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About us

More than a lab, we're a community!

We're a group of researchers who study infant development. Learn more about who we are (our mission, vision, values) below.

The ELAN lab

More than a lab, we're a community!

Image by Adam Miller


What do we do?

We adopt an ecological and interactionist approach to the study of infant development.

Image by NASA


Why do we do it?

To steer developmental psychology towards ecological and interactionist enterprises, to provide lasting knowledge.

Image by Tobias Mrzyk


How do we do it?

Our guiding principles are curiosity and the pursuit of truth; transparency and open communication; inclusivity and collaboration.

Our Mission and Vision

The ability to adapt to different environments is at the core of human development. Human newborns are endowed with highly plastic brains and a prolonged period of childhood which enables them to harness their brain plasticity to increase the fit between themselves and the environment. This ability enabled our ancestors to spread to all environments on Earth. It is a fundamental characteristic of the human species. And yet, we know surprisingly little about the process. This is partly due to the dominant methodological practice which (1) eliminates important context, (2) restricts infants' movement, and (3) isolates levels of analysis. These methods are useful for showing what infants can do in the lab, but not for explaining how or why they develop these capacities, nor whether or how these capacities are used in the child’s (more complex) natural environment.


Our mission, therefore, is to revolutionise how we study infant development by implementing a more ecological and interactionist approach, studying how infants actively explore and learn in their natural environment, and relating detailed environmental measures with multi-level experimental and observational data in the same infants across cultures and over developmental time. Ultimately, we want to explain rather than describe how and why individual children differ, and we want to change how infants are studied.
Through this approach, we aim to:
   • Make a significant contribution to our understanding of how early cognitive abilities emerge in typically and atypically developing populations.
   • Pave the way to interventions that help people live happier lives.
   • Provide a supportive and stimulating environment to train the next generation of research scientists.


Our Values

Motivated from an early age by unbounded curiosity (about our past history, dinosaurs, cosmology, you name it!), I have always sought to understand the world. Our guiding principle is therefore curiosity and the pursuit of truth.
To seek truth, like all scientists since Galileo and Newton (see my blog), we adopt the skeptical stance, an appeal to reason and evidence.
But curiosity and the pursuit of truth are human enterprises. The behaviours we value most are therefore humanist and include reason, compassion, and understanding; and a commitment to open communication, honesty, transparency, inclusivity, and collaboration.

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