1.31.2011

RoboAlex

Alex was participating in a Baby Study through Cornell's psychology department. We had to get there at 9am on the first day of the study. When we woke up that morning, it was -16 degrees. We were running behind so we didn't give the car very much time to warm up. The car was freezing and Alex, the-boy-who-won't-wear-gloves, quickly started crying that his hands were cold. We were about five minutes down the road when we got to a big hill. Sam's car started losing power and when we were about twenty feet from the top of the hill, it shut off. This road had no shoulder so we were just sitting in the middle of our lane. I jumped out of the car and tried to push it; I think it rolled back down the hill a few feet. So then Sam jumped out and he tried pushing it; it was a really steep, icy hill so we lost a few more feet. Meanwhile, Alex is still crying about his hands.

Sam came up with the brilliant idea to let the car roll back down the hill and "push" start the car. Amazingly, it worked. So we were back on our way to the Baby Study. That was an adventurous start to our day. I am starting to think I should have a tow company on speed dial. Snow in Ithaca is like having a kid; no matter how much you clean today, it's just going to be messy again tomorrow.

The Baby Study was really interesting. They were researching how kids 15-18 months old learn words from video. They had him wear special overalls with velcro so he could carry around the battery pack himself and it was out of the way. Then the hat had velcro for the camera to attach to. They were able to put everything on him without him even noticing. On the first day, they showed him a new toy on the video and gave it a weird name. They were letting him push a button during that time. The second day, they held up two toys and asked him to find the weird-named toy. Then the camera in front of his eye recorded if he looked at the right toy. I was amazed because he was looking at the right toy! They also did it with more recognizable toys like balls, books, shoes, and dogs. The researcher's hypothesis is that by Alex pushing a button and changing the picture, he was interacting with the show and would therefore learn more from it.

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I told my family how cold it was that day, and my dad said, "Yikes! Make sure the window sill walker doesn't stick his tongue to the glass!" I laughed about that for a long time.

4 comments:

Buck and Whitni Watkins said...

That is so neat you get to participate in that study. I miss you guys. Did you know I didn't get to see Alex once the entire time you were down in Arizona. I was totally bummed. But that's ok I saw you and that's what I really wanted.

Spencer and Anna said...

This is really cool. I bet the psychologist in you got all excited. :) And I'll get you that Thanksgiving picture as soon as I can.

Ali and Andrew said...

Wow that's so cool! And hey tomorrow our high is 48*!!! WTH??? And thanks for the blog compliment ;) I tend to get bored with it really easily so I change it a lot but I really like this one ;) Let me know if you ever want some help with yours or anything ;) (not that you need it, yours is tinkin cute all on your own)

The Paxton Family said...

What a cutie! Of course he learned it fast, he's a smart one! ;-)
Sorry you guys seem to have so much car trouble lately! Jordan and I lost 3 cars in the first few years together, I think that's why when we finally had to buy another car, we bought a BRAND NEW one with only 6 miles on it ;-) of course, we still have it and it's given us NO trouble despite that fact that we've owned if for almost 5 years now and it has almost 200,000 miles on it! yeah, we drive a lot.

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