“The baby, assailed by eyes, ears, nose, skin, and entrails at once, feels it all as one great blooming buzzing confusion”- William James
I was immensely proud to watch our Ph.D. student Amy Datyner walk across the stage today in the Clancy Auditorium to receive her Ph.D. and Master of Psychology (Clinical) degrees. Amy joined the lab in 2012, already a year into her Masters program. Her research interests centre around empathy development in infants and preschoolers and during her Ph.D. she used tiny sensors to record the activity produced by muscles on the face while children were looking at pictures of different emotions (read more about this method here). She was particularly interested to see whether babies and young children automatically "mimic" facial expressions of emotion like we do as adults. Consistent with studies of adults, her results found that when infants and children looked at pictures of happy faces, the muscles in the cheek that would produce a smile contracted. Unexpectedly though, when infants and children looked at pictures of angry faces, she didn't see any activation of the muscles in the brow. Her results show that infants and children mimic some emotional expressions but not others, which has important implications for our understanding of how emotion sharing responses develop. Read more about Amy's work in our blog post here.
Congratulations Amy from all of us!
I am the Director of the Early Learning Project at UNSW. My research interests focus on learning, memory and emotion understanding development in infancy and early childhood
I am currently studying for my undergraduate Psychology degree at Cardiff University in the UK. I am working as a Research Assistant in the Early Learning Project as part of our placement program this year.
I have just finished my thesis for my honuors degree. My research focused on future thinking ability in preschoolers.