Research                                                       Leigh F. Bacher, Ph.D.
  Research Interests and Current Projects

I am most interested in the interaction between mind and body early in development.  Of particular interest are issues of behavioral organization and mechanisms of developmental change. Areas of research:

  • Spontaneous eye blinking in human infants (supported by NIH EY016238)
  • Development of reaching in human infants
  • Scientific thinking (developed in collaboration with Dr. Brad Wray, Philosophy)
  • World view formation (developed in collaboration with many students
  See descriptions below the table

Recent Work Author PDF file
Factors regulating eye blink rate in young infants (article) LFB OVS 2010
Links between spontaneous eye blinking and temperament in young infants (poster) LFB ICIS 2010
Sensitivity of the rate of spontaneous eye blinking to the type of stimuli in young infants (article) LFB DP 2009
Relationship between spontaneous eye blinking and positive affect... (poster) LFB Quest 2009 (tif)
Relationship between palpebral fissure size and spontaneous eye blinking (poster) LFB ICIS 2008 (tif)
The development of blinking across the first year (preliminary analyses; poster) Kara Wallace Quest SB 2007
Adult eye blinking: myths and meanings (colloquium) LFB Adult SB Talk
Development of spontaneous eye blinking in infancy: links to temperament (poster) LFB ISDP 2006

Factors contributing to changes in the frequency of spontaneous eye blinking in infants and adults

Leigh Ann Hubbard,
Katie Lewis

EPA 2006
Relationship between spontaneous eye blinking and visual attention in young infants LFB APS 2006
Relationship between spontaneous eye blinking and visual attention in young infants (poster) LFB MDL 2005
Systematic temporal variation in the rate of spontaneous eye blinking in human infants (article)
LFB DP study 2004
Spontaneous eye blinking in human infants: a review (article)
LFB DP review 2004

1.  Spontaneous eye blinking in human infants
Focus:  The behavior, development, functions and mechanisms of endogenous (spontaneous) eyeblinking in infants.  Clinical, primate neuropharmacological and adult cognitive research indicate that the central dopamine (DA) system is at least part of the mechanism underlying spontaneous eye blinking.  Manipulations of central DA (via experiments or pathology) result in reliable changes in the rate of blinking.  Very little is known about spontaneous blinking in human infants. Research is supported by a National Eye Institute Grant of NIIH (EY16238) to LFB. Aims. Many Oswego students have collaborated on this project, please see Student Assistants.

2.  Development of infant reaching
Focus: Role of visual attention in the development of motor control and new motor skills, such as reaching, in human infants.  Infants were studied longitudinally; at each observation, infants' 3-D hand position was recorded during 3 conditions: Looking at a nearby toy, Not looking at a nearby toy, and when No toy was present.  Spatio-temporal characteristics of these pre-reaching arm movements reveal features of developing limb control. A Faculty-Student Collaboration Challenge Grant supports this work. Poster (pdf) presented at the Motor Development and Learning Conference, II, in Murcia Spain, May 2005.

Research with young adults

3. Scientific thinking
Dr. Brad Wray, Philosophy and I are collaborating in an investigation into scientific thinking. The broad purpose of our collaboration is to understand higher order thinking and how this skill or ability is acquired. We aim to investigate this from a cognitive perspective and as a result of a socialization process. Specific questions of interest include: how students come to generalize appropriately; whether and how students benefit from working in groups; how they learn to determine the scope of claims, or methods, etc.; and how students begin to realize what features of their experience are salient and relevant to realizing their research goals. The pilot study began in Spring 2008 with the assistance of two Presidential Scholars (Katie Crandall and Kevin McConnell). Christie Hillenbrand is currently working on this project. This represents our initial investigation into factors that might be involved in scientific thinking among college students.

4.  Worldview formation
Focus:  Relationship between cognitive development and formation of philosophical and religious beliefs in middle and late adolescence. As of 2007, approximately 80 participants have completed our survey and manuscript development will begin this year. Quest poster 2007 Students who have worked on this most recently are Maggie Fillioe, Matt Pond and Sabrina Narad.


  Contact Information


  Developmental Research

  Cog Sci Research

  Brief CV (pdf)

Student Assistants