Symbol Learning

Symbol Learning

Berkeley Early Learning Lab (UC Berkeley)

Who Can Participate

For babies ages 11 to 14 months who reside in the US.

What Happens

During the study, your baby will sit on your lap or a high chair and watch short movies with sounds. Your baby will see movies teaching them different rules about different symbols and shapes. For example, they might see a video teaching them that when they see a star, they should look to the green box.

What We're Studying

This study investigates babies’ ability to learn different rules, and whether some rules are easier to learn than others. For example, if we first show babies that a star means they should look to a green box, is it easier to learn that a new symbol means they should look to the "not green" box when we combine the familiar symbol with another symbol (like a star surrounded by circles) than when we show them a completely new symbol (like a diamond)? Answers to these questions will help us learn how children might learn language using similar rules.


15 minutes


Within a week after you participate in this study, we will email you a $5 gift card which you can redeem at To be eligible for the gift card: 1) your child must be in the age range for this study, 2) you need to submit a valid consent statement, and 3) we need to see that there is a child with you. You and your child do not need to finish the whole study to receive the gift card; however, if this is the case, please let the researchers know so that you can receive your compensation. Each participant can only participate in this study once.

This study is conducted by Fei Xu (contact:

Would you like to participate in this study?