If we match you up with a current study, the researcher will contact you to tell you more details about the study and you can decide if you want to participate. In general, our studies involve activities such as listening to sounds, looking at words or images on a screen, answering questionnaires, or playing a game. Many participants think that the studies are interesting or fun! If you are interested in learning more about the kinds of studies our researchers are conducting, you can view the list of researchers and their areas of study below.


Rechele Brooks, Joint Visual Attention (JVA) Lab
At the JVA Lab, we study social and cognitive development in infancy and early childhood. We have an ongoing “looking game” for hearing and deaf children to study how well they use and understand the visual and social cues of eye gaze. Here are some study questions for our lab: 1) When do infants follow the eye gaze of other people? 2) Do infants and children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) rely more heavily on visual social cues (e.g., gaze, pointing, reaching) than their hearing peers? 3) Will the use of these visual social cues improve children’s language and social communication skills?
Ward Drennan, Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center
This researcher is interested in studying people who have had their hearing tested and been told that their hearing is within normal limits but who have difficulty hearing, especially in background noise, have a history of noise exposure or have tinnitus.
Annette Estes, Infant Brain Imaging Study
This study focuses on learning more about brain and behavioral development in younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and younger siblings of typically developing children. The information gained in this study hold promise for improving methods of early detection and leading to earlier intervention for at-risk infants to ensure the best possible outcomes for young children and their families.
David Horn, Prosthetic Auditory Development Lab
Dr. Horn’s research focuses on how hearing abilities develop in babies and children who use cochlear implants (CIs). The goal of this work is to learn how early hearing abilities are related to later speech and language development in children with CIs. Information learned from this study will be used to care for infants and children with CIs to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Julie Kientz, Computing for Healthy Living & Learning Lab
Our lab generally does research on understanding use of and designing new interactive technologies to support the health, wellbeing, and education of children of all ages and their families. Relevant studies have included designing new technology to help parents track their children’s developmental milestones, studies of how pre-schoolers use interactive tablets, determining how we can support teenagers’ health through an interactive application, and studying how to support inclusive play between children with and without disabilities.
Natalia Kleinhans, Social Sensory Processing Study
The Social Sensory Processing Study focuses on better understanding the biochemical, brain, and behavioral causes of social challenges and sensory sensitivity in children with autism. The information gained in this study will lead to advancements in our understanding of individuals with autism and sensory processing challenges.
Sara Kover, Neurodevelopmental Disorders Language and Learning (NeuDLL) Lab
The focus of the NeuDLL Lab is on the development of language abilities in children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders. This research has included individuals with fragile X syndrome, which is the leading inherited cause of intellectual disability, as well as individuals with autism spectrum disorder or Down syndrome. The overarching goal of this research is to understand how specific cognitive processes and learning mechanisms (e.g., statistical learning) interact with the learning opportunities afforded by the environment over the course of development. More generally, the mission of the NeuDLL lab is to investigate the consequences of neurodevelopmental disorders on language development, with consideration for the relationships among genes, brain, and cognition, as well as their impact on language learning processes.
Pat Kuhl, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS)
Dr. Kuhl's work has played a major role in demonstrating how early exposure to language alters the brain. It has implications for critical periods in development, for bilingual education and reading readiness, for developmental disabilities involving language, and for research on computer understanding of speech.
Ludo Max, Laboratory for Speech Physiology and Motor Control
Dr. Max's work is aimed to understand factors that contribute to stuttering and to improve the clinical management of individuals who stutter. He uses various approaches to understand the differences between individuals who stutter and individuals who do not stutter. These approaches include examining differences in: 1) speech production, 2) the process of learning a motor (movement) skill through practice and 3) how brain activity and movements interact with each other during the planning and executing stages of movement.
Kate McLaughlin, Stress and Development Lab
The Stress and Development Lab examines how experiences of stress and adversity impact children’s development. Stressful life events are a universal experience for children, adults, and families. The studies we conduct aim to understand which types of stressors are most likely to influence emotional, cognitive, social, and brain development and what kinds of supports might protect children from the effects of toxic stress. To do so, we use a number of tools such as behavioral measures, cognitive tests, assessments of social and emotional functioning, and brain imaging (MRI) to shed light on the relationship between stressful life experiences and different aspects of children’s development.
Andrew Meltzoff, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS)
Dr. Meltzoff and his research collaborators study infants and children across many ages – from newborns to teens. They study cognitive science including the following topics: 1) Brain development, 2) Infant learning by imitating others, 3) Children’s learning of cause and effect, 4) Children’s Identity development, 5) Children’s stereotypes about gender and academics, 6) Children’s social interactions and motivation, and 7) Young children’s memory
Kristina Olson, Social Cognitive Development Lab
In our lab we’re interested in how young children think about the social world around them and their place in that world. Our studies cover a wide range of topics from when and why children help others to how children think about people from different racial or social class backgrounds. Most recently, we started a new study comparing gender development in children who are transgender and gender nonconforming to other children, to document and help understand the ways in which these children’s lives are similar and different from one another.
Akira Omaki, Language Development and Processing (LDP) Lab
We are interested in why and how children learn languages so quickly, accurately and effortlessly, while adults struggle in learning a new language. Our research uses a variety of behavioral and eye-tracking experiments to investigate how children and adults comprehend or produce words and sentences in their native language, as well as how they learn a new language. All of our experiments for children are designed to be fun, interactive games or stories. This research allows us to advance our understanding of the nature of the language learning mechanism, and provides implications for language education as well as clinical treatment for individuals with language disorders.
Betty Repacholi, Social and Emotional Development Lab
In our lab, we conduct research in the area of social and emotional development. Many of our studies explore how infants read and respond to other people’s emotional expressions. In particular, do infants understand the meaning of different emotions? Do infants remember other people’s emotions? How does language development change infants’ emotion understanding? To investigate these topics we invite parents and their infants to our lab for short, child-friendly studies. Parents remain with their infants throughout the entire visit. We using looking tasks and interactive tasks in which we measure infants’ behavior. The majority of our studies require a one-time visit to our lab at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS; University of Washington) and last about an hour.
Frederick Shic, Seattle Children's Innovative Technologies Lab
Our research aims to refine our understanding of atypical development of social cognition and attention associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as well as identify behavioral and neural markers of ASD, expand accessibility of screening and treatment to a larger population, and to leverage new technologies to accomplish these goals. The current study uses non-invasive neuroimaging technology and eye-tracking to examine atypical neural and behavioral responses in toddlers and young children with ASD presented with point light displays of human movement and emotion. We hope to understand the fundamental nature of deficits in ASD by highlighting deficits in basic social-emotional information processing, and may lead to the discovery of new markers for the disorder and new methodologies for breaking down the vast behavioral and clinical differences of ASD.
Jessica Sommerville, Early Childhood Cognition Lab
The Early Childhood Cognition Lab conducts research on social cognitive development under the direction of Dr. Jessica Sommerville. Currently, we are researching infants’ understanding of the social world. We investigate the development of early social and moral cognition and behavior. Some of the topics we focus on include sharing, fairness and reciprocity. To investigate these topics we invite parents and their children to our lab for short, child-friendly studies using looking tasks and interactive tasks in which we measure infants’ and children’s behavior, and physiological responses (such as pupil dilation) and brain responses (e.g., EEG). The majority of our studies require a one-time visit to our lab here at the University of Washington and last about an hour.
Wendy Stone, Research in Early Autism Detection and Intervention (READi) Lab
The READi Lab conducts research related to early identification and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Current projects include: (1) a lab-based study examining pupil dilation as a potential biomarker of ASD; (2) a home-based study examining the efficacy of a parent-mediated intervention for infants at elevated risk for ASD (i.e., later-born siblings of children with ASD); and (3) a community-based study examining an innovative healthcare service delivery model designed to promote earlier access to specialized intervention for toddlers with ASD.
Kelly Tremblay, Brain and Behavior Lab
The Brain and Behavior Lab focuses on ways to improve hearing and communication for people as they age. Dr. Tremblay, a neuroscientist and clinician, has an interest in using her knowledge about the brain to improve auditory rehabilitation services for older adults. The lab uses a combination of laboratory and community-based research to address the hearing health of aging individuals in society. This includes studying effects of auditory deprivation and stimulation on the brain. The B&B lab use MEG and EEG methods to explore how sound is processed in the auditory systems of people with and without hearing loss.
Lynne Werner, Infant Hearing Lab
We are interested in how infants can separate a sound they want to hear from other sounds in the environment. We examine listeners’ behavioral responses to a target sound when other sounds are playing. Sometimes different people produce the target and competing sounds. Sometimes the sounds are accompanied by a visual display that might help the listener to figure out when the target sound was played and what the target sound was. The goal is to figure out how infants can deal with sound in modern day noisy environments.


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