Department of Psychology
The University of Houston
126 Heyne Building
Houston, TX 77204-5022
Why do we need your help?
Children learn words very rapidly and the way they go through the process seems almost effortless. They do so regardless of the language they learn and/or how many languages they learn. But if you think of this process, even finding a meaning for a word seems incredible. When you see a rabbit running and tell your child, "Look, it's a rabbit" how would your baby know that you are referring to the white fluffy animal running? If the child doesn't know what "rabbit" refers to, then how does the child find the right element from day to day complex scene where he/she sees all the non relevant things such as a tree near the rabbit, rabbit ear, a carrot that the rabbit is eating?
Our research goal is to explore children's language learning environment and their early development of different types of words (e.g., color words, objects' names, and words for different actions) to investigate what really contributes to children's language learning and how such learning may change over time. Needless to say, the application of such findings are tremendously helpful for people working with children who could use help for their early language learning.
What will your visit look like?
Once we set up your appointment
A research assistant from the lab will call you the night before to remind you about the day and time of the appointment. At the time of the appointment, the experimenter will meet you at the designated parking space. The experimenter will then escort you and your child to the Cognitive Development Laboratory.
In the lab
Before starting the study, we will briefly play with your child to give him or her a chance to get comfortable in the new environment. At that time, we will give you a consent form to read and sign. The consent form gives you specific information about our research question and the experimental procedure to take place. At this point, a research assistant may also ask you to fill out some forms containing questionnaires about the child's word learning background including what words your child may say at home, which language your child speak at home, etc.
In the experiment
You and your child will then go to an experimental room, and your child will sit right next to you for the session, so you can witness everything we say or show to your child; you can provide your child with support and encouragement whenever needed. In some studies, your child will answer questions about objects we show him/her. In other studies they will play a quck game on the computer. There is no right or wrong answer and your child will have a good time participating in a game like session.
After the experiement
Your child will receive a small gift such as a stuffed animal, T-shirt, or Frisbee as a token of our appreciation. Parents will receive a $5 gift card to Target (per family/per visit). If you have any questions regarding your visit, please let us know and we are happy to answer your questions as we escort you back to your car!
How long does a study take?
A study can range from 5 minutes to 30 minutes but please plan on being here for about 45 minutes to an hour so that your child can get comfortable and you can fill out the consent forms.
Can I be with my child during the study?
Of course! You can be with your child throughout the visit.
Can I bring my other children?
Yes, even if we do not have a study that your other children can participate in they are welcome to come. We will provide a babysitter to watch them during the study.
Will I receive my child's results?
We are interested in how your child is learning therefore there are no right or wrong answers. So we do not analyze individual children's performances but rather look at group trends to see if there is a pattern of learning among groups of children.
When/how are appointments scheduled?
We are open from 9:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, but we understand that parents are busy so we can set up appointments for later in the evening as well as weekends. We are very flexible so just let us know what works best for you.
If you are interested in participating, you can call us at 713-743-4876 or email us at email@example.com to set up an appointment. We'd love to hear from you!
How many times will I be asked to participate?
The majority of our studies involve parents and their children coming to our research laboratory for one visit (some of our projects involve multiple visits, but we will ask if you are interested in participating in those types of studies beforehand). However, we have found that most families enjoy returning to participate in multiple studies.
Interested in us?
We are currently working on several studies pertaining to how children learn language and how this leaning may influence their category development and other cognitive development.
All the studies conducted in our Cognitive Development Lab has been reviewed by the University of Houston Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects 713- 743-9204. All data collected from children is confidential. Your child's name will never appear in any forms of publications and all data, including audio and videotapes, are kept in a locked laboratory space that is only accessible to our researchers who are involved in the study.
We currently have studies for children ages 6 months-8 years old. If you are interested please call us at 713-743-4876 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. Thank you!