For Families

We invite you to participate in our research! We conduct studies online and in person. Our studies are for children between 14 months and 5 years of age, and we would love for your family to participate.

What is a typical in-person study like?

Our in-person studies are very simple, entirely safe, and fun — most children really enjoy them! Studies generally involve one visit to our lab in the Psychology Building and take about 30 minutes. In most studies, your child will sit on your lap or be close to you at all times. Toys to play with and babysitting for siblings are all provided at the lab. Every child who participates can choose a book to take home or a $5 Amazon gift card as our way of saying thanks. We conduct two main kinds of studies, looking-time studies and eye-tracking studies:

  • In looking-time studies, your child watches a series of events on a TV display. The events are accompanied by sentences. When given a choice, children (and adults!) tend to look at objects and events that match the language they hear. Therefore we can use their looking patterns to study how they understand the sentences we present. We videotape children during the task, and later code where they looked during key periods in the task to figure out how they understood each sentence.
  • In eye-tracking studies, your child watches short video clips or listens to stories while viewing pictures of the story characters. During key periods in the task, we use our automatic eye-tracker to measure where children are looking on the computer screen. This technology is completely safe and just involves asking your child to wear a small sticker on their forehead as they watch the video.

What is a typical online study like?

Our online studies are conducted via Zoom! Each study will be scheduled as a 30-minute Zoom call. The studies are short and fun – your child will watch videos (usually less than 5 minutes) on your computer screen while we record their face using your webcam. At critical points in the video, we measure where on the computer screen your child is looking. We use this information to tell us how children understand the events they see, or how they learn new words. After each appointment, we will offer your family a $5 Amazon gift card to thank you for participating.

Schedule an appointment with us!

Below are our current in-person and online studies. Please feel free to use our online scheduling software to book an appointment with us (just click the button, choose a day and time that works for you, and answer a few questions)!

Do infants use grammar to learn new words?

  • For 14-16.9 month olds who mostly hear English at home
  • 30 minutes
  • Your child will watch a video with simple animations to help us find out how they use grammar to learn new words.

Can toddlers keep track of what others know?

  • For 18-29.9 month olds (no language requirements)
  • 30 minutes
  • Your child will watch simple puppet shows designed to help us understand how children reason about the actions of others.

Can toddlers use recent experiences to learn new words?

  • For 17-18.9 & 22-25.9 month olds who mostly hear English at home
  • 30 minutes
  • This study is only available via Zoom (laptop or desktop computer needed).
  • Your child will first watch a learning video at home, and the next day, watch another video in the Zoom appointment to measure what they’ve learned.

Sign up for more studies!

If you would like to participate with your child in one of our studies, you can also fill out a sign-up form! We will be happy to reach out when we have a study for your child. You can also contact us at (217) 244-6098 or by e-mail at