Information for Parents

Thank you for your interest in participating in our studies! Click here to read about studies currently recruiting participants or read on for general information about the type of research we do. 

Overview of a Typical Study:

1. Lab visit to complete various questionnaires and computer tasks
2. fMRI scan
*All study sessions are scheduled at your convenience!*

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)


Most of our research studies involve fMRI scanning. An MRI scanner is a large machine with a magnetic field, which produces images of the brain at rest and while doing different kinds of tasks, such as rating how you feel after seeing different types of images or hearing different sounds. While participants work on a task, the scanner measures the amount of oxygen that different brain regions use up, which allows us to determine which areas of the brain are involved in different functions.  Participants lie very still on a table, while the scanner takes pictures of the brain. It tends to be very loud inside the scanner. As such, we provide earplugs and headphones. Several precautions for MRI scanning include checking participants for metal, such as braces, implanted medical devices, or any type of metal accessory, like jewelry and watches, as these will be affected by the scanner’s magnetic field. All of our researchers have been trained in MRI safety and conduct thorough screenings prior to each scan. Scans are generally conducted either at the Staglin IMHRO Center for Cognitive Neuroscience or The Ahmanson Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, both located within walking distance to our lab. 

Computer Tasks

Often, we will ask you and your child to complete tasks on a computer that are similar or identical to those completed inside the scanner. Usually these tasks will involve a short training and practice session. 


While at the lab, we ask participants to fill out various questionnaires or surveys. Depending on the study, we may ask you and your child to answer questions about physical and mental health, daily habits, thoughts, and feelings. Answering these questions, as well as any other part of our studies, is completely voluntary and you and your child may refuse at any time. You will have an opportunity to review and approve any questionnaires before we ask your child to complete them. 


All information you and your child provide during a study will be kept confidential. Names will be replaced with ID numbers and will not be linked to your data. All our studies have been approved by the UCLA Institutional Review Board, which is an ethics committee. Click here to learn more about the IRB and many other aspects of research participation. 


All our participants are compensated for their time. Compensation varies and generally depends on the type of study and time commitment. 


We can schedule your participation at your convenience! If a study involves fMRI scanning, typically your visit to our lab and the fMRI scan are scheduled on separate days. However, depending on the length of the study and your availability, both may be completed on the same day. Evenings and weekends are often available to accommodate our participants.