If you are interested in having your child participate contact us today to schedule your visit!

By email at [email protected]

Or

By phone at: 214-905-3164

Who can participate?

  • Ages 8-16
  • Right-handed
  • Proficient English speakers
  • With normal hearing and
  • No history of developmental or neurological disorders or brain injuries

Why participate?

This way to the fun

Being involved in research can be fun, educational and rewarding!

  • Children interested in science can see what a real neuroscience lab looks like while learning about the brain
  • Participants in scouting organizations (girl scouts, cub scouts, etc) can earn points toward science badges [educational group tours are also available: see below]
  • Unpaid volunteers can earn community service hours for their time
  • Participants choosing compensation for this study earn a $50 gift card and a lab T-shirt
  • They will even receive an EEG picture of their brain’s activity from the session to take home!
Shirt and gift card

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What is involved?

Kid with wild hair

This trip to the lab includes two parts, one in which we study how children’s brains process language using a special cap called an EEG cap and one where we just ask questions to assess general abilities that are often related to word learning, like reading and vocabulary.

In the EEG session the child will wear a soft cap while reading sentences and answering questions about those sentences. The EEG studies that we conduct are completely non-invasive and non-harmful. We use a new type of cap that contain sponges held in place by a loose-fitting nylon material; when moistened, these sponges are able to record brain activity The only side-effect of the study is a somewhat messy head of hair.

During the question session, the child will not need to wear the cap. He or she will be asked to do some simple tasks like repeating made up words and answering questions about pictures they view or paragraphs they read.

After the study children will receive a print-out of their EEG recording to take home along with a t-shirt and a gift card. All of our studies undergo rigorous approval and oversight by the Internal Review Board of the University of Texas at Dallas. After-school and weekend timeslots are available year-round.

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What is the purpose of this study?

The goal of our current study is to gain a better understanding of how children learn words from context and how that changes as they develop. We believe that very young children learn new words through fast mapping. Fast mapping refers to the ability to correctly attach a label to an object in the environment with only a single exposure to the word. But what happens as we get a little older and start to learn words for things that are not physical objects or things that we can see?

Think of words like: dream, wish, or ideals. Since you can’t point to an object to show what these words are, we need a different way to learn what they mean. One of the ways we do this is through learning from context. When we learn through context we use the words we know in a sentence to try to figure out what a new word may mean. This is something school age children do every day, but we don’t have much information about what is happening in their brain while they are learning.

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What happens after the study?

The EEG data obtained from all participants will be added together and analyzed as a group, so information from specific individuals is not identifiable. Following analysis, we typically present our results at a professional conference and then to a scientific journal for publication. Parents interested in reading the eventual publications can follow us on Facebook for updates.

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For more information, contact us by phone at 214-905-3164 or email us.