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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I participate?

It is easy to participate. You can sign up by emailing us at or calling us at 573-882-6683.

baby playingWhat ages are you looking for?

We work with 2½ - to 24-month-olds.

Are there any risks or benefits to participating?

There are no risks associated with participation in our studies, and by participating you will help us better understand infant cognitive development.

Will I be paid to participate?

We do not pay participants, but we will offer a $5 reimbursement for any travel expenses. When the study is done, we will give you a CD of your baby in the experiment to take home.

Will I be with my child the whole time?

Yes. One parent is with the infant at all times. If the other parent, or family or friends, choose to come along, they are more than welcome to be in the experiment room and watch everything on a TV monitor.

What happens when I arrive?

big brother and baby brotherWhen you arrive, you will be greeted in our waiting room by one of our researchers. The researcher will explain the study in detail, answer all of your questions, and ask you to complete a consent form and a short, one page questionnaire asking information about your child and your family.

How long will I be there?

You will be here for no more than 30 minutes.

If I cannot get a babysitter, can I bring my other child(ren) with me to the study?

Absolutely. We can arrange to have one of our Research Assistants play with them in our waiting room while a parent and the infant go to the experiment room. Please let us know before you come to the appointment.

baby participantWhat happens in the studies?

Your infant will sit on your lap in front of a little puppet stage. During the experiment, the infant watches live events performed on the stage or videotaped events shown on a TV monitor. You can watch the events with the infant. However, you will be asked to close your eyes or look away when the unexpected events are shown, so that your responses will not bias your infant.

What if my baby doesn't like these tests?

Most infants love looking at the events. However, the infant or parents are free to stop the tests at any time for any reason.

Will you tell me how my baby has done?

We are not looking at the individual performance of infants in our studies and our tests are not used to diagnose or treat any type of developmental delays. Rather, we are interested in overall trends of a particular group. Therefore we will not be able to tell you how your infant did individually, but once the study is completed we can tell you what infants at your baby's age tend to do.

baby and momDo I have to come for multiple sessions?

No, this is a one-time thing. But many parents choose to come back for more studies with different age groups. This is a fun experience for both parents and infants.

How do I get there?

Please see Directions, Parking Information & Map for more detailed driving directions and parking information. We will send you a parking permit, so you do not need to worry about finding or paying for parking.

Contact Us!

Infant Cognition Lab
Room 14 McAlester Hall
Department of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211-2500
phone: 573-882-6683