Do you have questions about participating in our research?
You’ll find answers to frequently asked questions below. Click on each question for more information.
What kind of research takes place at the Cognitive Development Lab?
Here at the Cognitive Development Lab, we study how infants and young children understand and reason about the world around them. We explore such topics as how infants and children understand the social world as well as how young children organize their knowledge about the world into categories. We are regularly conduct studies with infants and children between the ages of 4 months and 11 years of age.
What is a typical visit to the Cognitive Development Lab like?
We will meet you at a reserved parking space on the Lehigh University campus and bring you to our child-friendly lab space. We have a waiting room with toys for your child (or children!) to play with while we explain the study, complete paperwork, and answer your questions. We also take the time to play with your child so that he/she gets acquainted with us before the study. After we get to know you and your child, we have an adjacent room where we will complete the study. You will be with your child the entire time. After the study is over, we will give your child a small gift as compensation for participating and we will escort you back to your car. The length of the study depends on the project that your child is participating in. Some of our studies take as little as 15 minutes; others are approximately an hour long. Additionally, we like to schedule an extra 10 - 15 minutes into the visit so that we have time for your child to warm up before the study, and so that we can fully explain the study to you and answer any questions you might have.
What will my infant do in a typical study?
In a typical study, your baby will play with toys or do simple activities (e.g., crawl, play games at a table), either with you or a member of our research team. Additionally, your baby will watch a short sequence of actions (for example, a person reaching for an object) while sitting on your lap or in a highchair. Using a computer program, we will measure where your infant is looking and how long he or she watches the actions. By examining what aspects of the video babies are watching, we can draw conclusions about how they are processing the actions on the screen. In addition, since babies typically look longer at things that they find new or surprising, we can make inferences about how they perceive and understand our displays by examining patterns of looking time. These data help us understand what infants think about people’s actions and mental states.
What will my preschool or school-aged child do in a typical study?
Studies for older children are usually more interactive. Some studies involve playing short games and reading stories with our researchers to determine how much children understand about other people’s mental states. In other studies, children will see pictures of familiar or novel animals or objects and hear sentences to describe them. Then children will be asked to answer simple questions about the pictures. Questions may require a yes/no answer or a short response. All of the items children see are non-threatening and the tasks are designed to be fun and engaging.
When are appointments scheduled?
We schedule appointments at your convenience, usually on Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM. We also offer weeknight and weekend hours, so if you are interested but cannot come during business hours, let us know!
How many times will I be asked to participate?
This depends on the study! Some studies require two visits to the lab, typically a few months apart. Most studies require a single visit and do not commit you to any other visits. Although it is not required, many families enjoy returning to participate in different studies as their children grow!
How do I get to the lab? Is parking available?
The best way to find us is by searching for "Lehigh University Child Development Research Group" in Google Maps. A link to a map and directions to our Lehigh University location are provided here. We provide free parking for parents and will meet you in the parking lot to escort you and your child to the lab.
Can I bring my other children?
Yes! We have a playroom where your other children can stay and play with one of our researchers while you and your child are in the study room
Are there risks to participating in these studies?
There are no risks to your child in participating in this research beyond those experienced in everyday life.
How can I find out about the results of the study? Will I receive an evaluation or advice about my child's development?
Because we are not pediatricians or clinicians, we cannot evaluate or offer individually tailored advice about your child’s development. However, we are excited to share with you the overall results of the studies we have going on in the lab. Approximately once a year we send out (and post here on our website) a newsletter explaining our findings. We also share findings of other recent research on our Facebook page.