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.

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.

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 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 (mark.sheskin@yale.edu) 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.”

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.