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Frequently Asked Questions

what happens when i fill out the "sign up" form?

When you share your contact information with us, your name is added to our family database (along with hundreds of other local Lancaster County families). If a research project comes up and your child is the right age for it, we'll get in touch to tell you about the project. You can ask plenty of questions and decide whether you'd like to participate. Your information is kept securely and is not shared or used for any purposes beyond this.


How old are the children usually involved in your research?

The vast majority of our projects involve babies and children from birth to age 9. Occasionally we have projects running with older children and teenagers, so please feel free to sign up any child 0 to 18.


Why should I sign up?

First, you know you're advancing the cause of science and knowledge! In addition, children receive a small thank you gift for participating, often a book or a cute "Child Scientist" t-shirt. You also get to learn a little something along with us; although we don't analyze or report individual children's data (because we're looking for overall trends across entire groups of children), we send families a short report on our findings at the close of the study, once all of the children have been tested.


What do children do in your projects? 

Each study is different, but one thing is always the same: Our research projects are designed with young brains and bodies in mind. Everything is made to be age-appropriate: fun, short, and interesting! During our projects, we watch to see how children behave or respond in particular situations. Sometimes we're reading stories, sometimes playing with toys, sometimes watching images on a screen. Children usually have fun playing with us; many don't want to leave when they're done! But of course if you come to participate in a project and your child is shy or not interested, that's no problem either. Participation is always 100% voluntary.


How long do projects last? 

Not long. Especially for the youngest participants, most sessions last under 30 minutes, and usually they are single-session events. Occasionally, some studies require two sessions scheduled a few days apart. You''ll be given full information prior to scheduling any particular study.


How do we get to you? What if I don't have transportation?

We are located on Harrisburg Pike and have free, reserved parent parking right in front of the building. If you are interested in having a child participate but cannot make it to us at F&M, occasionally we can see children at home or day care. Get in touch with us to discuss this option. Please visit our Find Us tab for detailed directions. 


My kid is (relatively!) normal. Don't psychologists study children with problems and disorders?

It's true that many psychologists are studying important topics in atypical development (for example, studying ADHD or behavior disorders). However, the DAX Center primarily addresses questions relating to normal development in order to better understand how typical kids are growing and learning about the world. (This sort of research often has effects in areas such as educational programming, social policy, and theory development.) The research conducted here focuses especially on cognition. For us, the big question is "How do kids think?"

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