Some of the projects of the Affective Neuroscience and Development Laboratory focus on child and adolescent development. To conduct this research, we depend on the participation of families like yours! This page is intended to answer common questions regarding our research studies.

You can also contact us at andl@wjh.harvard.edu or (617) 496 5447.

WHAT KINDS OF INFORMATION DO YOU COLLECT?

Each study is a little different, but in general, we want to find out three kinds of information.

We sometimes want to know about how yourchild thinks and feels, so we might ask your child to answer some questions about their thoughts, feelings, your family and friends, and how their body is changing as they grow up. Some studies also include parent questionnaires about the makeup of the family.

We sometimes want to know how children and adolescents respond to different kinds of information, like pictures of different people or scenes. They would look at these kinds of pictures on a computer screen, and press buttons to make decisions about them.

We sometimes take measurements of the structure and function of the brain. The brain can be noninvasively imaged with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

IS IT SAFE TO HAVE AN MRI?

There are no known or foreseeable risks or side effects associated with MRI scanning procedures except for those people who have electrically, magnetically or mechanically activated implants, or metal in or on their bodies. Therefore, we carefully remove all metal from participants before they are approved to enter the MRI environment. We will provide more detailed information about MRI scanning if you and your child or teen come in to participate.

CAN MY CHILD PARTICIPATE IF THEY HAVE BRACES?

If your child has any metal on or in their bodies that cannot be removed (nonremovable piercings, certain orthodontic work, pacemakers, clips) we might not be able to enroll them in our MRI studies. We can assess this in greater detail over the phone. However, we also have research studies that are done at a computer, without an MRI scan and anybody - braces or no braces - are safe to participate in those studies!

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO HAVE AN MRI SCAN?

Our friends in California made a video about what it’s like for a child or teen to have an MRI scan. Our MRI scans are very similar to the ones they describe.

Thanks to Silvia Bunge and Moriah Thomason for sharing this video

ARE MRI SCANS STRESSFUL FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS?

Most children and teens experience little to no stress in the MRI environment. In fact, many children and teens find it rewarding to participate in neuroscience research about the developing brain. If you'd like more information, the article linked below assesses childrens’ experiences as participants in MRI studies.

We give children and teens the opportunity to try out the MRI environment in a practice scanner. In the practice scanner, we also teach them how to stay still. You can read more about the practice scanner here

Your child or teen can decide to stop the study anytime they wish, without penalty. We make sure they understand this when they provide informed consent to their participation.

DOES MY CHILD OR TEEN GET ANYTHING FOR PARTICIPATING?

Children and teens are compensated for their time with cash and a t-shirt.

DO I NEED TO COME WITH MY CHILD OR TEEN TO THEIR APPOINTMENT?

We prefer that parents accompany their children to their appointment. However, if this is not possible we can work with you on the phone to answer your questions and obtain permission for your child’s participation.

WHERE DOES THE STUDY TAKE PLACE?

Our study takes place at the Northwest Science Building on the campus of Harvard University. Please visit our Contact page for detailed directions and parking information.

Parents - into paragraph

Some of the projects of the Affective Neuroscience and Development Laboratory focus on child and adolescent development. To conduct this research, we depend on the participation of families like yours! This page is intended to answer common questions regarding our research studies.

You can also contact us at andl@wjh.harvard.edu or (617) 496 5447.