We are always looking for families with children between the ages of 9 months and 10 years to participate in our studies!

Study participation involves a one-time visit to our lab in the Waisman Center at UW-Madison. Our studies are presented to children as short games, so participating in our studies is easy and fun. A study session takes about 30 minutes, and your visit to the lab can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you.  We offer daytime, evening, and weekend appointments. You will receive your choice of $10 or a small thank-you gift for participating, and we offer free parking and childcare for siblings during your visit.

Here are some frequently asked questions about participating in Social Kids Lab studies:

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Q: What would my child be asked to do in a study?

A: Studies in our labs vary depending on the child’s age and the topic of the research. We always provide parents with a specific study description before scheduling an appointment. In a typical study for infants, we might show babies pictures and measure how long they look at them. In a typical study for preschoolers, we might show pictures of different people and ask children with whom they’d like to play. All of our studies are presented as games, and most children enjoy participating.

Q: Where do I go when my child is participating?

A: You can be with your child while she or he participates. If you prefer, you may stay in our wait area during the study.

Q: How do I cancel or reschedule an appointment?

A: Email us at, or give us a call at 608-263-5853.

Q: Will I receive information about my child's development?

A: Our studies are designed to answer questions about children’s development as a group, rather than focusing on any individual child’s development. In general, there are no “right” or “wrong” ways to respond in our studies. We are simply interested in how children think and act at different points in development. We periodically send out a newsletter to parents whose children have participated in our research. Additionally, you may email us or call us at any time to receive information about any of our research findings.

Q: How will the findings from this research be used?

A: The results from our studies are typically published in academic journals where they are read by other researchers and educators who are interested in children’s social development. Additionally, research findings from developmental psychology labs like ours are sometimes used to inform policy decisions concerning children’s education, health, and care. We never release or publish information about specific children; instead, we describe responses of children as a group. Your child’s participation and responses are completely confidential.

Q: What's the purpose of this research?

A: The goal of our research is to shed light on key questions concerning children’s early social development. Through our research, we intend to paint a clearer picture of development for parents, scientists, educators, and policy-makers. Though many of our studies focus on typically developing children, we believe our research has important implications for understanding and promoting the learning and development of all children.