Infant and Toddler Study

We study the role of visual input in a child’s development. Our goal is to better understand when and how visual information is processed in the developing brain, and what things can interfere with normal visual development. We are developing new tests to measure developmental changes in children’s ability to see in 3D. Our depth perception tests are easy to do and are based on non-invasive brain wave-recordings (EEG recordings).

We are recruiting participants ages 3-6 months and 36-48 months to participate in study sessions at Wu-Tsai Neurosciences Institute on Stanford campus. During the session, your child will look at a TV screen showing simple 3D images. While they watch, we will record their brain-waves. There is no risk or discomfort in doing the tests.

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A: Yes. You would be with your baby/child at all times. All of our studies are non-invasive and child-friendly.

A: Please see this article by Hamer & Mirabella for some information on recent findings regarding what your baby can see.

what can my baby see

A: Yes, we can arrange for another researcher or assistant to be available to play with/watch your other child(ren). However, we do appreciate it if you let us know ahead of time so we can make those arrangements. If a second parent or another adult will be joining you, you are, of course, welcome to bring them along to watch your other child(ren). Additionally, kids who are old enough to be alone for a short while are invited to hang out in our lab suite and can play with the toys we provide as well, if they like.

A: Usually about an hour to an hour and a half from start to finish. The actual recording period (when your child will be actively participating) is generally about 15 minutes.

A: Most of our studies run from 9:00 until 4:30. Very rarely, we do run studies on the weekends. If multiple potential participants request a weekend visit (i.e. are unable to come in during the weekdays) we will try to schedule the sessions on the same day over the weekend for the ease of our researchers. Alternatively, whomever cares for the child during the day (ex. grandparent, babysitter) may bring them into the lab for the session. If this is an arrangement you would like to make, please let us know so that the appropriate consent documents and health information can be retrieved from you/one of the child’s guardians before the session. The time slot availabilities for clinical studies may be a little more flexible depending on the staff available to assist.

A: Yes, we do publish our research articles in scientific journals at the end of a study; however, that can take a year or more after the study finishes. For our most recent publications, check out the Home page, as well as our Publications page for all of our articles over the years.

A: All of our studies are non-invasive and child-friendly. We certainly try very hard to keep babies happy by jingling toys, singing songs, etc. during the recording. Older children usually enjoy the cap and think it is cool to wear.  You would be with your child at all times, and if they or you become uncomfortable at any point, we would end the session immediately.

A: The “electro” in EEG refers to the brain’s electrical signals which are measured by the EEG net. The EEG net is a piece of research equipment which poses minimal risk and absolutely no risk of electrical shock. It is a stretchy net connecting small electrodes (tiny metal disks) which “pick up” brain activity completely passively; similar to the way a microphone picks up a voice. The electrodes are hidden from view by small sponges which provide a soft, comfortable feel for the wearer. The net is non-invasive and sits on gently on your child’s head.

A: Please do not apply any products other than shampoo to your child’s hair/head before the appointment. Any products containing oil on the scalp will need to be washed off before we apply the EEG cap because oils prevent us from clearly measuring your child’s brain response. The EEG net is soaked in a baby shampoo and salt solution, but we will need to additionally wet or wash your child’s hair depending on the products used on their hair that day.

A: In general, we like to limit the number of unhealthy individuals that come into the lab to prevent spreading germs. However, with babies there are a few infections/illnesses to be on the lookout for. We specifically do not run babies with ear infections, cradle cap, or open cuts/scrapes on their heads. While we disinfect and wash our EEG nets, we don’t like to run an EEG session with an infant/child that has an illness on or near the head. Additionally, for open cuts/scrapes, the salt used in the solution can cause a slight stinging sensation when making contact. Much of this also applies to older children, however instances of ear infections/cradle cap/etc. are far fewer, and sometimes less severe scrapes near the head can be tolerated. It’s best to give us a call and check whether the session should be rescheduled.

A: Beyond contributing to science, we have Stanford Neuroscience themed baby bibs, small prizes, and some of our studies are compensated monetarily. Multiple-session studies typically provide monetary compensation for one visit, and a “souvenir” gift for the subsequent visit(s).

A: We are a research lab and do not provide clinical services. We do not make assessments or evaluations of individual children, but if you would like to know more about what we have learned, our findings are available on our website.