Research in Education and Learning Lab

The Research in Education and Learning Lab at UVA, directed by Jamie Jirout, focuses on questions related to STEM learning and motivation from a cognitive developmental perspective. Current projects examine the development of curiosity, including how instructional practices influence curiosity, and how curiosity influences learning. We also are interested in other intellectual character virtues, such as creativity and open-minded thinking. Another research area in the lab is children’s playful learning, especially how children learn from spatial play and the development of different play behaviors and beliefs about play and toys. We are part of the Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science program and the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning within the School of Education and Human Development.


The REAL Lab is celebrating the following accomplishments:

Jamie recently spoke about promoting students’ curiosity at an education conference, Learning & the Brain: Teaching Purposeful Brains. See her slides from the talk here.

Sierra Eissen, Shoronda Matthews (prior and current students of REAL Lab, respectively) and Jamie Jirout will be published in an upcoming volume fo the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology!  

Eisen, S., S.E. Matthews, J. Jirout (2021) Parents' and children's gendered beliefs about toys and screen media. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 74 (May-June 2021), DOI:10.1276.

Mwatanna Barnett-Jefferson and UVA Track teammates won the 4x100m relay at the Virginia Challenge on April 17, clocking a time of 45.02, and posted a women’s 4×400 team season-best time of 3:36.44 in a second-place finish. That stands as the fourth best on Virginia’s all-time performance list.

(Updated April 22, 2021)

  • Participate in a Study

    We would love to have your help in our research! Families can now participate online. See below for studies we are currently running, and please check back regularly, as we often post new opportunities. We will send a $5 ‘thank you’ gift after your child participates. You can sign up on our study page to schedule a session. Once you’ve signed up, we will email you a consent form and information about how to participate. Thank you for being part of our research! If you've already participated and are looking for more opportunities to help with research, visit! 

  • Curiosity Study, Summer 2021

    Help us learn more about how to promote children’s curiosity! By playing these games, children help us understand ways that teachers can promote exploration and curiosity in classrooms.
    Ages: 2nd - 3rd grade

    Schedule a session to join this study through CHS