BrainWorx: A Summer Experience at Laurier
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BrainWorx is FULL for Summer 2013! Thank you to everyone who registered! Here's to a great summer!
Offered in partnership with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education and the Department of Psychology at Laurier, BrainWorx invites families to participate in experimental and training studies each summer. Children will participate in studies, learn how their minds and bodies develop and engage in a wide variety of crafts, games, sports and other science-related activities -- it's summer camp with a brainy twist!
What are this year's studies?
Lives of Young Children - Wood Lab
Our study examines parents and young children’s use of computers. At present there is very little information that looks at how parents use or choose not to use technology with their children in their home. The purpose of this study is to understand how parents feel about using technology with young children ranging in age from 3-6, how children handle technologies if they are permitted to use them, and how parents might help young children to handle computers especially when children are using them for the first time. The study has two different parts. First, we are asking 500 parents to complete a survey, either online or in hard copy format. Second we would like a smaller group of 160 parents (80 mothers and 80 fathers) to allow us to watch them interact with their child while using software on a typical desktop computer and using an iPad. We are including both of these to see if there are differences in how stationary versus mobile devices are used. Parents can choose to just participate in the survey or to participate in both the survey and the observation components of the study. Understanding what parents think about technologies and what they do with their children around different types of technologies will allow us to understand how to best support young children learning to use technology.
This study is being carried out by a developmental researcher at Wilfrid Laurier University (Eileen Wood) and two graduate students (Domenica De Pasquale and Marjan Petkovski).
Moving to Targets - Cinelli Lab
The purpose of this study is to employ a target-tapping task to quantify reaction time and accuracy in both typically-developing children, and those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) between the ages of 6-8 years old. Children will be asked to perform a series of tapping trials on an iPad tablet. The initiation of each trial will require the participant to place their index finger on the starting position. Once the trial is initiated, the participant will be required to capture (tap) a target that disappears after initiation of movement. Parents will be asked to complete the Autism Spectrum Quotient (ASQ) questionnaire.
This study is being carried out by a Kinesiology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University (Michael CInelli) and one undergraduate student (Carmen Baker).
Coordinating Eyes and Hands - Niechwiej-Szwedo Lab
We want to understand how the brain combines and uses input from the two eyes during reaching movements, for example, when children make puzzles, crafts or catch a ball. The ability to use input from both eyes develops slowly in children. Also, many children have vision problems and difficulties performing accurate and precise movements, which might impact their learning abilities, school performance and participation in sports activities. When we have a better understanding of how development of vision affects eye-hand coordination, we will be able to use this information and develop better therapies for children with vision and eye problems.
Which Hand Do You Use? – Bryden Lab
In this study, children will complete in 3 tasks, which are aim to measure hand preference, as well as hand performance. Hand selection, and how it may change as a task becomes increasingly challenging, will be the main focus of this study. These measures will help further develop the literature surrounding task complexity and handedness and how it develops and changes across the lifespan.
This study is being carried out by a Kinesiology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University (Pamela Bryden) and one graduate student (Nicole Williams).
What When Where? – Roberts Lab
We are interested in understanding how children remember information, particularly whether children can remember where things are in relation to each other at a younger age than the order of things in time. It is important to understand how to assist children in discussing routine daily experiences, and this study may reveal a beneficial strategy for talking about such experiences. For this study, children will engage in a letter making activity (to their camp counsellors) with a research assistant and other children (maximum 3 children per group) and asked about what they can remember about that activity the following day. We ask you to avoid discussing the activities with your child as much as possible until after their interview.
Plus two additional Roberts lab studies and two additional Bryden lab (with Sara and Chantelle).
All studies have received full ethical approval.
About the BrainWorx Staff
The staff from Laurier's Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education will be running BrainWorx this year in partnership with the staff from the Psychology Department. These people are highly trained, qualified individuals who have all had experience working with children. Learn more about them here.
Past Studies with the Department of Psychology
Repeated-event memory: Children participate in Ontario curriculum-based activities on four different days. They are interviewed on the fifth day to see if when they confuse activities from different days and whether we can help them distinguish between the different days.
The Easy-Hard Study: Children participate once. They watch people perform simple actions and later have to remember who did what action. We are interested in finding out which comparisons they find easy and which they find hard.
Language: Children will take part in vocabulary training sessions each day based around a particular topic. Later, they will be given language tests to see whether the training works.
Math study: Children will be given two tasks -- one to assess their mathematical development and one to find out about gender stereotypes related to math.
Children's Moral Emotions and Self-Concept Development
Your child is invited to participate in a study about emotions children experience when doing something good or bad. The purpose of this study is to find out how children of different ages feel about prosocial and antisocial behaviours of self and others and how this relates to their sense of self. If your child chooses to participate in this study s/he will be invited to participate in an one-on-one interview of about 40 minutes. In the interview, videotaped dialogues between two puppets are presented, wherein one puppet states the preference for a positive behaviour (e.g. "I like to share candies with other children") and the other states the opposite ("I don't like ..."). You child will be asked to indicate which puppet is more like her/him. In addition, a series of short scenarios are given that describe everyday situations in which another child either follows or breaks a rule. Your child will be asked to indicate what how s/he would feel if s/he were in a similar situation. The study has been reviewed and approved by the University Research Ethics Board at Wilfrid Laurier University (REB#1668).
Understanding Children's Speech Acquisition
During this experiment your child will play a fun interactive space game that requires them to vocalize a word in order to destroy space obstacles. The experiment lasts approximately 60 minutes. This study will help our lab investigate speech acquisition in children, which can lead to the development of effective methods for diagnosing speech and communication disorders. This study has been reviewed and approved by the University Research Ethics Board at Wilfrid Laurier University.
What Makes Computer Games Attractive to Children?
Have you ever wondered why it is that children are drawn to computers and will watch things presented digitally for extended periods of time? Researchers have been trying to tease apart what parts of software design make materials more memorable and more interesting. For example, is it the combination of sound with images? Is it images that move? Is it interactivity? We are planning a study that looks at the relative contributions of moving images versus static ones as well as the effect of distracting backgrounds versus plain ones when children are using software to learn early reading skills. Children in this study will be asked to view software while wearing a small device that tracks what they are looking at on the computer screen. They will either see moving letters (C-A-T) that are accompanied by the letter sounds and eventually, as the letters meet, the sounds will be blended to make the word CAT, or children will look at nonmoving letters while hearing the letter sounds followed by the sounds being blended into the word. Children will also see either entertaining images in the background (which are consistent with most current software programs) or they will have a blank background. Parents will also be asked to complete a short survey asking them to describe their children's reading skills. The child's portion of this study will take approximately 20 minutes. The parent survey will take between 5 and 10 minutes. Ethics review pending; the study will only be run at BrainWorx upon approval by the University Research Ethics Board at Wilfrid Laurier University.
After each study, your child will learn what the purpose of each study was discuss how their "brain works" with the researchers. Each day, a "What I Learned About my Brain" book will come home for parents/guardians to review (in addition to other crafts, etc.).
Withdrawal and Refund Policy
- please note that cancellation of your program anytime prior to Friday, May 31, 2013 will be subject to a 50% cancellation fee (of the program fee)
- there will be no refund available for cancellations received after May 31, 2013
- due to this policy not being communicated at the time of registration, we will allow withdrawals from the program without penalty until the end of business day, 4:30 p.m., on Friday, March 8, 2013
- notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to Continuing Studies in-person, by mail, or by email