Observatory Lab

Research with children is particularly challenging for developmental psychologists because children - depending on their age - can provide no or only very limited information on their behavior and experience. Therefore, studies in developmental psychology have to be designed in ways that makes children's behavior (including motives, emotion, and reasoning) visible for others.

Our lab affords the opportunity to realize such studies in a child-friendly environment. Due to modern camera and video technology, children's behavior can be recorded and subsequently analyzed in detail.

The design of a study is generally arranged as follows: The child is welcomed and granted some time to adapt to the unfamiliar surroundings. The actual study follows after this period of time and confronts the child with a certain task in a playful way. In past research we tested for example how children argue when asked to cajole a hand puppet into eating a piece of broccoli or how they react when they are denied access to a desired toy.

Of course, the parents are present in the lab during the whole study. They get detailed background information about the task assigned to their child, and they can decide on the further use of the video recordings (e.g., as visual aids for academic teaching).