For Parents

Welcome to The Child Development Labs

After you have registered, we will contact you when a study for your child becomes available, by calling or sending you an email describing the study. If you’re interested in having your child participate in that study, we will schedule a time that is convenient for you, which could be during the workday, evening, or weekend. Visits usually last 30-60 minutes and siblings of any age are welcome to come along.


Your appointment will take place at Gilmer Hall on UVa grounds near the stadium and we have free parking spots for study participants. On the day of the study, one of our friendly research assistants will meet you at your reserved parking spot and walk you to the lab reception area.
Visit our CONTACT page for a map to our lab, as well as information about driving directions and parking.

Inside Our Lab

Your child will find toys, puzzles, crayons, and other activities to allow him/her to become comfortable with the researcher and the surroundings. While your child is playing, a research assistant will explain the study to you in detail and provide a consent form for you to read and sign. We are also happy to give you a copy of the consent form for your records. We take special care to ensure that both parent and child are comfortable before beginning the study.

Our Studies

When your child is comfortable and ready, we move to a nearby testing/study room. All of our studies are designed to be quick and fun, where children might read a story, play a game, watch a video, and then answer questions about the related activity.
Some of our studies only use behavioral measures and some may use other techniques, such as eye tracking and electroencephalography (EEG). However, all our studies are noninvasive and have been approved by the University of Virginia’s Institutional Review Board.
If at any point during the study you or your child decide to discontinue, we will immediately stop the study.


Most of our studies are videotaped for research purposes. This allows us to keep track of your child’s responses, interactions and object selections during a study. All data we collect, including videotapes, is kept completely confidential; your child's name will never be associated with it.

Thank you for Participating

At the end of the study, your child gets to pick a prize, we answer any study related questions, and thank you for coming. Next, a researcher will escort you back to your car. We work very hard to make each visit an enjoyable experience for the child and parent, and many families choose to participate in numerous studies. Finally, from time to time, we will send you a newsletter, describing the results of our studies.
We are always looking for new families to help out with our research! If you would like to be contacted for a potential future study, please sign-up on our PARTICIPATE page.