Our lab studies how children learn and evaluate information. Our studies are designed as fun games that tap into each child’s reasoning skills. Our projects can help educators, families, and future researchers understand more about how children of different ages make decisions, think critically, and understand the knowledge of themselves and others. When the study is complete, we share our findings with parents, teachers, and other researchers.
Who are you?
We are the ThinkLab, a research lab based at University of Texas at Dallas under the direction of Dr. Candice Mills.
What sort of research do you do?
We study the concept of how children learn from others. Children are great learners, and we love to study how they think!
What ages can participate in this research?
Children between the ages of 3 and 11 years can participate in our research.
What happens during testing?
We feel the best way to study children’s thinking skills is to provide them with fun games to play. In the school, a child will answer some questions with a member of our research team in a quiet space. Find out more about the research currently going on in our laboratory.
Are there any risks involved in participation?
There are no risks involved in participation. We will be reading to the children, showing them drawings, playing simple games, and/or asking them questions, much like they would experience at school. Children are encouraged to follow through with the process, but they can take a break or stop if desired. Most children have a lot of fun in our studies! Additionally, no names or identifying information will be used.
What will you need from our school if we choose to participate?
If your school chooses to participate, we will provide consent forms for teachers to send home with students. We ask that the students give the consent forms to their parents and have students return the forms to their teachers. From there, we will collect the forms and create a list of children whose parents gave them permission to participate. After we work with you to schedule a testing day, our team will bring in the materials and games. All you will need to provide is a quiet testing space for children to play our games!
How long will participating in the study take?
For testing and scheduling, we simply need a quiet space and 15-30 minutes per child. We will work with you to schedule testing times that are convenient for you.
Does our school receive any benefit from participating at the lab?
The research we conduct allows us to gain insight into how children think about different things, such as how they determine what makes a fair judgment, or how they decide which of two experts will provide a more helpful answer.
After we have completed a study, we present what we have found at professional conferences (like for the Society for Research in Child Development) and in scientific journals. We also update our website periodically with a summary of our what we found, as well as with our past newsletters, so that you can have access to the information about our findings. Finally, we share our findings more broadly to the public through news releases and public presentations. When appropriate, we will also work with educators to help design programs for children. In the long run, our findings will benefit parents, educators, and children.
If the host school chooses, we also offer informative, scientific presentations for student and teachers about our research and fun activities that can be used in the classroom and at home!
How can our school help?
If your school is interested in getting involved you can contact us at (972) 883-6075, or by email at [email protected]. We will provide a consent form for each parent that uses your childcare. If you run out of consent forms, give us a call or send an email and we will happily provide more.