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For Children

Information for Children Interested in Participating

In the Social Development Lab, we study what children think and feel about important people in their lives, such as parents and friends, and how they act with those people.

Why do we call it a "lab"?

Places where research is done are called labs, or laboratories. Because we are researching how children grow in social relationships, our lab is called the Social Development Lab. The lab doesn't look like the kind of laboratory you may have seen in movies or TV shows, though. We have a playroom with lots of different toys, and we have a room we call the family room with stuffed chairs and a couch. We want you to feel comfortable, so we try to set up our lab to look as much like home or school as possible.

What would we ask you to do?

Sometimes we ask kids to watch videos and tell us what they think about the people in the video. Sometimes we ask kids to use our computer to tell us what they think about words or phrases. Sometimes we ask kids to tell us what they think their parents are feeling. And sometimes we ask kids to play board games or card games with their parents, or friend, or another kid or family. A lot of the time we need to videotape or audiotape so we can make sure we didn't miss anything. We never do anything or ask you to do anything we think could make you feel bad or uncomfortable, and we always try to make things fun.

Why are we interested in what you think, feel, and do?

You are very important to us! We want to know what children think about their own and other people's feelings and actions, how children feel and act when they're with their friends and parents, and how children decide about helping. The only way we can learn all this is to ask you. You are the expert! When we ask you questions, we don't know the answer, you do, so there's no right or wrong thing to say. The best way you can help us is by just telling us what you think and feel, and trying to act just like usual.

If you have any questions about a study or about anything about our lab, please send an e-mail to or call us at (540) 231-8179. In research, questions are a good thing! And remember that if you and your parents decide to do a study with us, you can ask any questions that you have at any time during your participation.

If you would like to download some Virginia Tech coloring pages, please visit the Hokie Sports website.



The Play Room

The Family Room