Sabrina Thurman publishes research on the utility of using network analysis in developmental science

The research was published in the journal Infancy as a first-authored peer-reviewed article.

Sabrina Thurman, assistant professor in the Psychology Department in Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, recently published a first-authored peer-reviewed article, “Using network analysis to capture developmental change: An illustration from infants’ postural transitions.” This research was published in the journal Infancy.

In this methodological report, Sabrina Thurman and co-author Daniela Corbetta of the University of Tennessee, used infant postural-locomotor development as an example to demonstrate how network analysis can be applied in novel ways to examine complex changes within an individual’s behavior over time. Using infant free play data, they identified patterns in the range of postures infants exhibited over the first two years of life, as infants learned to crawl and walk. Then, they used network analysis to map each infant’s posture network, tracking how often infants transitioned between certain postures and derived network parameters of density and centrality. Results revealed that infants’ postures were used differently at various time periods across postural-locomotor development, which was related to shifts in posture network density and centrality. Network analysis parameters provided additional information beyond traditional frequency and duration measures. Network analysis could also be used to better understand complex changes in individual infants’ behaviors in other contexts (e.g., problem-solving sequences, humanoid robotics).

Thurman is the director of the Infant Development Laboratory, where she and her research mentees study infant motor development.

Infancy is the official journal of the International Congress of Infant Studies, which emphasizes the highest quality original research on infant development in the first two years of life.