Child Division of Visual Quantity

Penn Child Development Lab team



Project Summary

This summer I had the privilege of working in the Brannon Lab as a PURM research assistant. Although I was able to work on various projects during my time in the lab, my main focus was on infant foraging and its relation to parental personality traits. More specifically, foraging is the process of striking a balance between exploring and exploiting resources in an environment. To study infant foraging patterns, we set up play patches in a room and analyzed the child’s play. While the infant was exploring we asked parents to answer questionnaires about various personality traits. In general, the goal of the project was to see if parental personality traits, such as anxiety levels, affect the way infants explore and play in their environments. However, a larger sample size is needed to tell if there is actually a correlation between the two measures. Since this study was in the piloting phase, I was able to work alongside Dr. Brannon to improve the methodology that was used. This was a very valuable experience for me because it allowed me to see the hard work that goes into creating a functional paradigm. I was also heavily involved in the recruitment process, which strengthened my interpersonal skills greatly. Overall, this experience gave me a more realistic look into the early stages of research and equipped me with skills that I will carry with me into future academic endeavors. I would recommend other undergraduates to participate in PURM, as it is a wonderful opportunity to explore something you’re passionate about.