Baby – I’m Taking you Around the World!

Judy DeLoache speaking on Thursday at the APS 23rd Annual Convention.

Judy DeLoache speaking on Thursday at the APS 23rd Annual Convention.

“Write a child-care manual for your society. Give Dr. Spock type advice about child care.”

You might be rather confused as to what the above title might suggest. Well, it is an actual term paper assignment handed out by Judy S. DeLoache when she taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. DeLoache, whose primary area of research is early cognitive development, asked her upper level undergraduate students to pick a traditional non-Western society and share their research about child caring beliefs and practices in that particular society. The term papers were so outstanding that DeLoache rewrote the term papers into a book – “A World of Babies.”

In her seminar on Thursay at the APS 23rd Annual Convention entitled “What Can Students Learn from ‘What Do Babies Learn From Baby Media?’” DeLoache highlighted a certain elaborate exercise that is practiced by a certain society in Western Africa – the mother holds the baby by their ankles and by one hand. While Western society might consider this a form of child abuse, this elaborate exercise ritual is supposed to be essential for the child’s development. By demonstrating the various infant caring and rearing practices around the world, DeLoache is able to broaden a student’s horizon and allow them to explore their interests beyond the classroom. Learning about beliefs and practices around the world will challenge them and it is more than just summarizing the literature that is out there. Students need to think out of the box and explore the world and how people across a myriad of cultures raise their babies.

Check out Judy discussing her paper published in Psychological Science:

Parents spend millions of dollars on videos and DVDS designed and marketed specifically for infants and very young children every year. But do they work? Judy DeLoache, from the University of Virginia, just published a study in Psychological Science which presents empirical evidence that infants who watched an unidentified baby video did not actually learn the words that the video purported to teach.

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