Why participate?

Why do children learn languages so easily, while adults struggle to learn a second language? What parts of the brain are involved in language? Where are words “stored” in the brain? Is there a language center?

These are just a few of the questions you can help us answer by taking part in our studies. As our past participants can tell you, 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 will receive a gift card to a local area store (generally $20-25)
  • ALL participants will receive an EEG picture of their brain’s activity from the session to take home

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What is involved?

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. This is much safer and easier than the old method of using gels, which is not used in our lab. Thus the only side-effect of the study is a somewhat messy head of hair. After the study children will receive a print-out of their EEG recording to take home. All of our studies undergo rigorous approval and oversight by the Internal Review Board of the University of Texas at Dallas.

Each study typically runs 1-2 hours. Most of this time is taken up by fitting the cap, and during this time children can watch cartoons or have a snack while waiting to begin. After-school and weekend timeslots are available year-round.

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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 subscribe to our e-newsletter for updates.

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How can my child participate?

If you’re interested in participating or would simply like more information, feel free to contact us by phone or email. Our lab email is utd.dev.neuro.lab@gmail.com. Our telephone number is (214) 905-3164.

Educational tours led by Dr. Maguire are also available for small groups interested in learning about the brain and brain research. Those involved in scouting organizations can usually earn science credits for such field trips. For more information, contact us by phone or email.

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