In this ongoing project, we extend MB3 investigation on the ability to learn and to apply rules by adding a non-invasive brain imaging technique to the experimental design: near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). With this addition, we may be able to identify neural correlates that inform whether and to what extent rules’ processing and learning are abstract, rule-based, and/or language specific. We may also be able to explore the time course of learning, thereby adjudicating between statistical mechanisms requiring extended time for sampling and faster symbolic mechanisms.

NIRS is a relatively new imaging technique. Variation across instruments, analysis pipelines, and laboratories is wide and standardization is currently lacking. Using NIRS in this large-scale collaborative project will provide us with the unique opportunity to discuss and solve some of these issues in a global network of experts in developmental research and brain imaging.


Judit Gervain


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


Working on data processing pipeline and preparing Stage 1 manuscript.


We encourage everyone who is interested in the project to contribute and/or contact the project leader by e-mailing: judit.gervain [at]

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