Teach Maggie about transformations

Teach Maggie about transformations

Markman Lab (Stanford University)

Who Can Participate

For 8 year-olds

What Happens

In this research study, your child and a puppet called Maggie will meet Andy, who is working on an exciting project aimed at making transformations. Your child will have the opportunity to learn about Andy's project and participate by answering questions. Andy's project involves using various supplies to alter objects, such as a lamp. For example, Andy added a handle and made the top wider, resulting in a thing that looked like an umbrella. However, the transformed object still retains its purpose as a lamp, providing light, rather than taking on the purpose of an umbrella, which is to protect people from the rain. Your child will be encouraged to share their thoughts to Maggie on what they think the transformed object is.

What We're Studying

Previous research has shown that adults tend to categorize objects based on their purpose, even when they are changed to look different. Here we are studying how children categorize objects when their appearances are altered. Specifically, we want to know if knowing the purpose of an object affects how children categorize it. For example, if a hotplate looks like a clock after undergoing a change, but still only heats up and doesn't tell time, what do children think it is? Do they consider it a hotplate or a clock? Our focus is on human made objects like clocks and toasters, as well as living things that can move on their own, such as cats and fish. By doing this study, we hope to gain insights into the cognitive processes underlying children's categorization judgments.


15 - 20 minutes


You will receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card for participating in this study. To be eligible for the gift card, your child must be in the age range for this study and your child needs to be visible in the study video. Please also note that you must submit a valid consent statement. Each child is eligible to participate in the study and receive a gift card only once. We will send a gift card even if you do not finish the whole study or we are not able to use your child's data. Gift cards will be sent within one week of study completion. Please note that we can only offer Amazon gift cards. Thanks for your understanding.

This study is conducted by Ellen Markman (contact: stanford.markman.lab@gmail.com)

Would you like to participate in this study?