For Parents

Our Research

What ages do we study?

We conduct studies with children ranging from 6 months to 3 years of age.

Each study is entirely separate; parents can participate in just one study or in as many as they like as their child gets older.

What is our research about?

We study cognitive development in infants and toddlers and focus on three main questions:

  • Some of our studies focus on what children know about the displacements and interactions of physical objects.
    • For example, we ask whether infants understand that an object cannot change into a different object when briefly hidden behind a screen.
  • Other studies focus on what children know about the mental states and actions of agents such as people or animated puppets.
    • For example, we ask whether infants and toddlers realize that an agent can have a false belief about an object’s location and search for it in the wrong place.
  • Yet other studies focus on what children know about interactions within and between social groups.
    • For example, we ask whether infants and toddlers expect individuals from the same social group to help each other.

What do we measure?

Our studies (whether in-person or online) are based on the idea that infants typically look longer at events they view as unexpected (e.g., a ball that remains suspended when released in midair) than at events they view as expected (e.g., a ball that falls when released in midair). By comparing how long children look at different events, we can figure out what they expect to happen in different situations.

How long is a study?

A study usually takes about 10-20 minutes.

Is there compensation for participating?

Yes! We offer $10 or more for participating in a study.

How can my child and I participate?

To participate in one of our studies, please contact us by e-mail at One of our lab’s research staff will get in touch with you to schedule an appointment.

In-Person and Online Studies

Our studies are simple and fun, most children really enjoy them!

We conduct both in-person studies in the lab and online studies via zoom appointments. When
scheduling an appointment, parents can choose to do either an in-person or an online study, as
they wish. Below, we provide additional information about each type of study.

In-person studies

As of Fall 2021, we have resumed testing children in the lab, which is located in the basement of the Psychology Building on the UIUC campus. For address and directions, please refer to our Contact Us page.

  • Covid protocol: We have maintained a strict university-approved COVID safety protocol designed to keep our participants, staff, and students safe since our initial reopening. As COVID restrictions continue to lift and University guidelines are reevaluated, our protocol will change accordingly. To review our current COVID safety protocol, click here.
  • Siblings: We have a supervised play area for siblings who may accompany you to the appointment.
  • Compensation: We offer a onesie/t-shirt with our lab logo, books, or $15-$25 (depending on the distance from your home) to help cover your travel expenses. We also award keepsake Certificates of Accomplishment to children who complete different studies.
  • Parking: Free parking is available at the lab’s designated parking space. For address and directions, please refer to our Contact Us page.

Online studies

We also conduct online studies that parents can participate in from home via Zoom.

  • Internet: All you need is a stable internet connection, a device with a webcam, and speakers for sound – sorry, no smartphones or tablets, our online studies just don’t work well with their settings.
  • Compensation: We offer a $10 Amazon gift card for participation.