Are you paying attention?

3 October 2021

External photo of Dundee Science Centre

The Dundee Science Centre (DSC) recently received a grant of £1.5 million for the expansion and redesign of the early years galleries for very young kids. Professor Malinda Carpenter, Geraldine Brown and Dr Amanda Seed; researchers from the School's Baby and Child Lab (ABC Lab), have been involved in the planning and development which includes a room dedicated to the testing of very young children.

The main focus of research undertaken in the dedicated space will be baby and child development, from Theory of Mind, prosocial behaviour, problem solving and learning. All of these areas are currently covered by researchers from the Baby and Child Lab. Malinda states that "Whatever we want to test with the children, we go to the Science Centre testing room, with our little games and apparatuses, sometimes puzzle boxes and the children have to solve puzzles, or we show them a video then ask them to answer some questions afterwards or whatever the test happens to be. It's all kinds of different topics and methods".

The new space does not negate the need for the ABC Lab in the School as they serve different purposes. For simple testing such as showing videos or presenting puzzle boxes, it is more efficient to test at the Science Centre, especially on weekends or school holidays when there are a lot of children visiting the Centre.  The ABC Lab within the School of Psychology and Neuroscience is ideal for testing younger children, including infants using laboratory equipment like an eye- tracker or thermal imager.

An exhibit on Joint Attention (one of the foci of Malinda’s research) has also been designed which will educate parents and guardians on the importance of sharing experiences with their children, talking about things together and expressing excitement when looking at the same things.  Joint Attention has many benefits for language, learning, cooperation, and social interaction. 

The Joint Attention exhibit will centre around a peep box which will have small holes where children and parents can peep in and see something interesting inside.  They will then look at it together, and through an activity they will talk about the different scenes. As Malinda points out "This is an active collaboration between us and the Dundee Science Centre; they are actively involved in helping us design it and talking about the details of it, it’s all very exciting".

There are further plans from Amanda and Geraldine to expand their outreach programmes hosted at the Dundee Science Centre and all involved look forward to continuing the knowledge exchange and collaboration with the Dundee Science Centre.




Dundee Science Centre