TWDK psychology doodle

Developmental Psychology

Developmental Psychology is the study of how babies’ brains change as they grow up. Babies are born unable to do much for themselves, but over the first few years of life this all changes. Developmental psychologists aim to discover at what point babies learn various abilities, and whether they do so entirely through experience, or whether they are born with some of them. Infant research is particularly challenging as you can’t just ask them questions, or to carry out a task like you can with adults. Instead, a looking-time paradigm is used. Babies, like all of us, get bored if you show them the same thing repeatedly, so will stop paying much attention to it. If you show them something different, however, they will start paying attention again. This can be used to work out if a baby can discriminate between two objects - if you show them a circle until they are bored of it, and then show them a square, and they pay attention again (dis-habituate), you know that they can tell the difference between circles and squares. This principle is the basis of the majority of studies on young babies that can’t yet talk.

Articles about developmental psychology

Subscribe to unanswered questions that interest you by clicking the subscribe lightbulb icon icons in our articles

Language is a vital part of being human, and some argue it is what sets us apart from other animals. But plenty of mysteries remain.
Delve deeper into language

How does learning happen in the brain? And how does it change throughout our lives?
Delve deeper into learning

Pregnancy is associated with more and poorer sleep and some women have bizarre and vivid dreams.
Delve deeper into foetal and maternal sleep

Follow TWDK

Mailing list

Sign up for our Newsletter
constant contact safe subscribe logo


Easyfundraising banner

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site by Things We Don’t Know C.I.C. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. | Privacy & Cookies
Things We Don’t Know C.I.C. is registered in England and Wales. Company Number 8109669.
Registered address at 34B York Way, London, N1 9AB.