Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Who should I contact if I’m lost on campus?

Please contact the lab you have been in communication with. Find each lab’s contact information here.

I booked a visit and need to cancel. What do I do?

No problem! Please contact the lab for the study to reschedule.

Who can participate?

We study children from birth to 17 years old, as well as family relationships.

Where do the family research visits take place?

SFU Burnaby campus, SFU Surrey campus, and online over Zoom.

How can I find out about the results of this research?

After the study has concluded we will post a link to the lab’s site here for results and findings. The lab will also email a link to you.

Are there any other studies that me or my child could participate in?

Yes! Please see our labs’ current research projects here. We will contact you when there is a study that fits.

Why am I being contacted/How can I join the contact list?

You are in our database either because you enrolled in our parent registry or because we met you at a local family event and you expressed interest in learning more about our research. If you have not yet registered, feel free to register now.

All Families Lab

What happens at a family research visit?

More information will be provided soon.

How long will a family research visit take?

More information will be provided soon.

When can I schedule a family research visit?

More information will be provided soon.

Language Learning and Development Lab

What happens at a family research visit?

When you arrive at SFU, a researcher will meet you and walk you to the lab. There they will explain the tasks and ask you to complete consent forms for the family research visit.

After you have completed the forms, the researcher will guide you through the tasks. The tasks are short and should take no longer than 10-15 mins each.

Your child will be presented with their first degree and a small gift. A cap and gown will be provided for a mini graduation photo shoot.

After the study the researcher will explain the goal of the family research visit.

How long will a family research visit take?

Around one hour.

What happens if my baby doesn’t co-operate?

No problem, babies are babies after all! Although we do our best to ensure our entire interaction is baby-friendly, it is normal that sometimes babies do not wish to participate. Often, we are still able to use data from an incomplete study, or if you wish, we are happy to reschedule. To help things go as smoothly as possible, try to select a time when your baby is most likely to be well-rested and with a full tummy.

Are studies difficult? Will my baby or I perform poorly?

Our tasks are fun for all family members, and there are no correct answers! We study what people do more than what they should do. 

When can I schedule a family research visit?

We have flexible hours during the week (10-4pm generally). We can also accommodate evening and weekend visits.

Can I bring my other children?

Yes! We have a play area with lots of books and toys for siblings to play with. We also have staff who can supervise and engage with them while you participate in the family research study. Other family members are also welcome to come with you.

Will I learn if my child is ahead of/behind the curve in language development?

We cannot clinically assess children, but if you have questions about typical language development, then we will do our best to answer them! We will also inform you about our research results, telling you about the general findings of our studies.

Is there compensation for this study?

We are unable to pay for participation in family research visits, however we provide free parking and your baby will receive a small gift, graduation photo, and diploma. Some studies also include compensation in the form of gift cards.

Phonological Processing Lab

What happens at a family research visit?

We will ask you to fill out some surveys about your child’s language background and development while we play some games with your child. All of our child-focused studies are designed with children in mind, so we try to keep tasks short and fun. You can observe the sessions at all times. If you have more than one child in the age range we are targeting, we’d be happy to include them all!

How long will a family research visit take?

Visits typically take about an hour, although in some cases we may ask for up to two hours of your time. There are many opportunities for breaks so that your child can get the wiggles out.

When can I schedule a family research visit?

We schedule studies at a time that is convenient for your family. We know that for many families, evenings and weekends are best, and we will work with you to accommodate your schedule.

If my child takes a standardized test, can you tell me the result?

We are not clinicians and cannot interpret the results of standardized tests. We love to talk about language development in general, though, and we’d be happy to chat with you about it.

If you publish the results of your study, will my child’s name and information be included?

We never share any child’s identifying information. Most of our research results are presented in aggregate, meaning that we present results that are averaged across lots of children. In the rare case that we discuss a specific child’s language development, we use a pseudonym or participant number, never a name or identifying initials.

Why do language researchers care about eyes?

Your eye movements reveal a lot about what you are thinking, and they respond faster than your hands or your mouth could. We use an eye-tracker to track your (or your child’s) language processing on a millisecond-by-millisecond basis. From this information, we can tell, for example, when you know that the “ca...” you are hearing is part of “cat” and not “cab.”

What happens during an eye-tracking study. Should I be nervous?

Eye-tracking is entirely non-invasive. The eye-tracker is a special camera that uses the position of your pupil and the reflection off your cornea to determine where you are looking on the screen. The tracker only records where you looked on the screen—it does not make a recording of your eyes. Nothing will touch your eyes, and you won’t be able to see the infrared light that shines on your eyes. 

We have two kinds of eye-trackers. The kind we use most often with children requires us to put a small sticker on your child’s cheek or forehead. Then your child will sit at a computer and look at images on the screen while they hear words. They may be asked to click on pictures with a mouse. The other kind of eye-tracker works the same way, except that the participant puts their chin on a chin rest during the study. We don’t use this kind of tracker for children very often. We will ask you or your child to sit relatively still during the study, but participants can blink, scratch their nose, turn their head, and make other similar movements. We build in lots of breaks so participants can walk around, stretch, have a snack, or use the washroom. 

Can someone with glasses or contacts do an eye-tracking study?

Yes! The eye-tracker works with glasses and contacts. Participants who do our eye-tracking studies should have normal or corrected-to-normal vision, which means that if you can see with your glasses or contacts, then you’re good to go! If you have amblyopia or strabismus, please let us know in advance, as this may affect our ability to track your eye movements.