Frequently Asked Questions

I received an email or phone call from your lab. How did you get our information?

We recruit subjects from a number of sources, including from the sign-up sheet on our website, other labs within the Institute of Human Development, local museums, local preschools and daycares, and word of mouth- if you know other parents who might be interested in participating, please tell them about us! 

How long does a visit normally take and how many visits are required?

 Although many families choose to come in several times to participate in different studies, participation in one study requires just one visit and does not commit you to any other visits. We schedule 45-minute appointments to allow plenty of time for your child to become comfortable with the environment and researchers before beginning the study and to explain to you the theory behind out study afterward, but typically, the study itself only takes between 5 and 15 minutes.


What does a visit entail?

First, a researcher will be waiting at our parking spot to greet you and escort you and your child to the play room. While you fill out some forms, we will all get to know each other by playing together until your child feels comfortable. Then, we will all make our way to one of our study rooms, where we will play a game with your child. The particular game your child will play,  depends on the research question we are interested in. For example, if our study is about word-learning, we may show your child some interesting objects they’ve never seen before and ask them to extend a new word to one of two choices. We may also, with your permission, use a video camera to record behavior. At the end of the game, we will let your child choose a small gift from our toy display. For more information about studies we are currently running, see our research page.

What if my child doesn’t like the study?

We do find that most children enjoy participating and have even heard anecdotes of children pretend to be researchers when playing at home and preschool. However, you and your child are free to end the session for any reason at any time.

When are appointments scheduled?

We will try our hardest to find a time that works well for you. Studies are typically scheduled Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but occasionally,  we conduct our studies outside of that time frame.

What ages are you looking for?

The study descriptions give information about the age our lab is currently recruiting. However, the Language and Cognitive Development Lab runs a variety of studies for children ages 2 – to 8-years-old and regularly have new studies . We love to hear from parents who are interested in participating, and we can contact you when we have a new study that suits your child.

Where is your lab located?

Our lab is located on the north side of  UC Berkeley’s campus in Tolman Hall and we reserve a parking spot for participants right in front of the building. Please see our Directions page for further information.

Is your lab accessible by public transportation?

Yes! The following bus lines stop nearest to our lab: AC Transit  52,  65,  & UC Berkeley F line. You will exit at Hearst Ave. & Arch St. (right out front of Tolman Hall). The closest Bart stop is the Downtown Berkeley Bart station and is just a short walk away. 

Is it easy to find parking near the lab?

Yes! We will reserve the parking spot  conveniently located right in front of our building. We will cover the cost of parking.

Can I stay with my child during the study?

Of course! Parents are encouraged (and sometimes required) to be with their child during the study. However, we ask that you follow the instructions of the researcher and refrain from interacting with your child so that you do not influence their responses. For certain studies we may also ask you to pretend to be distracted (e.g., browse through a magazine) to discourage your child from looking to you for responses.

I have more than one child. Can I bring all of my children with me if only one is participating?

Sure! Let us know at the time of scheduling and we will arrange to have a trained research assistant keep the rest of your children company in the playroom, while you and your child participate in the study.

Will I be paid to participate?

We do not pay participants, but your child will receive a small gift (e.g., stuffed animal or coloring book) as a token of our appreciation for contributing to our research.

Will I receive the results of my child’s performance?

We study trends in behaviors across groups of children, rather than researching the individual performance of a particular child. It should also be noted that our tests are not designed or used to diagnose or treat developmental delays. While we cannot tell you specifically about your child’s performance, we can tell you how children of a similar age range have performed on the study so far. At the end of each semester, results of studies will be posted to our website in the form of a newsletter. We will also upload detailed research papers to our publications page at the time of publishing, but the publishing process can take up to a few years after study completion.

How long does it take to finish collecting data for a study? How many subjects do you test?

Depending on the required sample size and criteria for participation, it can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to collect data.

Do you conduct your research elsewhere?

Yes! We conduct research at local museums, preschools, and daycares. Currently, we are collaborating with the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Habitot, and local preschools. If you know of a preschool, daycare, or museum who might be interested in collaborating with us, please contact our Lab Manager