Preregistration in infant research—A primer

Naomi Havron, Christina Bergmann, Sho Tsuji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preregistration, the act of specifying a research plan in advance, is becoming more common in scientific research. Infant researchers contend with unique problems that might make preregistration particularly challenging. Infants are a hard-to-reach population, usually yielding small sample sizes, they can only complete a limited number of trials, and they can be excluded based on hard-to-predict complications (e.g., parental interference, fussiness). In addition, as effects themselves potentially change with age and population, it is hard to calculate an a priori effect size. At the same time, these very factors make preregistration in infant studies a valuable tool. A priori examination of the planned study, including the hypotheses, sample size, and resulting statistical power, increases the credibility of single studies and adds value to the field. Preregistration might also improve explicit decision making to create better studies. We present an in-depth discussion of the issues uniquely relevant to infant researchers, and ways to contend with them in preregistration and study planning. We provide recommendations to researchers interested in following current best practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-754
Number of pages21
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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