UW News

Andrew Meltzoff


April 27, 2017

Can early experiences with computers, robots increase STEM interest among young girls?

A young girl takes notice of a robot project at a college event promoting science to children.

Girls start believing they aren’t good at math, science and even computers at a young age — but providing fun STEM activities at school and home may spark interest and inspire confidence. A study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) finds that, when exposed to a computer-programming activity, 6-year-old…


April 19, 2017

More than recess: How playing on the swings helps kids learn to cooperate

boy swinging

A favorite childhood pastime — swinging on the playground swing set — also may be teaching kids how to get along. The measured, synchronous movement of children on the swings can encourage preschoolers to cooperate on subsequent activities, University of Washington researchers have found. A study by the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences…


December 21, 2016

Study: Children can ‘catch’ social bias through nonverbal signals expressed by adults

Little girl looking up with concerned look

Most conscientious adults tend to avoid making biased or discriminatory comments in the presence of children. But new research from the University of Washington suggests that preschool-aged children can learn bias even through nonverbal signals displayed by adults, such as a condescending tone of voice or a disapproving look. Published Dec. 21 in the journal…


November 15, 2016

Study provides insight into children’s race and gender identities

Diverse group of children

Children’s knowledge and use of race and gender labels have been well-explored by researchers, but how kids think about their own identities in those contexts, especially before adolescence, is less clear. A new study from the University of Washington provides a rare glimpse into how children perceive their social identities in middle childhood. The research…


September 7, 2016

Feeling they are part of a group increased preschoolers’ interest, success in STEM

A multi-ethnic group of elementary age children are sitting at a table with their teacher and are making shapes and crafts.

Cultivating young children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has become a leading educational priority, as experts predict that many future jobs will require substantial math and technology skills. Early education in STEM topics, as they’re known, is critical for boosting later success in school and attracting students to occupations in those fields. But…


March 21, 2016

Better safe than sorry: Babies make quick judgments about adults’ anger

Baby looks at people fighting, frightened

Adults often form fast opinions about each other’s personalities, especially when it comes to negative traits. If we see someone argue with another driver over a parking space, for instance, we may assume that person tends to be confrontational. Two new research studies with hundreds of 15-month-old infants demonstrate that babies form similar generalizations about…


December 1, 2015

UW roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

photos of gaze experiments

A collaboration between University of Washington developmental psychologists and computer scientists has demonstrated that robots can “learn” much like babies – by experiencing the world and eventually imitating humans.


November 2, 2015

Children’s self-esteem already established by age 5, new study finds

stock photo of children dressed as superheroes

By age 5 children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers.


September 30, 2015

Math and me: Children who identify with math get higher scores

How strongly children identify with math (their math “self-concept”) can be used to predict how high they will score on a standardized test of math achievement, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington.


September 8, 2015

UW scientists are pioneering research on ‘body maps’ in babies’ brains

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For more than half a century, scientists have studied how the surface of the body is mapped in parts of the brain associated with touch. That research has focused largely on “body maps” that show how certain parts of the brain correspond point-for-point with the body’s topography. These body maps have been studied extensively in…


August 24, 2015

To get girls more interested in computer science, make classrooms less ‘geeky’

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Women lag behind men in the lucrative computer science and technology industries, and one of the possible contributors to this disparity is that they’re less likely to enroll in introductory computer science courses. A new study of 270 high school students shows that three times as many girls were interested in enrolling in a computer…


July 27, 2015

Babies’ brains show that social skills linked to second language learning

an example of gaze shifting

New findings by researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington demonstrate for the first time that an early social behavior called gaze shifting is linked to infants’ ability to learn new language sounds.


April 8, 2015

Game played in sync increases children’s perceived similarity, closeness

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What helps children who have just met form a connection? A new study shows that a simple game played together in sync on a computer led 8-year-olds to report a greater sense of similarity and closeness immediately after the activity. Children who played the same game but not in a synchronous way did not report…


February 11, 2015

How to interest girls in computer science and engineering? Shift the stereotypes

Guy laying on grass, using laptop. URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/49889874@N05/4768870493/

Women have long been underrepresented among undergraduates in computer science and engineering for a complex variety of reasons. A new study by University of Washington researchers identifies a main culprit for that disparity: inaccurate stereotypes depicting computer scientists and engineers as geeky, brilliant and socially awkward males. And they say broadening those stereotypes is key to…