Some Questions Our Research Explores


  • How do families and communities nurture the brain development of infants and young children?
  • Why do some children thrive despite adversity while other children with similar experiences face more developmental challenges?
  • How do parents help their children to regulate stress?
  • Can we identify patterns of brain activity that predict young children’s ability to learn, pay attention, develop social skills, and manage emotions?


Currently Enrolling Participants

Behavior and Sleep Screening (BASS):

Age: 2- and 3-year-olds

Description: This study seeks to understand young children’s sleep and behavior better.  During this study, a researcher will interview you over the phone regarding your child’s sleep and behavior. At the end of the study, you will receive $10 and may qualify for and be invited to participate in a larger study on children’s sleep and behavior, PATH.

Length: 30 minutes (over the phone)

Payment: You will receive $10 for participating in BASS.

Parents Advancing Toddler Health (PATH):

Age: 2- and 3-year-olds

Description: This study seeks to determine which parent coaching programs are the most engaging and helpful for families whose toddlers have sleep and behavior problems. English and Spanish-speaking parents would receive one of three possible parent coaching programs: sleep, behavior, or safety. Over the course of a year, parents would participate in weekly video calls for the parent coaching program for two months, plus four research video calls.  

Length: Weekly parent coaching program video calls for two months, plus four research video calls.

Payment: You will receive UP TO $260 for completing all parts of the study. You will also receive a free electronic tablet, free children’s books, and a free parent coaching program.

Infant Coping and Development (ICAD):

Age: 11-14-month-olds

Description: The hormone cortisol is found in the hair and saliva and provides a measure of biological stress. In this study, we are looking to see how cortisol levels change as infants cope with mild challenges. We will also be assessing other aspects of infant development, such as infant sleep, self-regulating behaviors, and social interaction. During this study, a researcher would do two brief infant behavioral tasks with your child, and we would ask you to play with your child and fill out some questionnaires. We would collect four saliva samples from your child throughout the visit and take a hair sample. 

Length: 2 hours

Payment: You will receive $25 for participation in this study. You will also receive free parking here on campus, and we can provide babysitting if you need to bring another child.

Cultural Opportunities for Communication Outcomes (COCO): 

Age: 4-year-olds

Description: This study examines how aspects particular to Hispanic families contribute to skills that help children succeed in school, like reading with ease, having a strong vocabulary, and paying attention while ignoring distractions. Participating in the study involves two visits: we will visit you once in your home, and you will visit us once, six months later, in the lab. During both visits, we will play computer games with your child, have them point and name pictures, and videotape you and your child playing together. During the lab visit, we will also measure your child’s brain activity with an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Length: 1.5 hours for the home visit; 2 hours for the lab visit, six months later.

Payment: You will receive $20 for participating in each visit. For the lab visit, you will also receive free parking on campus.


Developing Belief Network (DBN): 

Age: 4-10-year-olds

Description: The BEE Lab is a collaborator in the Developing Belief Network, led by the University of California, Riverside, and Boston University. The five-year study examines the acquisition and transmission of religious cognition and behavior in 20 countries around the globe and the impacts of sociocultural context and social learning on these processes. The international network allows for mixed methods and cross-cultural comparisons of how cognition and beliefs develop. Our team leads the research site in Greater Tzaneen, South Africa, collaborating with Dr. Peter Rockers in BU Global Health and Dr. Denise Evans of the University of Witwatersrand. For more information on this innovative project, check out

Interested? Call us at 617-353-9328, or email us at

Not in these age ranges, but still interested in participating in a study? Check out all current studies from the BU Child Development Labs, or fill out our parent interest form!


    Join Us!

    We rely upon our families to help us learn more about how kids develop. We would love to meet you!

    Do you think you might like to participate in a study with your child, either now or in the future?

    Sign up now!

    Contact Us

    • Email us
    • Give us a call (617) 353-9328
    • Visit us Room 108, 64 Cummington Mall Boston, MA 02215

    Information for Students

    Want to volunteer? Our interns learn about developmental neuroscience techniques and behavioral research while having fun working with young children. A friendly personality and prior experience with children are essential!

    Interested? Find out more!