Information for schools


In our studies, we tell children about pictures or movies, and then ask them questions. By seeing the most common questions at each age, we can learn how children think about and understand the world.

In our studies, we tell children about pictures or movies, and then ask them questions. By seeing the most common questions at each age, we can learn how children think about and understand the world.

For over 20 years, our Yale lab has been visiting schools in person.

We now offer many of our studies over video chat, which means there are more options for how schools can get involved with our research, even if they are far away from us. Below are three ways your school can work with us, and here is important information that applies to all of the ways schools can work with us:

  • Our research is always approved by the committee at Yale University that oversees human subjects research

  • We provide information for parents and get individual permission for each child to participate

  • We work with each child for 10 to 15 minutes, and in some cases we can work with children in groups so it takes even less time

  • We provide information about the general results of the study to the school, and are always happy to share more information with the school or parents who contact us

  • We NEVER provide information about any individual’s performance to anyone: all of our results are confidential, and our goal is to combine the results from all children so that we can understand how children think in general

  • We NEVER do normative testing such as “IQ” research, because all of our research is for us to learn from children—we ask them questions about things like stories or pictures, so that we can learn how children at different ages think

  • As an example, we might ask a child what is more like an owl, an airplane or a cow? Or we might ask who knows more about a car, someone who understands how car engines turn gasoline into movement, or someone who knows the most common colors cars are painted?

Ways Your School Can Get Involved

(1) Researcher Visits

We spend most of our time at Yale University, and so we usually only travel to schools in Connecticut—though we have rarely flown to other locations. The most common way a visit works is that one or two researchers will set up in a quiet room you provide, and then work with one child at a time throughout the day. Our goal is to work with as many children as possible, one after the other. Each child is only out of class for 10 to 15 minutes and we can avoid particularly important times.

(2) Online Studies at School

We have many studies that can be done over video chat. For children at your school to participate in online studies, all we need is a quiet room with a computer, and an adult (teacher, parent volunteer, etc.) to organize the process for each student to get to the computer and participate in the study. One of the big advantages of our online studies is that we can more easily work around your schedule, including spreading things out over a lot of days, weeks, or even months. For example, perhaps children only participate during recess time, and so for each child to participate once we use many days spread out over a couple of months.

(3) Online Studies at Home

We can also partner with schools to have children participate at home. We already have thousands of families signed up to participate in our studies from their homes (see our “For Parents” information page). If you think the families at your school might be excited to participate, we can send you information to share with the parents. We will pay attention to which families sign up from your school, and can acknowledge your school on our website and in our scientific papers. Although we cannot share information with schools about which families participate outside of the school setting, we can share what sorts of research we are doing and the general results from all children who are participating.

To start the discussion about how we might work together, please fill in the form below.

You can also email us directly at thechildlab@yale.edu or contact mark.sheskin@yale.edu

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