Infant Vocal, Motor, and Communication Development

"I enjoy the visits the most because it is direct contact with the participants in the study.  It is awesome to see the differences in motor and language ability in a 3.5 month old child versus a 1 year old.  Not to mention, the kids are super cute! I am learning more about autism and language and motor development in general, which is what I hoped to get out of this lab as a Communication Sciences and Disorders major."


Supervising Faculty:

Jana Iverson



Jana Iverson
3415 Sennott Square
Department of Psychology


Area of Research:  Developmental psychology, infant vocal, motor, and communication development


Description of Research:

The Infant Communication Lab studies the nature and development of the relationship between motor activity, postural stability, communication, and language in infants at risk for autism and infants with no such risk. Current projects focus on four major topics: a) how changes in motor activity and postural stability relate to advances in other developmental domains; b) how motor planning develops over time; c) how communication, gesture, and language develop over time in infants; and d) how caregivers’ communication with infants changes over time.


Duties of Students:

Students will work closely with graduate students and staff to collect data at in-home observations. Transportation to observations will be provided.  Duties will include equipment preparation and clean-up, videotaping infant participants, using audio equipment, and playing with older siblings.  Students will also assist with data processing, data entry, and coding of infant vocal, motor, and communication behaviors using a computer-based observation system.


Additional Information:

For more information about Dr. Iverson's research opportunity, please see lab website


Additional Requirements:

  •    GPA of 3.5 or higher
  •    Only students who can commit to 10 hours per week for two-semesters
  •    At least one 4-hour block of time available per week for home visits
  •    Comfortable with and interested in working with families and young infants
  •    Dependability, excellent organizational skills, and attention to detail
  •    Ability to work with a team
  •    Good computer skills (familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel, Access)
  •    Willingness to learn new tasks
  •    Able to attend mandatory lab meetings on Wednesdays 
  •    Able to obtain Act 33 (PA Child Abuse), Act 34 (PA Criminal Record) and Act 73 (FBI Background) clearances
  •   To apply, send a resume or CV to Dr. Iverson


Terms offered: fall, spring and summer


Number of Students: This varies by term, but generally 2-3 students are accepted into the program per semester.