Katarina Begus

I am interested in the transmission of cultural knowledge between adults and infants, with the focus on the infant as an active information-seeker. With my Ph.D. research, I aim to explore whether satisfying infants’ interests leads to enhanced learning; how are infants’ interests and the amount of information they seek affected by their general cognitive abilities, their culture and their parents’ responsiveness; and what are the neural mechanisms underlying the relationship between interest and learning in infants.

Over the past 5 years, I have been involved in applying and developing fNIRS methodology for use in infant neuroimaging studies, which, combined with my interest in environmental effects on infant development, lead to my involvement in The Gambia project. Within the project, my main responsibilities involved designing one of the paradigms used in the fNIRS protocol, studying neural underpinnings of working memory and object permanence, and relating it to the behavioural and anthropometric measures with the aim to study the potential impact of (mal)nutrition on these processes. I was responsible for collecting and analysing fNIRS data on the 2nd and 3rd visit, as well as ad hoc adaptations of testing protocol and equipment according to the demands of the testing environment.