Early Child Development Unit (ECDU)

Contact/coordinator: Professor Simo Køppe

Early Child Development Unit (ECDU) is the overarching framework of a number of centers that integrate basic and applied research and incorporate theory and methods from experimental and observational psychology, attachment theory and clinical child psychology.

The overall aim of ECDU is to contribute to the science of early child development, early intervention and promotion of early childhood mental health.

Essential experiences in the developing child happen in the interactions between the infant and the significant adults in their lives. Our studies focus on mother-infant interaction during infancy, its associations with maternal distress (e.g. depression,psychosis) and with risk and resilience in the infant and toddler in relation to attachment, language, cognitive and socioemotional development. The research is conducted within an overall Developmental Psychopathology framework. Basic and applied research are integrated in the theoretical and longitudinal studies on early cognitive and socioemotional developmental processes asking questions like: How do infant and caregiver regulate both self and other in interactional patterns? How do infant and caregiver develop and co-create a shared meaning in intersubjective pre-verbal experiences? And how are these early pre-verbal meanings related to later cognitive and socioemotionel child development? In our research we use innovative methods, for example an infrared 3 D motioncapture system for an automated measurement of mother and infant behavioral patterns, physiological measures of cortisol and heart rate in both mother and child, as well as we in large scale randomised controlled designed studies test the effects of new screening instruments and early preventive interventions.

The ongoing research is funded by The Danish Research Counsil, The European Research Council (ERC), Tryg Foundation, Egmont Foundation, LEGO Foundation and LEGO Group DUPLO® and the City of Copenhagen.

Ongoing centers