SLD Lab

Laboratory of Research on Social & Language Development

The SLD-Lab, Laboratory of Research on Social & Language Development, brings together research interests and expertise in studying early social interactions and communication and language development.

Main research areas

Infant Research
The research investigates the first processes of infant mental development by focusing on the dynamic of parent-infant communication in the very first months of life. The analysis is aimed mainly to shed light on factors underlying individual differences in developmental trajectories. Cross-cultural studies and studies with at-risk populations (very preterm infants) are included.

Language acquisition and development
The research investigates the interaction and role of perceptual-motor, cognitive and social factors in child communication and language acquisition and development. The analysis is aimed mainly to shed light on factors underlying individual differences in acquisition of communicative and linguistic skills. In addition to basic research with typical population, clinical and applied research with atypical (DLD, CIs) and at-risk (low-income, immigrant) populations is included in this area.
Our studies include the use of observational methods to analyse parent-infant/child and peer-child interactions in naturalistic and structured contexts, experimental procedures, and standardized assessment tools. Findings from our studies have implications for educational and clinical practice. Findings can inform early intervention programs with families and nursery/preschool teachers of children with developmental vulnerabilities. Intervention programs are implemented through collaboration with local educational and health services.

International collaborations

The SLD-Lab maintains a network of international collaborations with:

  • Communication Sciences Lab, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York
  • Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Istitute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York, UK
  • Hogeschool and University of Ghent, BE

Training activities

The SLD-Lab provides training activities and possibility to participate in research activities, both on the field and in the laboratory, for graduate students, trainees in Psychology and PhD students.
The SLD-Lab team is also involved in training activities for educators in nursery schools and preschool teachers.