Emerging concepts of the world in early infancy
Developing humans are confronted with highly divers and often changing environments. How do basic concepts of the physical and social environment develop in early infancy? To tackle this question, I apply a multidisciplinary approach to study the early ontogeny of human cognition. In particular, I ask two questions: First, which are basic (cognitive and neural) mechanisms, which allow infants to acquire information from and adopt their behavior to the environment? Second, which critical social and cultural information that shape human cognitive development? With regard to the first question, I study basic cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie (i) the development of basic representations of and (ii) the understanding of others actions. For example, (i) I study the role of the theta rhythm in building up basic object representations and neural mechanisms in the motor cortex underling the acquisition of novel actions, using EEG. Furthermore, (ii) I investigate infants early understanding and prediction of others actions, using the eye-tracking. With regard to the second question, I study variation in early parent child interactions, to understand how perception and action learning are shaped by early cultural learning. Finally, I will present ongoing research projects in which I bring these two research questions together, to advance our understanding of human early cognitive development with a cross-cultural developmental neuroscience approach.