Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

University of Maryland, College Park
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Your Visit

Our Social Connection study involves more than one visit. We will arrange each visit on a different day so that we do not tire you and your child out!
There is an MRI visit involved in the main study, and a sub-study you can join if your child is unable to patricipate in an MRI scan. There is also a heart rate monitoring activity that is optional for the main study and required for the sub-study.

Behavioral Session

1. Our behavioral session is at our lab space in the Biology-Psychology Building on UMD's campus. You may schedule one 5-hour behavioral session or two 2.5-hour sessions, the second of which can be completed online. Before your visit, we will send you directions to our lab and parking spots!

2. At the beginning of the session, you and your child will get to learn more about the study and visits involved. We will review the timeline of your future visits with you and answer any questions you or your child may have.

3. Once we go over the session’s itinerary and answer any questions you may have, the researcher will begin the session with your child. You can use this time to independently complete our parent survey, which will ask questions about your child's development and behaviors.

 a. As part of the study, your child may be asked to watch video clips, complete visual tasks on a computer or iPad, and complete questionnaires on a computer, with a researcher there to help.

4. At the end of your behavioral session, a researcher will introduce you and your child to what the text message surveys will look like. If you and your child are interested, the researcher may also introduce the heart rate band to your child and go over how to use it with their phone. Finally, we can answer additional questions you have about the texts messages or heart rate band.*

 *If you are participating in the no MRI sub-study, you will only have one 2.5-hour behavioral session instead of two.

MRI Session

1. MRI Sessions take place at the Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC).

  a. You may park anywhere in the “visitor” section of the parking lot. Sometimes there are parking costs, for which we will reimburse you.

  b. A researcher from our lab will be waiting to greet you outside of the MNC, and at least one other researcher will be inside to help. The MRI session will take about 3 hours, but your child will only be in the scanner for a little over an hour.

2. For a more in-depth look at what your child will be doing during our MRI session, choose an option from the right sidebar. These resources are for all ages and made for you and your child to look at together!

COVID-19: Our research team and the staff at the MNC take COVID-19 precautions very seriously. Precautions such as mask-wearing, social distancing when possible, and disinfecting take place at all participant visits. If you have any questions about these safety precautions, please do not hesitate to email us at marylandbrainstudy@umd.edu

Text Message Surveys & Heart Rate Band

After the MRI visit, you will have gone over how to complete the text surveys and heart rate measurements! If you are participating in the no MRI sub-study, you will do this part immediately after your behavioral visit.

1. After your child's MRI visit (or initial appointment if they are participating in the sub-study), we will enroll them in a text message program that sends them 5-6 survey links/ per day via text message. These surveys each take less than 5 minutes to complete and will ask your chid about their recent social interactions.

2. If your child does not have a phone that allows for text messages and online survey links, we can provide them with one for the duration of the study!

3. If you and your child are interested in trying the heart rate portion of the study, we will provide you with a heart rate monitor and band to pair to your phone and record some heart rate data on the days you are completing surveys.

Partner Visit

1-3 months after your child's behavioral and MRI sessions, we will follow-up with you to schedule your child's partner visit. This visit takes place in our lab space in the Biology-Psychology Building, where your child will be paired with another participant in our study and will complete a task and watch videos while wearing eye-tracking glasses.

This visit is only required for participants who have participated in an MRI visit.

Follow-Up Timepoints

Following these in-person sessions, we will ask your child to participate in follow-up activities every 4 months for the next 20 months, for a total of 5 follow-ups after your initial visit. These follow-up acitvities include text message surveys and online questionnaires for both you and your child. These activities do not require any in-person visits to UMD!