The relationship between parent and infant is one of the most important and profound relationships two humans can have.

In order to understand more about this relationship, Dr Annette Henderson and I are working on a project called “DECOM”, or the “Deconstructing Early Communication” project. This project has been running for several years already at the Early Learning Lab at Auckland University (ELLa) where 8 mother-infant pairs have been followed across the first two years of life. These Mums and bubs have participated in many different games and tasks in order to identify and examine the kinds of behaviours and emotions that help to characterise the mother-baby relationship.

The data we gather from these interactions will help us understand more about how babies learn from their mothers, how mothers respond to their babies emotions and how these behaviours change over time.

Additionally, these data will help to inform and improve BabyX, a virtual baby, that we are creating with Associate Professor Mark Sagar and the Laboratory for Animate Technologies.