A Natural Experiment in the Time of COVID-19

The Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing understanding about the brain in health and disease, wrote about how COVID-19 provided a natural experiment for studying language development. In prior research, it has been hard to tease apart the effects of parental education, socio-economic status, family stress, and screen time on child development, since those factors are closely tied together. The pandemic has resulted in increased stress and screen time, while leaving parent education unchanged, and families are experiencing varying degrees of financial hardship. We hope our findings will provide a more ecologically valid way to study the children's learning environments and language development.