Frequently Asked Questions
What happens after I sign up?
When you sign up, you provide us with your name, e-mail address, and the age of any children you have who might be interested in participating. When we have a study for your child’s age group, we will send you an e-mail with more information. If you or your child have any questions, you can e-mail us. If you and your child are interested in the study, you will be able to sign up for an open slot on our calendar.
My child is super excited to participate. When will we hear from you?
We will typically contact you with a new study soon after you sign up, and then once every few months after that (you can always let us know if you want us to contact you less, or if you want us to remove you from our list completely).
Sometimes, we get behind contacting the large number of people who have expressed interest. If you have signed up and not heard from us yet, or we haven't contacted you with a new study in more than three months, please feel free to e-mail us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you would love to know which studies are currently available.
What happens during the video chat study?
If you and your child sign up for a study, both of you will video chat with one of our researchers for 10 to 15 minutes. The researcher will describe the study to you and your child, and both of you will get to ask questions. If both of you still want to participate, then you will record a short consent statement. You will then sit with your child so you can watch the study.
Your child will answer questions about stories, pictures, and videos. Most of the questions don’t have a right or wrong answer, since we are interested in what children think in general. Your child can skip a question or activity at any time, or stop participating completely. All your child’s answers are anonymous.
Can I use a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), or do I need a computer with a webcam?
You can participate in the studies using a mobile device, by downloading the Adobe Connect app (from the App Store on an iPhone or iPad, from the Google Play store on an Android device). If you use a mobile device, it can be useful if you also have headphones available (in case the sound ends up being too soft without them), but most families have no problems using any device (computer, phone, tablet) that has both a webcam and a connection to the internet.
Where are the instructions for setting up my computer for a video chat?
We will e-mail you a link to the instructions after you sign up. That e-mail will contain a link to both the general instructions, and a link to the specific video chat room where your study will take place. If you want to look at the general instructions now, you can find them here: https://thechildlab.yale.edu/study-instructions
Can I try the video chat before scheduling?
Of course! We realize that it can be a letdown if your child gets excited about participating in one of our studies, and then things don’t work out (e.g., your computer setup ends up being one of the small percent that have trouble connecting to our video chat). So we are more than happy to set up a time for you to try the video chat with one of our researchers. The researcher will help you solve any connection problems you have, and can also answer any general questions you want to ask, and can even show you some of our studies. Please e-mail the head of our online research team (email@example.com) if you would like to set up a practice session without your child.
What are the benefits to me and my child?
We hope that our studies are interesting and fun, and that you and your child will enjoy helping to advance our understanding of child development. In addition, we give a prize to each child who participates. For children who participate in person on or near our Yale University campus, we provide a small toy. Since your child will be participating online, we will e-mail you a gift card (typically a $10 Amazon gift card).
Do you record the video chat?
We only record the audio, not the video. We need the audio so that we have a record of your consent, saying it is okay for your child to participate. If you do not want us to record the audio of the actual study, we can stop the audio recording after your consent. The reason we usually record the audio of the study is so that we can double check the notes we take during the study about how your child answered each question.
Will you share my information with anyone?
We will never share your information with anyone. All of the information we collect is reported at the group level. For example: “We asked 100 children which is more complicated on the inside: a smartphone or a chair? Most of the children chose the smartphone.” The most specific information we would ever share would be something like "A 7-year-old in the study answered smartphone for the first question and airplane for the second question" but would not include any names or other identifying information.
The most common time this would happen is when we publish a scientific article. Some scientific journals require that scientists make research data available, so that other scientists can see all of the relevant details. Again, this would never include any child’s name or other identifying information, just how all the children answered questions in the study. You can see the following link for the very strict rules Yale uses to protect participant privacy: Yale Policy on Participant Data
Can children under age 4 participate?
Right now, we are running studies for children between 4 and 12. However, you can definitely sign up with a younger child, and then we will contact you whenever we add in studies for younger children, or eventually when your child becomes 4. In the meantime, you might be interested in checking out some other research groups that currently have studies for younger children. For example, MIT has a project called “Lookit” that parents can do with their infants. You can find more information on their website https://lookit.mit.edu/ . Their website also has links to many other groups, including a way to find local universities where you can participate with your child in person.
After my child participates in a study, can I get copies of the scientific publication that comes out about the study?
Of course! Just let us know that you want us to e-mail you when a publication becomes available, and we will send it to you! Without us sending the publication to you, it can be difficult to access some of them directly, since they might be published in paid journals. However, some of our work is free to read online. Below are links to two of our first papers that are free to read online. The first is a general description of how we do studies online, and that we posted for anyone to read (including other researchers and parents). The second is a paper presented at a scientific conference.
General Description: https://psyarxiv.com/rn7w5
Example Scientific Paper: https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2018/papers/0291/
A full list of our publications, including both online and in person studies, is available at our Yale lab's webpage: http://cogdevlab.yale.edu/publications
I am a researcher at another university. Who should I contact about getting involved with TheChildLab.com?
You can contact the head of our online research team, Mark Sheskin (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are focused right now on carefully building up the online platform’s infrastructure and establishing best practices, but we are also excited to discuss potential collaborations with people as we grow. In general, we see many ways in which having more researchers involved is a win/win for both researchers and participants. Click here for a page with some examples. For undergraduates, our main Yale lab page (http://cogdevlab.yale.edu) often has information about joining our lab during the school year (typically only Yale students) and during our Summer Internship (open to students from any university).