Do babies pay attention to ratios?

Do babies pay attention to ratios?

Quantitative Development Lab (Rutgers University)

Who Can Participate

For 6-month-old babies

What Happens

In this study, your baby will sit in a high chair or on your lap and look at pictures of orange and blue shapes. The proportion of shapes that are orange will be different in some pictures. We will measure how long your baby looks at each picture.

What We're Studying

The purpose of this study is to better understand how children reason about numbers. Specifically, this study is about how babies think about ratios like “there are twice as many orange dots as blue dots.” We do this by showing babies pictures of different ratios and measuring how long they pay attention when seeing the same ratio over and over again or a new ratio they haven’t seen yet. For example, “6 orange and 3 blue” is the same ratio as “10 orange and 5 blue” because both are “twice as many orange” but “8 orange and 2 blue” is a new ratio (four times as many orange as blue). We also compare the looking behavior of babies who see color ratios within a single rectangle and babies who see color ratios within a set of dots. Research like this helps us understand babies’ earliest number and math abilities, which helps us learn how math concepts like fractions and counting develop.


10 minutes


Within two weeks of participating in this study, we will email you a $5 USD gift card to or (you will be able to select your preference). To be eligible for the gift card your child must be in the age range for this study, you need to submit a valid consent statement, and we need to see that there is a child with you during the study. Each child will only receive a gift card once for participating. You are eligible to receive the gift card even if you do not finish the whole study or if we cannot use your child's data.

This study is conducted by Michelle Hurst (

Would you like to participate in this study?