Infant Action Cognition Lab at StFX

Infant action cognition lab IACL stfx

Have you heard of the Infant Action Cognition Lab (IACL)? Infants 4-months and older, and their parent/guardian residing in Antigonish and surrounding areas, can volunteer in a fun research study at our child-friendly lab at the St. Francis Xavier University!

Our studies involve exploring toy objects and watching others explore objects on our eye tracker, to help us learn about how infants learn! We investigate how babies learn to understand and perform actions as well as how babies understand the actions of others around them. This information can be useful in helping us understand what babies know about things like an object’s weight, or motion such as walking. It can also help to inform interventions in the future to facilitate learning.

You can set up an appointment for anytime that works for you and your baby (usually 9:00-4:00pm Monday to Friday, but we are flexible).

The studies take place in J. Bruce Brown (Biology building) and we have free designated parking available.

Heres’ what to expect:

As you pull into the parking lot off Notre Dame Avenue, you will be greeted by a lab member who will provide a parking pass and direct you to the nearest parking space. The lab member may be one of our friendly senior researchers or undergraduate research assistants, and if you want, will help you carry things while accompanying you to our research lab (room 334B).

Once you and your baby are ready, we will review the study with you and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have. You will also be told that your participation is strictly confidential, and that you are welcome to withdraw from the study at any point if you wish. After you’ve signed a study consent form, we will have you fill out a brief demographics form asking some very general information (e.g., age of siblings). Then we will begin the study! Most studies are 20-30 minutes but could range up to 60 minutes.

IACL Eyetracker
IACL Eyetracker

Throughout the study, we can take breaks as you or your baby may need. Diaper changes and feeding are welcome at any time. We have a diaper changing station and are a breastfeeding friendly environment. We can also accommodate for other children (e.g., older siblings) that have accompanied you to the appointment.

Most studies involve sitting with your baby on your lap as they explore an object or having your baby watch a short video clip (45-90 seconds) while we track their eye movements. For some studies, we apply reflective markers over areas of your baby’s arms or legs so that we can measure how they are moving. For example, we do a study about stepping experience where we would have you support your baby’s weight over a baby treadmill while they take steps with reflective markers on their legs so we can learn about their movement patterns. All of our studies are intended to be a positive and playful experience for babies!

This information can be useful to help facilitate learning during caregiver-infant interactions and help design interventions for infants at-risk for developmental delays.

IACL stfx 3
IACL stfx 4

At the end of the appointment, you will be offered a certificate with your baby’s picture on it as a keepsake.

The overall theme of work in the lab is to investigate how babies learn to understand and perform actions (e.g., with toys, or walking), as well as understand the actions of others around them.

The two competing ideas that we evaluate with our studies are: Do babies only understand other peoples’ actions after they have learned to do the actions themselves (i.e., “that person is like me”)? Or, do babies need to first understand other peoples’ actions before they can learn to carry out the action themselves (i.e., “I’m like you”).

Interested in volunteering? Contact us at (902) 867-5411 to up an appointment.

Megan MacGillivray PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Infant Action and Cognition Lab |  ANChoR Lab
StFX University | Department of Psychology 
Phone 902-867-5411

IACL stfx 5

Spring & Summer Activities 2019

Antigonish Spring Summer activities 2019

Looking for Spring and Summer activities for children? Take a look at the following updated list containing activities available in our area.

  • 3D Archery Shoot For more information call 735-3800 or 386-2325
  • Antigonish Celtics Soccer Club For more information click here
  • Antigonish County Recreation-Aquatics Programs. For more information click here
  • Antigonish Girl Guides For more information click here
  • Antigonish Minor Baseball Association For more information click here
  • Antigonish Minor Football Association For more information contact antigonishfootball@gmail.com
  • Antigonish Minor Softball Association For more information click here
  • Antigonish Rowing Club For more information call 863-5701, antigonishrowing@gmail.com
  • Antigonish Track Club – Track & Field Clinics For more information click here or contact stfxtandfclub@gmail.com
  • Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre Camps For more information click here
  • Highland Touch Football (ages 16+) For more information call 870-5572
  • Horseback Riding Lessons For more information click here
  • Junior Tennis For more information call 867-5596, recreation@townofantigonish.ca
  • PC Cooking School Classes for kids and teens For more information click here.
  • Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library (PARL)
    Offers activities for children in English and in French. Regular Programs & Summer programs
    Check out the MakerSpace too! For more information click here
  • X-Chem Outreach Science Odyssey Workshop  Click here for details & take a look at the Summer 2019 schedule available here.
  • Wee Lads and Lassies Track & Field Program (ages 5-12) For more information click here or call 867-5596

And some upcoming local events:    

  • Antigonish Mayfest 2019
Mayfest Antigonish 2019
  • World Oceans Day Antigonish 2019 
WORLD OCEANS DAY 2019

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Check out the Summer Camps and Year-round Sports & Activities for even more activities (e.g. swimming, music, etc.)

Snowman Wall of Fame 2019

snowman contest 2019

Here are the latest snowmen to enter the 3rd annual Snowman Contest 2019.

Her name is “Daisy May” and she was made by the children at Childrens Place Learning Centre (in Antigonish). She is 100% hand made by paper mache. 
His name is Frosty and he is waiting for some spring flowers to pop up. Submitted by the Macfarlane family (Antigonish).
Spring Snowbunny submitted by Darlene Van Oirschot.
Spring ball cap snowman submitted by the Vaughn family.
Snowmen family submitted by the Corkum family (St. Andrews). This is their ‘Snow Family Goes to the Beach to Look for Treasures’. “They are on the sand with their little son who also likes to dab! Sun protection is also important! Beach combing in the spring is something we like to do as a family to see what the ocean has tossed up after the winter”.
‘Building a snowman on a spring-like day’ submitted by the Bell family.
Irish snowman submitted by Catherine Sorrey
Ronald and Finlay enjoying their #readyforspringtocome snowman!
Shawnn and Flynn with their sweet Spring snowmen cookies!
Kennedy and Hallie Rose with their sweet Spring snowmen treats!
St. Peters’ Richmond Villa residents along with recreational director Karen Budden, recreation worker Martha and volunteer Paula, created these wonderful spring snowmen for the contest – “The residents had such an awesome afternoon with this project, which are currently displayed in the great Room for everyone to see.”
Bria sharing her sunglasses with her spring snowman.
“A Springy Birthday” by Lilien Gilham
“Spring friends” by Franky Gilham
Wood Ridge Spring Blossom snowman submitted by Johnny MacIsaac

Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy

Halloween chocolate candy

Celebrate Halloween this year by making your own spooky chocolate candy.

A simple way to do this is to use Halloween themed silicone ice trays as chocolate moulds.

The recipe for these melt-in-your-mouth treats requires only two ingredients: chocolate and sweetened condensed milk! All other add-ins are optional.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

Materials

◊ Halloween themed ice trays (I found these ice trays at the Superstore for $2.00!)

◊ Parchment paper (or wax paper)

chocolate molds 1

Ingredients

◊ 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate chips)

◊ 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

◊ 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

◊ 1 can sweetened condensed milk

◊ White icing (for decoration, optional)

◊ 1/4 cup red glace cherries, a.k.a candied cherries (optional)

 

Instructions

To make plain chocolates, prepare the semi-sweet chocolate chip mixture. For the marble chocolates, prepare two separate mixtures of your choice.

 

For the semi-sweet chocolate mixture

♦ In a medium glass bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1/2 cup condensed milk.

♦ Microwave for 30-45 seconds, until bubbly.

♦ Mix with a spoon. Place bowl or measuring in a bowl containing hot water, in order to prevent the mixture from hardening.

Halloween chocolate candy 5

For the butterscotch mixture

In a small glass bowl, combine the butterscotch chips with 1/4 cup condensed milk.

Microwave for 20-30 seconds, until bubbly.

Mix with a spoon. Place container in a bowl half-full of hot water, in order to prevent the mixture from hardening.

 

For the white chocolate mixture

In a small glass bowl, combine the white chocolate chips with 1/4 cup condensed milk.

Microwave for 20-30 seconds, until bubbly.

Mix with a spoon. Place container in a bowl half-full of hot water, in order to prevent the mixture from hardening.

 

Making the marble chocolate pumpkin candy (with cherries)

♦ Spray a thin layer of cooking spray inside each mold to prevent the chocolate from sticking to the silicone.

♦ Add a small amount of white chocolate mixture in the bottom of the mould.

halloween chocolate candy

♦ Add a bit of semi-sweet chocolate mixture on top

♦ Insert the cherries

Halloween chocolate candyHalloween chocolate candy

♦ Add a dollop of the chocolate mixture on top to cover the cherries.

halloween chocolate candy

♦ Place a piece of parchment paper (or wax paper) over top and press down firmly to allow for the mixture to penetrate the creases of the mould shape at the very bottom.

 

chocolate molds

♦ Slide the back of a butter knife over the parchment paper to remove any remaining bubbles at the top of the mould.

chocolate molds

♦ Slowly remove the parchment paper.

♦ Carefully remove overflowing mixture from the sides.

chocolate molds

Halloween chocolate candy

♦ Place in refrigerator.

♦ Let set for 3 hours or overnight.

♦ Gently pop the chocolates out of the mould.

Halloween chocolate candyHalloween chocolate candyhalloween chocolate candy with cherries

Making the spiders & spider web chocolate candy

Using the same technique as shown above, fill the web candies.

Add a bit of butterscotch in the spider moulds to highlight the insect.

Halloween chocolate candyHalloween chocolate candyHalloween chocolate candyHalloween chocolate candyHalloween chocolate candy

For an added touch, decorate the chocolates with icing, by tracing some of the details of the candy, as shown here with the spider webs.

Halloween chocolate candy

halloween chocolate candy

 

Halloween chocolate candy Halloween chocolate candy

Hope you have fun making similar Halloween treats 🙂

Homemade Halloween Candy pin

More Girls Should Be Doing This

code

by Erin Aucoin

I have a question for you.  Can you even remember the last time you spent a day without using technology?  Probably not, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  Computers and technology have become so engrained in our lives because they are extremely useful and computer science is arguably the fastest growing career field.  You would think that we, as a society would be encouraging everyone to take advantage of this and to be more computer literate.  But we’re not.

Only 30% of Math and Computer Science students in Canada1 are female even though the job prospects for computer science students are consistently among the most promising2. In a time where most of the revolutionary products are technology related, this statistic is very discouraging.

pie-chart

My name is Erin and I started a society for Women in Science at St. Francis Xavier University this year.  I was inspired to do so for a couple of reasons.  First, I am the only graduating female physics student this year and this has led to quite a few interesting conversations.  Secondly, I have spent two summers working for the X-Chem Science Camps at St.FX organizing the computer science camp and it was easy to see that the girls loved the activities just as much as the boys.  I think that there are a lot of fields of science and technology, which severely lack women.  A lot of really smart women don’t even consider a career in physics, engineering or computer science and this is a shame.

Women often think that coding isn’t for them because virtually all of the big names in tech are men (think of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk) and we rarely hear about the female pioneers of computer science Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson (featured in the movie Hidden Figures)

collage-pioneer-coders

Women pioneers in computer science: Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Katherine Johnson3,4,5

 

or the current female influencers in the field like Helen Greiner6 and Marissa Mayer7.

collage-new-coders

Current influencers in computer science, Helen Greiner and Marissa Mayer6,7

 

Beyond this, the most fun part of computer science, video games, are generally marketed towards boys.  Even though there twice as many women over 18 playing video games as boys under 18.

Computer science is everywhere so I think that EVERYONE should learn how to code!  With this week being Computer Science Education Week, it’s the perfect time to teach yourself a little bit of programming!

The great thing about computer science is how easy it is to start!  There are thousands of tutorials online which will teach you the basics of any programming language you want.  My favourites are Code.org, Scratch.mit.edu, and Codecademy.com.   The first two are especially great for kids because they let you start programming right away without having to learn any of the syntax (commas and semi-colons that have to be in just the right spot).

coding-game

Image retrieved from http://partners.disney.com/hour-of-code/wayfinding-with-code?cds

 

In my opinion, one of the most rewarding feelings is coding your first program, getting the computer to draw a red circle or add some numbers together or even just to say “Hello World!”  It doesn’t matter how much of a background you have in technology, you just have to decide to start!

Happy Computer Science Education Week!

 

erin-cropped-picture

Erin Aucoin, BSc Physics Student President of Women in Science Society erin.aucoin@stfx.ca

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Sources:

1 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2013001/article/11874-eng.htm

2 http://www.monster.ca/career-advice/article/highest-paying-degrees-in-canada-ca

3 https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ada-Lovelace

4 http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/code-and-the-quest-for-inclusive-software

5 https://www.nasa.gov/feature/katherine-johnson-the-girl-who-loved-to-count

http://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/best-industries-2016-drone-manufacturing.html

7 http://www.leadersbiography.com/marissa-mayer/