Our lab focuses on the prenatal origins of perceptual, cognitive, and social development.  We use an animal model, the bobwhite quail, to identify and explore a range of prenatal and early postnatal experiential factors involved in neonatal behavioral development.  Current work is designed to identify the maternally derived features of prenatal experience that facilitate the emergence of critical perceptual and social skills, including social motivation, recognition, learning, and memory.  Our central hypothesis is that maternally regulated influences related to 1) the sensory stimulation experienced by the embryo during its development in the egg, 2) concentrations of hormones of maternal origin present in the egg, and 3) prenatal developmental factors such as movement and light exposure, contribute to the emergence and development of neonatal social responsiveness during the early postnatal period.