Laboratory for Developmental (and Cuteness!) Studies
January 20, 2011 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Harvard University’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies, colloquially known as the "Baby Lab" is an important center for research into human development. The various research groups at the Baby Lab cover many different areas; Felix Warneken's lab, for example, studies the development of human cooperation, while Elizabeth Spelke is concerned with determining what knowledge human infants are born with. Researching human development certainly produces fascinating findings, but there are perhaps stronger reasons why the lab might hold interest for a layperson. I'm talking, of course, about adorable videos of human and chimpanzee toddlers which have been produced by its researchers.

Note: these videos were actually filmed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, but one of the researchers who worked on them, Felix Warneken, is now a professor at the Harvard Laboratory for Developmental Studies.
posted by ocherdraco (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
These are fabulous! I like how in the last one, before the chimp gives the lid back to the researcher, he examines it as a possible toy/food for himself and only once he decides there's nothing in it for him, does he give it up. That chimp has the soul of Dick Cheney!
posted by VikingSword at 1:30 PM on January 20, 2011

What the hell is wrong with Mr. Adult over there? Why can't he put something on top of a stack? Maybe he's a bit unbalanced... I'd better do it for him so he doesn't get frustrated and violent.
posted by gurple at 1:44 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

That chimp has the soul of Dick Cheney!

So that's where it went...
posted by candyland at 3:22 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Absolutely fantastic. (although I was really hoping there was a video with both toddlers and baby chimps working together to escape a cage or something)
posted by cyphill at 4:39 PM on January 20, 2011

Ah, Harvard. With its easy access to toddlers and chimps.
This is why you want study hard in high school, kids.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:56 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was really hoping there was a video with both toddlers and baby chimps working together to escape a cage or something

Or toddlers working together to escape a cage full of chimps.
posted by dgaicun at 5:11 PM on January 20, 2011

I participated in a study at the Baby Lab a little while ago as a favor to a friend who was a postdoc there. It was kind of a strange experience, all told, being surrounded by toys, very short furniture, and glassy eyed grad students. And I suspect I really confused some people by not being a child or parent when I wandered in. I'm still not exactly sure what it was all for, some kind of language acquisition study, more than likely, but now I'm mildly disappointed that I didn't get to square off against a chimp or cage full of toddlers!
posted by Diagonalize at 7:18 PM on January 20, 2011

I would like to call special attention to the cabinet video, for the delightfully inept grownup, the child's combination of concern and mild disbelief, and the inexplicable pickax leaning against the wall.
posted by heyforfour at 7:03 AM on January 21, 2011

i would like to include a toddler, a chimp, and a border collie in my next work environment. and clothespins.
posted by Geameade at 9:46 AM on January 21, 2011

Every time a child makes things better, I am made horribly uncomfortable by the lack of praise. I know it's an experiment, but I also can see a small child that deserves at least an emphatic "Thank you!".
posted by Goofyy at 9:58 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Why just a child? I was pretty uncomfortable that the chimp wasn't praised. It was just as helpful, if not more.
posted by DU at 5:13 AM on January 24, 2011

« Older Squirrel fishing. Go nuts.   |   Google, mobile computing, and augmenting humanity Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments