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Very preterm infants’ day-to-day interactions with caregivers: A data-driven approach to investigate the role of short-term processes in promoting social learning


   School of Nursing and Midwifery

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Overview: Infants born very preterm are at risk of cognitive difficulties. We plan to use intensive data collection methods to understand how daily social interactions between infants and their caregivers shape the development of learning skills. This might help devise tools to support very preterm infants’ learning from an early age.   

Infants born very preterm (gestational age 28 to <32 weeks) are at risk of cognitive delays. These delays are linked to disfunctions in attention and information processing that are evident by 1 year of age. The processes linking attention disfunctions and cognitive delays are not yet well understood.

This study will contribute to this gap by using innovative data collection and data-driven analytic methods. Parents of very preterm infants and at-term infants will provide intensive longitudinal data through smart-phone apps. Validated measures will provide information on infants’ abilities and behaviour, parenting, parental characteristics, and contextual factors. Data-driven approaches such as multi-level network analyses will enable insights into the short-term processes that drive long-term developmental change.

The aims of the study are to: (a) Investigate infant-caregiver interactions; (b) Use a data-driven analytic approach to understand how social interactions influence the way infants allocate attention and learn; (c) Investigate the moderating role of individual- and family-level factors.

The study has the potential to advance our understanding of individual differences in development and inform interventions that are increasingly tailored to infants’ and caregivers’ profiles of strengths and difficulties. 


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