Why do we do it? Well, most of us like hearing the results of research, even if we wouldn't word it that way. What parent isn't interested in how kids learn? Or what's healthy to eat for growing kids? Or how much TV is recommended for each age (even if we just want to know so that we can ignore that guidelines when we see fit)? If other parents hadn't been willing to let their kids be studied, then we wouldn't know the answers to those questions and others.
Our first visit, that one ending in failure, was part of a study published in the journal Infancy, Changes in the Ability to Detect Ordinal Numerical Relationships Between 9 and 11 Months of Age. How was Jocelyn described? "Data from an additional 9 infants were discarded because of fussiness resulting in failure to complete at least four test trials." Yep, that's a fitting description!
However, the next couple of visits were successes:
- from the second study:
- The Development of Preschoolers’ Use of Tactile Information for Goal-Directed Actions
- Does Seeing Help? Preschoolers! Use of Tactile Information in a Tool-Use Task
- from the third study:
When we got to the car, the following conversation ensued:
Me: Did you do anything today with Skittles or M&Ms?Oh, how I love my precious lab rats!
Jocelyn: No. [pause] Why, Mommy?
Robbie: Please, I have some M&Ms, Mommy? Please?
Me: No, Robbie, I don't any M&Ms. Sorry, buddy!
Robbie: I not Buddy. Buddy is a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Me: Yes, Buddy is a T.Rex on Dinosaur Train. Jocelyn, some of the kids in this study were given a choice of getting a little bit of candy right away or waiting a little longer but getting more candy. Which do you think you would have chosen?
Jocelyn: To wait and get more candy.
Me: Are you sure? You would be willing to wait for more candy?
Jocelyn: Yeah, because if I just got a little candy, then I would eat it all, but if I waited and got more candy, then I would have some to share.
Robbie: Please, Jocy, you share candy with me, please?