Open developmental science

If you plan to attend the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) meeting in Baltimore later this week, you might be interested in some of the open science activities that will be taking place: On Friday, March 22, from 10-11:30 am, I am co-leading a conversation hour on the topic What SRCD is doing to address open science. We’ll focus on a set of new policies and guidelines to authors that the SRCD Task Force on Scientific Integrity and Openness produced.

Behavior is the linchpin

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has requested input on a draft strategic plan for 2020-2024. NICHD supports Databrary and PLAY, and it has supported my habituation modeling work in the past. The following is a draft response my colleagues and I are working on. Dear Dr. Bianchi: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the NICHD Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2020-2024.

In search of the ethogram

Psychology is in part, a science of behavior. Mental experience – thoughts and feelings – are also common targets of inquiry. I recently went looking for a systematic catalogue of behaviors that should, in theory, constitute the substance of what psychologists and other behavioral scientists study. My goal was to take that catalogue as a starting point for thinking about the relationship between information available for perception and the actions (behaviors) that this information informs.

Parameters for action

Several years ago, Florian Raudies, Swapnaa Jayaraman and I published a paper where we simulated the optic flow that infants would experience in different head/body postures. We computed cyclopian (one-eyed) flow on the basis of this schematic: Here, the key parameters were the instantaneous translation \((v_x{}, v_y{}, v_z{})\) and rotation \((\omega_{x}, \omega_y{}, \omega_z{})\) of the planar retina. Coupled with the optic flow equation, \(\begin{pmatrix}\dot{x} \\ \dot{y}\end{pmatrix}=\frac{1}{z} \begin{pmatrix}-f & 0 & x\\ 0 & -f & y \end{pmatrix} \begin{pmatrix}{v_x{}}\\ {v_y{}} \\{v_z{}}\end{pmatrix}+ \frac{1}{f} \begin{pmatrix} xy & -(f^2+x^2) & fy\\ f^2+y^2 & -xy & -fy \end{pmatrix} \begin{pmatrix} \omega_{x}\\ \omega_{y}\\ \omega_{z} \end{pmatrix}\)

The webs we weave

I’ve been ‘sketching’ out conceptual models for some time without realizing that there is an entire field of analysis where these sorts of diagrams are the starting point: Causal modeling. My introduction to this world was Judea Pearl’s The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect. Interested casual readers might also enjoy Steve Sloman’s excellent and delightfully clear Causal Models: How People Think About the World and Its Alternatives.