About Our Research > A Typical Visit
Development Laboratories maintains a database of families in the
Charlottesville area who have expressed an interest in learning
about or participating in our research. You can register your family
by using our on-line registration form,
or by phoning or emailing
Once you have registered,
when a study comes up that your child is the correct age for, we
give you a call or send you an email, describe the particular study
in detail, and see if you might be interested in scheduling a 30-minute
appointment. We schedule appointments at your convenience, between
9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and weekend appointments are also possible. Siblings
of any age are welcome to come along. If
your schedule is full at that point, we ask whether we can contact
you again later.
will take place at Gilmer Hall on UVa grounds near the stadium. Free parking is available..
When you arrive at your appointment,
a friendly research assistant will meet you outside of the
building. Inside, your child will
find toys, puzzles, crayons, and other activities to allow
him or her to become comfortable with the surroundings and with
researcher. We take special care to ensure that both parent
and child are comfortable before beginning the study. While your
child is getting comfortable, the research assistant explains
the study to you in detail and provides a consent
form for you to read and sign. You will also receive
a copy of the consent form for your records.
of our studies involves medical procedures of any kind,
and all have been explicitly approved by the University of Virginia’s
Institutional Review Board, a panel of University and community
members who are charged with ensuring that research involving human
participants at the University is ethical.
When you feel like your
child is comfortable, we move to a nearby room, where the study
takes place. Parents can remain with
their children at all times. The study itself usually
takes less than 30 minutes. The exact details of each study vary,
but all are designed to involve fun, game-like activities. For example,
your child might play with or look at some toys or objects while
interacting with a trained researcher. The researcher might name
an object, and then later play a "finding" game that
asks the child to pick out all of the objects that can be called
by that name.
We videotape most of our studies to allow us to
keep track of which objects your child selects or what she or
he says during
the game. This videotape, like all of the data we collect, is
kept completely confidential; your child's name will never
be associated with it. Furthermore, unless we have your explicit
permission, this videotape will be viewed only by the researchers.
the end of the study, we answer any questions, thank you for
coming, and escort you back to your car. We work very hard
to make each visit an enjoyable experience for the child and
parent, and many families choose to participate in numerous
studies. Finally, from time to time, we will send you a newsletter,
the results of our studies. Additionally, we update our website
regularly to reflect reports of our research that have appeared
in the media or been published in scientific journals. We are
happy to provide copies of these reports on request.
If your family would
like to participate, please register your 0- to 12-year-old (currently,
our studies extend only through the elementary age). You can
use our registration link below, or email or call us. If you have
questions or would like more details, check out our FAQ or feel
free to continue browsing or to contact us directly.
Labs | A Typical Visit | FAQ | Register
An important note: The
labs that make up the Child Development Laboratories conduct basic
research in cognitive development, and we do not evaluate individual
performance. Rather, we are interested in the performance of children
as a group. If you have specific concerns about your child's
development, please consult with your pediatrician. Additional resources
on child development can be found on our Frequently
Asked Questions page.