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Frequently Asked Questions

How long will our visit to the center be?

Most studies last about 5-10 minutes, but we schedule appointments for an hour so that you have time to relax, fill out any forms, and your child has time to enjoy the playroom!

Do we need to visit more than once?

No, our studies take only one visit! But most parents look forward to visiting us again. If you are too, we will contact you again as soon as your child is the right age for another study.

Can I bring a sibling along?

Yes! Infants, toddlers and young children enjoy our playroom and the research assistants who take care of them while you are engaged in a study with another child.

I recently had a baby. Is my newborn too young to participate?

We love babies! Even tiny newborns can tell us a lot about language and cognitive development. We have many opportunities for infants as young as 3 months of age. We hope you’ll sign up soon!

Who will we meet during our studies?

You’ll be interacting with trained child development researchers. Our team includes post-doctoral researchers, doctoral (PhD) students, and experienced Northwestern undergraduate students. We are committed to mentoring the next generation of developmental scientists!

What will my child do during the study?

Your child will help us learn how children learn! In a play session with a trained child development researcher, children usually play with toys, look at pictures or books, or watch a short video. You’re with your child the whole time. With your permission, we’ll record how long your child looks at, plays with, or talks about things we show them.

Will we be paid for participating?

You’ll receive either $10 in cash or a t-shirt and a small gift (a book or toy) as tokens of our gratitude.

Where do I park? Can I take the CTA?

We offer free parking, conveniently located just steps from the entrance to our center. We will send you a map and detailed directions to help you locate us. If you plan to take the CTA, just let us know. We will meet you at your stop and guide you to the center! If you take the bus, take #201 to the Sheridan and Foster stop. We’re only a 2-minute walk from there. If the train is more convenient, take the Purple Line to the Foster stop. It’s a 10-minute walk from there. (See the visit us page for a map).

Do you evaluate my child’s language or cognitive development?

No, we do not evaluate or ‘score’ your child. We look for trends across groups of children at roughly the same ages. If you are concerned about your child’s speech, language or cognitive development, Northwestern University has one of the nation’s leading clinics for assessment and interventions. Feel free to call them with any questions: 847-491-5012.

What do you do with the information you get from the studies?

Our goal is to discover infants’ and young children’s amazing language, cognitive and social abilities. We’re delighted to share our results. We describe our most recent work in our blog for parents. We are also happy to discuss our work at community events (see “Host an Expert Talk”). We also present our research in scientific publications, at academic conferences, and in the media. And, if you give us permission to videotape your child’s session, we will happily share the video of your child with you!