skip to content


The study will take place at the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge.

We are recruiting infants between 6- and 7- months-old.

What is the purpose of the study?
The project consists of analysing how infants’ social behaviour develops over the first year of life using a baby-friendly brain imaging method that uses light to safely map the function of the brain.  It’s a neuroimaging technique based on what is called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

What will happen if I take part?

You will be asked to visit the Cambridge Babylab on one occasion. We have toys and snacks to keep your child entertained and we try to make your visit as fun as possible.

Your infant will always be with you during your visit to the Babylab. During the study the baby will be seated on a parents’ lap and will watch some carefully designed videos while wearing our brain imaging device. All the pictures and sounds are designed to be engaging for the infant, and the experiment will end if they are not enjoying the experience.

We will ask you to help us to put on a hat on your infant which contains light sources and detectors. This device uses red light to map brain oxygenation. The basis of this technique is similar to the methodology routinely used to monitor oxygen saturation in medical settings.

Putting the hat on will take a couple of minutes while we adjust the size to your child. Next, we will have you play with your baby while they are wearing the cap and try to make them laugh. These videos and interactions will allow us to look at the neural basis for the processing and production of laughter as a measure of social behaviour in infants. 

The study is part of a wider project based at Addenbrookes hospital - NHS approved. The study will last for around 1 hour.

How are we ensuring you and your family, as well as the Cambridge Babylab Researchers are as safe as possible in the current climate?

We have developed innovative ideas to make the Lab space safe for you and your family to visit, so we can begin testing again. See this document to understand the COVID-19 related changes we are making. These will be updated every few weeks according to the most up-to-date Government Guidelines.

If you are interested in participating in this research study, then please contact either the Cambridge Babylab (, or Addison Billing directly (