Why did you choose this particular project?
At Birkbeck Babylab we study the cognitive development of infant and young children. We run a lot of different experiments using a wide range of techniques (EEG, fMRI, NIRS, Eyetracking) But when I became interested in baby laughter I realised that this was something that was quite tricky to study in a laboratory based setting. Babies, like grown ups, don’t laugh on demand. But they do laugh a lot. So an online survey seemed like a great way to approach the problem.
How did you come up with this methodology? What was your approach to the project design?
We have three strands to our method. Firstly there is a fairly detailed online questionnaire for parents to respond about the times, places, people and games that make their baby laugh, together with some demographic information and a standard measure of temperament. This takes about 20-30 mins to fill in. Which can be quite demanding for a parent of a new child. So we also request short ‘field reports’ on single particular situations where the baby laughed. Finally, we encourage parents to share their videos of their babies laughing with us via youtube. The survey is the most controlled data but the field reports and youtube videos are very important in allowing a wider participation in the project and to make it appealing in a social media setting. Everyone loves videos of laughing babies!
How would you describe your project’s goals in one-two sentences.
We aim to take baby laughter seriously. We believe in can tell us interesting and useful new things about babies cognitive and emotional development. By conducting a large scale global survey of new parents we should be able to assemble enough data to see if this is true.
This project is run by Dr. Caspar Addyman at Birkbeck Babylab. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org