About us

The SLD-Lab

The SLD-Lab, Laboratory of Research on Social & Language Development, brings together research interests and expertise in studying early social interactions and communication and language development.

Main research areas

Infant Research

The research investigates the first processes of infant mental development by focusing on the dynamic of parent-infant communication in the very first months of life. The analysis is aimed mainly to shed light on factors underlying individual differences in developmental trajectories. 

This research area includes:

  • Cross-cultural studies aimed at identifying universal aspects and cultural specificities in early mother-infant interactions, socialization goals and parenting practices
  • Studies of early emotional development in typical and at-risk populations (very preterm infants)
Language acquisition and development

The research investigates the interaction and role of perceptual-motor, cognitive and social factors in child communication and language acquisition and development.

This research area includes:

  • studies on factors underlying individual differences in the acquisition of communicative and linguistic skills
  • studies aimed at analyzing traditional and digital literacy acquisition in preschool and primary school

Basic research with typical population, and clinical and applied research with atypical (DLD) and at-risk (CIs, low-income, immigrant) populations is carried out in this area.

Our studies involve the use of multimethod approaches such as the use of observational methods to analyze parent-infant/child and peer-child interactions in naturalistic and structured contexts, experimental procedures, and standardized assessment tools.

Findings from our studies have implications for educational and clinical practice. Findings can inform early intervention programs with families and nursery/preschool teachers of children with developmental vulnerabilities. Intervention programs are implemented through collaboration with local educational and health services.

International collaborations

The SLD-Lab maintains a network of international collaborations with:

  • Communication Sciences Lab, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York
  • Istitute of Cognitive Science, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York, UK
  • Hogeschool and University of Ghent, BE
  • Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK
  • Department of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Utrecht University, NL

Training activities

The SLD-Lab provides training activities and possibility to participate in research activities, both on the field and in the laboratory, for graduate students, trainees in Psychology and PhD students.
The SLD-Lab team is also involved in training activities for educators in nursery schools and preschool teachers.