In this ongoing project we investigate an ability that lies at the heart of cognition: to learn and to apply rules. We ask whether infants (from 5 to 12 months-old) can learn abstract algebraic rules over patterned syllable sequences and generalize those rules to novel syllable sequences. Despite the large research effort on the topic, questions remain about the robustness of the core finding, as many studies failed to find significant learning effects. We believe that a multi-lab approach with a large and diverse sample of infants has the potential to uncover whether and to what extent this core cognitive ability is available in young infants and how it varies across age and different developmental circumstances.


Ingmar Visser, Claartje Levelt, Melanie Soderstrom, Andreea Geambasu


For a detailed index of collaborators (+ institutions, countries, studies), check the MB collaborator dashboard:


Stimuli created, finalising design and pre-registered report, waiting for labs to open up to run pilots.


We encourage everyone who is interested in the project to contribute and/or contact the project leads by e-mailing: I.Visser [at], c.c.levelt [at], M_Soderstrom [at], a.geambasu [at]

Please note that access to infants/infant lab is not a prerequisite.