BITTSy (Behavioral Infant & Toddler Testing System) was designed to be a consistent, multi-paradigm infant experimental testing platform that can be easily set up across multiple sites in a uniform manner, establishing a standardized research tool that will enhance cross-site research collaborations. The testing platform can run several key infant testing protocols (Headturn Preference Procedure, Preferential Looking, and Visual Fixation/Habituation) using the same standard design.

Our intent was to create a single program that could run a wide range of infant paradigms in a comparable fashion, that used off-the-shelf equipment, which would make it cost-effective. By creating such a system, we hoped to be able to facilitate growth in our knowledge of early language development across diverse circumstances.

To date, most individual projects on language development have acquired data in a single laboratory. The ability to have a comparable experimental setup across labs will enable researchers across institutions to start to develop collaborative research approaches; this is particularly important for assessing low-incidence linguistic populations (where no single location would be able to recruit sufficient numbers of participants). BITTSy provides improved reliability and consistency across research sites by promoting multi-investigator and multi-site collaborations. Shared resources allow for collaborative testing of low-incidence populations or populations located in different geographical regions, such as comparisons between infants learning different languages.

The lack of an easily-accessible and cost-efficient system also deters new investigators from initiating research programs that rely on some of these testing methods, particularly HPP for which there are no off-the-shelf systems available. While some testing paradigms do have standardized versions available (e.g., Habit runs visual fixation procedures, although it does not run natively on modern operating systems), HPP does not, and HPP is particularly well-suited to testing young infants. Moreover, there is no single program available that runs a wide range of infant paradigms in a comparable fashion; BITTSy will provide the option of using multiple methods within a single test session.

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