Su-hua Wang

(831) 459-2353

Baby Lab

At the Infant Development Lab we explore how learning occurs in the first few years of life. Learn more

Research Interests

My research lab investigates cognitive development situated in sociocultural contexts, including technology, parent-child interaction, and children’s play.

We study children’s use of interactive technologies to see how it affects communication and children’s development. For example, in a current project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF 1617253), we collaborate with researchers in Computational Media, Computer Science, and the medical fields (Otolaryngology and Speech Pathology) to study how interactive technologies facilitate cleft speech therapy at home for children from 2 to 5 years old; we do so by drawing on evidence-based developmental findings in the participatory design process.

Our research on parent-child interaction shows that when attempting to teach their babies, parents provide the type of guidance that is supported by their unique cultural values and beliefs. These cultural variations in parental guidance underscore the importance of considering diverse approaches and activities in studying or supporting young children's learning.

We also continue our research program on infant cognition. This work shows that infants under a year of age can learn a new concept through watching just a few examples, and that hands-on experience reduces the amount of examples needed. Furthermore, infants transfer their learning across different modalities, from visual perception to hands-on action, and vice versa.

Additionally, our work on theory of mind shows an early ability in children to match linguistic cues to intentional actions in the context of humor. Toddlers as young as 15 months attend to emotional information in speech (i.e., whether it was humorous or sweet) and expect the speaker’s action to match the utterance (i.e., whether she should act in a humorous or sweet manner).




Psyc 10: Intro to Developmental Psychology

Psyc 118C: Theory of Mind Development

Psyc 119E: The World of Babies

Psyc 194A: Advanced Developmental Research


Psyc 225: Intro to Developmental Research

Psyc 244A: Cognitive and Language Development

Psyc 247: Special Topics in Developmental Psychology

Psyc 290C: Professional Development