What are the ages of the children that you study?

Our studies are generally for children between 1 and 10 years of age.

What do the studies involve?

Our studies vary depending on the age of the children participating. In general, we show children unfamiliar animals, natural objects, or human-made objects and ask questions about them (e.g., why they look as they do, where they come from, what they do). We tend to use materials that are unfamiliar because we want to understand how children reason about things that they have never encountered before or discussed with anyone. We are often also interested in how they react to the person who is showing them the new items.

How long do the studies take?

Studies with 1- to 4-year-old children are only about 20 minutes long.
Studies with school-aged children take about 40–60 minutes.

When are appointments scheduled?

We are here whenever it is convenient for you during the week. Mostly our visits take place Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we can work around your schedule. Please ask about our weekend availability.

Will I receive the results of my child’s performance?

In general, we do not explore the differences between individual children, and our studies do not inform us about the “intelligence” or abilities of any particular child. Instead, we study larger samples of children in order to learn about behaviors across all children of a given age. In consequence, you will receive a letter describing the general findings of the study in which your child participated rather than the specific results of your child’s visit to the lab.

Will I be with my child during the study?

Yes! You can stay with your child the entire time. However, because we often study children’s reactions to subtle aspects of other people’s behavior (our researchers’ behavior follows a script), we ask that parents refrain from interacting with their children. If your child is comfortable without you in the room, you can watch the study from our computer monitor in the next room.

Can I bring my other children with me to the appointment?

Yes! Siblings can play in a separate room with you or our research assistants.

Where is the Child Cognition Lab?

We are located in the Boston University Psychology Department off of Commonwealth Avenue.
Room 157, 64 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215
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Contact us

  • Email us childlab@bu.edu
  • Give us a call (617) 358-1738
  • Visit us Room 157, 64 Cummington Mall Boston, MA 02215

Information for parents

Are you interested in our research?Would you like your child to participate?
Fill out the information form. We will contact you soon to schedule a visit.

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