
The relationship between parent and infant is one of the most important and profound relationships humans have. In this project, mother-infant dyads were followed across the first two years of life. We observed their interactions in order to identify and examine the kinds of behaviours and emotions that help to characterise the nuances of the mother-baby relationship.
The data we gather from these interactions will help us understand more about how babies learn from their parents, how mothers respond to their babies emotions and how these behaviours change over time. These data are being used to help develop BabyX.
I am part of an ongoing investigation into the development of imitation. Previous research has suggested that this ability is innate, however our findings have been unable to substantiate this claim. Throughout my PhD and in ongoing study, I am exploring how parent behaviour might influence the development of imitation and other social learning capacities.
Mind-mindedness refers to a caregiver's tendency to view their child as an individual with a mind, rather than merely an entity with needs that must be satisfied. I have been exploring this concept, and how it relates to other aspects of parent-infant interactions, within my research.