Current Studies

The Center for Early Childhood Research has many ongoing studies that are currently recruiting participants. These studies are conducted via online formats such as Zoom meetings, surveys, and online games, making them accessible to families all over the country! Read below to learn more about our current studies.

 

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Cognitive Development Lab

A Zoom Study for 2.5- to 3.5-year-olds
We’re interested in how different contexts affect the words children use to label sets of objects. During the study, your child will interact with an experimenter as they take turns describing objects appearing on the screen. Families will join this study via Zoom.

Family Math Activities (3-5 years)We are looking for families to try out activities we developed to promote family math engagement. We will ask parents to try out an activity at home with their preschool-age children and provide feedback through an online survey or Zoom interview.

 

EArly Social Thinkers (EAST) Lab

Role Model 2 (4-7 years)
This study aims to increase children’s persistence in science by exposing them to different role models and asking them to pretend play as a scientist. Families will join this study via Zoom.

GAP3 (4-9 years)
This study investigates children’s motivation to participate in a game for smart children vs hard working children and their beliefs about gender and brilliance. Families will join this study via Zoom.

Orange (4-9 years)
This study investigates children’s predictions of in-group and out-group acceptance of others. Families will join this study via Zoom.

Attribution 3 (5-6 years)
This study investigates what children attribute success to, innate brilliance or hard work. Families will join this study via Zoom.

IgA (5-10 years)
This study is looking at children’s expected inner group acceptance vs. their actual inner group acceptance. Families will join this study via Zoom.

Genex3 (5-10 years)
This study explores children’s beliefs about Field Specific Abilities in intelligence fields. Families will join this study via Zoom.

 

Gesture Lab

Children’s Spatial Thinking (4-5 and 7-8 years)
We are investigating spatial thinking in children of different ages. This study will conducted via Zoom

Children’s Reasoning About Quantity (5-7 years)
We are interested in how children learn and explain quantity tasks using language and gesture. During this study, your child will observe the experimenter performing tasks and answer questions during these tasks. This study will be conducted over Zoom.

 

Human Nature and Potentials Lab

Children’s zero-sum perceptions (4-9 years)
This study examines whether children are capable of making zero-sum judgements, and if they perceive exchanges involving various resources and social constructs (such as love, power, toys) as zero-sum. Parents and children will join the study via Zoom.

Meaninglessness (4-9 years)
This study examines children’s higher order capabilities, specifically if they are sensitive to a lack of meaning, or “meaninglessness” in various activities. Parents and children will join the study via Zoom.

Evaluating Social Contribution (4-9 years)
This study assesses children’s social evaluations¬† of social contributions, to understand whether children are sensitive to and value making bigger social impacts, beyond the family. Parents and children will join the study via Zoom.

 

Infant Learning and Development Lab

Social Network Survey (6 months – 5 years)
We are interested in children’s social networks before and during the COVID-19 pandemic to track how the people children interact with changes over time! We are looking for parents to fill out a short online questionnaire and survey that should take less than 30 mins to complete.

Hi Stranger (17-19 months)
This study is investigating how toddlers interact with strangers over virtual formats such as videos. We are interested in whether toddlers will engage with a stranger over the computer and whether we can systematically measure how much they engage with a stranger. You can access the study on our partnership website with MIT called Lookit.

VPEEG (8-11 months)
In this study, we are investigating how babies’ brain activity changes according to the language people speak. To measure babies’ brain activity, they wear an EEG hat that records their brain waves. This is a passive, baby-friendly method used to record brain activity. This is an in-person study and will involve a one-time visit to our lab in Hyde Park, Chicago.

ManyBabies (18-22 months)
This study is interested in what toddler’s understand about what others know, and how that may influence others’ behavior. To measure your child’s understanding of what others know, we use an eye-tracker that uses cameras to record where your child is looking as they watch brief movies of animated animals. This is an in-person study and will involve a one-time visit to our lab in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Share with Me (15-17 months)
In this study, we are interested in how information about whether two people are friends will influence children’s expectations of whether people will share things equally. Our future goals are to examine how relationship or friendship information about two distributors might change children’s expectations of equality. You can access the study on our partnership website with MIT called Lookit.

 

The Social Kids Lab Online

3-10 years

The Social Kids Lab Online is a collaboration between two research groups: Development of Social Cognition (DSC) Lab led by Professor Katherine D. Kinzler and the Developmental Investigations of Behavior and Strategy (DIBS) Labs led by Professor Alex Shaw.

Our studies currently focus on many different social ideas that develop during childhood. When your child participates, they will most likely do two or three short study games that investigate a variety of topics. Each study game is designed to be entertaining and fun for kids, similar to something they might read or see at school.

Our study topics currently include how children think about:

Leadership
Kinship
Perspective-taking
Role models
Social values
Reputation
Fairness, morality, and decision making
Resource distribution
Voting procedures
Rules and rule-making
Technology and robots
Judgments based on language characteristics
and Group communication

The study games typically involve seeing pictures of people, hearing different stories, and answering questions about what they think. We show our study materials through screen-sharing, and the researcher on the video call is usually a PhD student or undergraduate research assistant.