Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

University of Maryland, College Park

    Frequentely Asked Questions (FAQs)

    We've compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions below to ensure a successful experience for you and your child when working with the DSCN lab.



    How can you and your child begin participating in our studies?


    How do I know if my child is eligible for a study?


    Where do our studies take place?


    What happens during a visit to the DSCN lab?


    What happens during a visit to the Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC)?


    Where will I be while my child is participating?


    Are there any risks involved?


    How long do studies in the DSCN lab take?


    How flexible is the DSCN lab when it comes to scheduling sessions?




    How can you and your child begin participating in our studies?


    Interested in having your child participate in our fun studies and other studies like them? If so, click here to register your child for the University of Maryland’s Infant and Child Studies Database. Child developmental labs across campus will then use the information you provide about your child to see if your child is eligible to participate in their study. If they believe your child is eligible, they will give you a call to potentially schedule a study session with you! To read more about the database, click here. Please feel free to contact the DSCN lab directly by calling (301) 405-7612 or e-mailing us at dscn.umd@gmail.com.


    How do I know if my child is eligible for a study?


    If you decide to sign your child up for the University of Maryland’s Infant and Child Studies Database (click here), a researcher will contact you to gather additional information. Once all of this information has been gathered, one of researchers will call you when we believe your child may be a good fit for one of our current studies.


    Where do our studies take place?


    Well, it depends on what type of study your child is participating in. If it’s a behavioral study, it will take place within the DSCN lab located inside the Biology-Psychology Building on UMD-CP’s campus. Click here for pictures of the lab or here for exact directions to the Biology-Psychology Building.


    If you and your child are participating in a MRI study of ours, the study will take place at the Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC) located less than 0.5 miles away from UMD-CP campus. You can learn more about the MNC here. Click here for exact directions to the MNC.


    What happens during a visit to the DSCN lab?


    If you and your child are visiting the DSCN lab, your child will be participating in a fun behavioral session of ours! A behavioral session usually involves having your child play games, listen to stories, and answer questions with one of our researchers in one of our playrooms.


    What happens during a visit to the Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC)?


    If you and your child are visiting the MNC, your child will be participating in a MRI session of ours! This is where we will take pictures of your child’s brain while he/she is watching a movie or performing a task in our MRI scanners. We will use a pretend MRI scanner to practice everything related to the MRI scanner with you and your child BEFORE your child even enters the real MRI scanner. That way, you can rest easy knowing that your child will be comfortable in the real scanner!


    Where will I be while my child is participating?


    For the behavioral studies, you can usually sit right outside the door of the room in which we are testing. We can even leave the door cracked so that you can hear everything that is going on! For the MRI studies, you can watch your child while he/she is in the scanner from a window OR, if you are cleared to enter the magnet room, you can remain in the scanner room throughout the entire study.


    Are there any risks involved?


    There are no unusual risks involved in any of our behavioral studies. Your child’s behavioral session will involve experiences such as playing games, listening to stories, or answering questions asked by one of our researchers. As for risks involved in our MRI studies, the MRI procedure itself is known to be safe and is widely used in medical practice. We will, however, have you complete a screening form about your child to ensure that your child may not have any medical conditions (i.e., epilepsy) nor metal implants (i.e., bone screws) in his/her body. This screening form will enable us to ensure that it is safe for your child to enter an MRI scanner! We will have you complete this screening form about your child prior to scheduling any sessions with you. Of course, if at any point during a study you or your child no longer wish to participate, you may stop and we will be glad that you gave it a try!


    How long do studies in the DSCN lab take?


    Well, it depends on the type of study. Behavioral studies usually take 1-1.5 hours whereas MRI studies usually take around 2 hours. We will always be sure to share with you the expected length of a study when we get in touch with you to schedule.


    How flexible is the DSCN lab when it comes to scheduling sessions?


    We are very flexible when it comes to scheduling sessions. We offer appointments as early as 9am and, typically, as late as 6pm on weekdays. We even offer appointments on weekends.