Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

University of Maryland, College Park

Our Methods


We have a few different methods that we may use in our studies. The methods we use depend on the study so, if you are ever contacted by one of our researchers, you will always be given an overview of everything that will happen in a study. Below is more information about the methods we use in our lab.


Method #1: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

One common method we use in our lab is fMRI. fMRI stands for “functional magnetic resonance imaging.” The “f” stands for ‘function’ and it allows us to see how your child’s brain is functioning in response to pictures, movies, sounds, and words! fMRI is widely used in research and is known to be safe! You may be nervous that your child might not like being in an MRI scanner, but we make sure we practice with each and every child in our mock (or pretend) scanner before bringing them into the real scanner. That way, you and your child can feel comfortable with the study. We have created some child friendly resources that you can review with your child to become more familiar with everything that goes on in our fMRI studies:



Go through a walk-through picture tour about participating in a fMRI study



Method #2: Behavioral Tasks

Another common method we use in our lab is behavioral tasks. These tasks typically involve your child playing games, watching movies, and listening to stories with a research and also answering questions about these games, movies, and stories. We try to create tasks as fun and interesting as possible for your children. For some studies, we may even monitor your child’s eye movements (using an eye-tracking machine) to see which parts of the pictures and movies your child looks at more.


Go through a walk-through picture tour about participating in a Behavioral session