"[People] often have the gut impulse that studying child development and [studying] how children think about the world are sort of self-evident," Feigenson says. "'Well, isn't it obvious? Don't you just look and see what they are doing?' No, it's not at all obvious. There are many, many cases where if you look deeper, what we think on the surface—our first guess—is totally wrong."
"It's reassuring to me as a scientist when the answer is the opposite of what I expected," Halberda adds. "It says, 'Hey! Doing science is important. You can't just, like, make it up.'"
Associate professors in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences' Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Feigenson and Haberda have separate spheres of research. Feigenson works primarily with babies, studying memory development and infant learning. Halberda studies older children and adults, focusing on language acquisition and how we construct mental representations of the world. But they also conduct research as a team on numerical abilities. About a thousand children a year pass through the lab, and many come back for other studies throughout their childhood.