Researchers at Texas A&M enlist the help of babies for study

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) Researchers at Texas A&M are figuring out at what age babies can recognize human or mechanical objects. To help, they have enlisted babies from the Brazos Valley.

Walter Brower is nine-months-old and getting a diploma from Texas A&M for completing sessions with the university's infant cognition lab. His mother, Tracy Brower, earned a Ph.D. from A&M.

"It’s good to know that everything that you're doing is actually building up their experiences to help them, their development, and their future relationships and understanding of the world,” said Brower.

The lab found that babies 3-18 months of age can distinguish the difference between humans and mechanical objects. Researchers also found that babies are more likely to pay attention and learn about events from a human hand versus a mechanical one, and even more so when that hand is familiar to them.

"So, if they're finding human interaction with tools a very intriguing kind of event and there's a lot of learning that goes on during that point in time, it can give parents, and caretakers, and eventually educators information about the conditions or the kinds of experiences that babies find salient and they're doing a lot of learning during those experiences,” said Dr. Theresa Wilcox, Professor and Director of the Infant Cognition Lab at A&M.

The lab is one of the first to record the brain activity in babies while they process events and objects using neuroimaging technology. Brower says the studies are beneficial to the growth of future generations, and to her family.

"It's cool to bring your other kids, or even to tell when they get older, but to tell your kids 'this is a cool thing that you're a part of and that we can help with, to kind of broaden their perspective in that way,” said Brower.

The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, and participates in national and international conferences. The researchers will be presenting their most recent findings at the Society for Research and Child Development in San Antonio in April.

If you are interested in signing your baby up to participate in the study, you can book an appointment via email at InfantCogLab@tamu.edu, or online at the link below.