• Why do researchers do infant studies?
    When infants are born into the world, they know very little and are quite helpless, but within a couple of years, they are walking and talking! We are trying to understand how babies and young children develop and learn to accomplish this amazing achievement. This can help us understand under what conditions babies thrive and identify potential problems early on. Ultimately, we are hoping to give every baby the best start in life.
  • Why are these infant studies online?
    We recognise how much of an effort it can be for parents to come into the lab and to make sure that it is exactly the right time of the day for their baby. The benefit of conducting studies online is that parents can participate in the comfort of their own home at a time that is convenient for them and their child.
  • How can we participate?
    You can participate by registering here and subsequently signing up your child here. When we have studies available for which he or she is the right age group, these studies will appear under “See the studies currently available for your children.”. The number of studies available at any time will be variable. Sometimes there may be no studies available, and at other times there may be multiple. Unless otherwise specified, for each of our studies you will need a stable internet connection, a computer or laptop, a webcam and loudspeakers. Our studies usually consist of a series of pictures or movie clips played in the browser of your computer or laptop which your baby will watch. While your baby is watching, we will make a recording of his or her eye-movements and attention span with your webcam. This allows us to learn what type of pictures or movie clips are the most interesting to your child. With this information, we can test our theories about infant development.
  • Who are the researchers?
    We are members of the Cusack Lab at Trinity College Dublin and we study infant development. You can read more about us here: http://www.cusacklab.org
  • I have multiple children in the age range for a study. Can they participate together?
    We are very happy for multiple of your children to participate, but we ask that they participate individually. As we are making a webcam recording during the study, we need each participant to sit exactly in the middle of the recording, close to the screen, and with their face well-lit to enable us to see their eyes. When multiple children participate at once, the quality of the recording reduces dramatically, and we might not be able to use their video data.
  • Will we be paid for our participation?
    A small monetary award (the exact amount is dependent on multiple factors, such as duration of the study) will be given to participants who click “save” at the end of the study. Payments are conducted via PayPal or Revolut and require the entry an ID of one of these services in the participant profile. We chose PayPal and Revolut to reduce the number of personal details participants have to share with us. We review the recording to make sure that it is a valid participation (e.g., that a baby is present) before we approve the payment.
  • I did not enter any PayPal or Revolut ID. Can my child and I still participate?
    Yes, you are very welcome to participate also without entering any PayPal or Revolut ID. However, in that case, we will not be able to reimburse you for your participation.
  • How is our information kept secure and confidential?
    We adhere to GDPR and national data protection and data security regulations. Your and your infant’s personal data (e.g. date of birth) data is stored on an encrypted and password-secured server that is only accessible to authorised members of the research team and is placed within the EU. Video-recordings are also kept on an encrypted and password-secured server that is only accessible to authorised members of the research team, but they are stored on a different server separated from your personal data. The linking key between your video data and personal data is only in possession of the lead researcher and principal investigator. We will only share your video data with anyone outside of the research team if you have given us your explicit consent, which is fully optional for participation.
  • What do the researchers do with our videos?
    In most of our studies, we are interested in the looking behaviour of your baby. As we cannot ask babies what they find most interesting about the world, we have to learn this by measuring what they like to look at most. After we have received the video recording of your child while doing our study, we analyse the looking patterns at various moments during the study. We then do a group-level analyse, taking the looking patterns of all babies in the study together, to draw conclusions about babies of a certain age or certain group (e.g. babies born prematurely).
  • What if my child did not want to look at the screen?
    Since it is possible that children might not be as interested at looking at our movies or pictures on certain days, for example when they are a bit tired or because they are just not in the mood, we do not draw any conclusions about individual children. For our group-level analysis we are still interested in their looking behaviour, also when they were not as interested. We can learn as much from them being uninterested as we can from them being interested. We ask parents to refrain from interfering with the baby’s natural looking behaviour. If they do not want to look at our movies or pictures, that’s okay too!
  • Do I get my child's results?
    Most of our studies investigate development at the group level. These studies are not set up to make any claims about individual children and it would be unethical to do so. Whenever we have a study that allows us to share individual results, we will explicitly say this in the information page about the study. The group results will be written up in a scientific publication and published. These publications are usually available online or you can contact us about them.
  • Our family speaks a language other than English at home. Can my child participate?
    In general, yes. Most of our studies do not have language requirements. If we have a study that requires English language exposure only, our platform will not show the study as one of the studies for which your child is eligible, so you can always participate in the studies that are shown as available for your child.
  • My child was born prematurely. Can he/she participate and should we use his/her adjusted age?
    We are interested in how children learn and how this might differ for children born prematurely. The platform will show you the studies for which your baby is eligible. If the study is shown as available, you are very welcome to participate in it! When you create a profile for your child, we will ask you for their date of birth. Our platform then calculates his or her age in weeks or months. If we need the adjusted age, our platform will take care of this automatically. You do not have to do anything special.
  • My child has been diagnosed with a developmental disorder or has special needs. Can he/she still participate?
    We are interested in how children learn and how this might differ for certain groups of children, for example children with developmental disorders. Some studies will ask for typically developing children only, because we might need extra information before we can design a good study for everyone. These studies will not show up in the list of studies that are available for your child. If a study is shown as available, your child is eligible to participate.
  • Which browsers are supported?
    Recent versions of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera should be supported. If you have the latest version and any problems occur, please contact us.
  • A technical error occurred during the study. Can we try the study again?
    If you have not clicked “save” at the end of the study, you can try the study again. The study will then start from the beginning.