I am a proud Rutgers University graduate (RU-UC ’04), and while I was there I majored in theoretical linguistics, but had to take a lot of applied linguistics classes in order to graduate. Applied linguistics is a little more fun, it covers anthropology and the psychology of language. While I was at RU, I had heard of their Early Learning Lab project that ran little studies on infant cognition. It is basically proving infants are capable of learning, in a fun way. There’s a few different stages of experiments based on age, beginning at 3 months. So even back then, I thought it was kind of cool, and filed it away for “things to do later”.
Well, now it’s later and I had completely forgotten about it until I received a mailer from them about a month ago. I called them up and enrolled little Noopy pretty much right away. Today he had his first home visit, from a really nice person named Stella. It was a really simple task – all he had to do was be in front of 2 puppets for 2 minutes. Stella videotaped him on my lap, looking at the puppets. They will review the video later and see which one he looked at longer. I felt bad, our dog was walking around the whole time. But Noopy was really good, he had just woken up from his nap. Stella was happy he didn’t fuss or anything, haha, and so was I.
Stella is coming back Thursday and Friday to do two more things with other puppets. She gave us homework in the meantime! I have to have a cow puppet and a mouse puppet around in Noopy’s eyesight when he is playing, and he has to be near them for an hour today and an hour tomorrow. I clipped them to the top of his playmat, next to his soft rattles that hang from it. She said we could break up the hour, because no baby can play for an hour straight. We went 20 minutes before he needed to do something else. I thought that was pretty good. When she comes back, she will introduce another puppet and see which one he prefers, the new one or the one he’s familiar with.
Noopy will get a certificate of achievement, and I will have something to tell him about when he’s older, how he helped out a neat study on infant learning when he was only 3 months old!