How a Session Runs:
Every study we do has different tasks and events, but they all have a similar structure. We have two main kinds of studies: Behavioral studies and MRI studies. Click the relevant tab below to find out what will happen during each study. If you're scheduled for an appointment, the Researcher should have made it clear which kind of study you'll be doing. If you are not sure, please contact us and we can clarify any confusion.
To start the study we will meet you outside of our testing space to guide you in if possible. Then we will reiterate what you'll be doing during the study. We will go over the necessary paperwork with you and your child will have the chance to pick out a toy to keep at the end of the session.
Your child’s participation in the behavioral tasks will last anywhere between 30 and 120 minutes. Testing will take place at Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall Room A15D, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. We will provide your child with frequent breaks, and they will also be encouraged to ask for breaks when he or she needs them.
If your child is participating in behavioral tasks, your child will be asked to play games on a touch-screen computer. These games will ask your child to match and compare objects based on categories such as color, size, shape, or amount.
Your child will also be asked some standardized test questions on the computer and/or by one of our experimenters. Such questions may include age-appropriate math problems (e.g.: What is 3 + 3?), categorization tasks with blocks (e.g.: Do these three blocks have the same color? Do they have the same shape?), memory tasks (e.g: Can you repeat the following list of numbers back to me? 2, 5, 6, 1), or vocabulary and reading questions (e.g.: What does “ c-a-t” spell?). Throughout these tasks, your child will be rewarded with stickers.
Neuroimaging sessions will last approximately two hours (45 minutes for paperwork and questions, 30 minutes in the practice scanner, and 45 minutes in the real fMRI scanner) including breaks. The neuroimaging tasks will be done at the Scientific Brain Imaging Center (SIBR) at Carnegie Mellon University.
If your child is participating in neuroimaging tasks, they will first be introduced to our simulation scanner. It is a model of the actual scanner they will perform the study’s tasks in. In the simulation scanner they will practice the tasks to be done in the real scanner. They will also be introduced to the sounds they should expect in the real scanner and they will practice laying still for the real scanner.
For the actual scanning, your child will be asked to lay down on a table which will slide into a large scanner which will allow us to take images their brain. While in the scanner, your child will be asked to play games on a screen in the scanner. These games will ask your child to match and compare objects based on categories such as color, size, shape, or amount. They will also watch a clip from a popular movie.
Your child may also be asked to participate in behavioral tasks which generally consist of short standardized tests or games similar to MRI tasks done on a touchscreen computer.