Information for Kids/Teenagers

What does it mean to be a part of a research study?

If you decide to be in one of our studies, you would come to our lab at Harvard University so that we can find out more about you. The information you give us will be combined with information from other kids and teenagers, so that we can learn about people’s thoughts and feelings, and how they change as people grow up.

What will I do during a research study?

Our lab conducts many different studies, so there are different activities you might do. In general, you can expect to:

  • Answer questions about your thoughts , feelings and experiences
  • Play games that involve looking at pictures of different situations and telling us about your reactions to them
  • Use special machines that measure how your body reacts to various situations. For example, we might measure your heart rate or how sweaty your palms get when you get excited or scared. Sometimes we will use an MRI scanner to take pictures of your brain, so that we can learn how it responds to different situations. None of those machines will hurt you, and sometimes they can even be quite fun!

Will anyone find out my answers?

No—all the information we collect about you is confidential. That means that the information will be separate from your name (so that no one can identify you based on your answers) and we will keep it safely locked up.

Do I get anything for participating?

We pay you for the time you spend doing our study. You will also be able learn how the brain changes as you grow up. Your participation can also help others.  By participating, you help us understand important aspects of development that may be used one day to improve health of kids and teens.

What is it like to have an MRI scan?

You can see a video here that gives you an idea of what it might feel like to have an MRI scan. Some details might be a bit different, but our studies are very similar to the one in the video!

Can I stop if I don’t like it?

Yes. You can stop anytime you want.

How do I sign up?

If you want to be in one of our research studies, your parent/guardian can email or call us. Your parent/guardian must give permission for you to be in the study. Your parent/guardian can click the “Sign Up” button on the right, send us an email at or give us a call at (617) 496-1581. Thanks for your interest in our research studies!