News

March 2, 2021

Study Opportunity: Parents Promoting Early Learning

Are you interested in participating in a fun, compensated research study? Sign up for the University of Pittsburgh’s Parents Promoting Early Learning study!

About

Parents Promoting Early Learning studies how parents and their two-year-old children (up to 38 months) interact and how such interactions help prepare the child for school. Due to COVID-19, this study will be conducted online. Laptops and WiFi are available by request.

Requirements

Study participants will be compensated and must complete:

    • two to three online video calls where the parent and child complete games and assessments,
    • questionnaires and interviews about the child’s development and activities, and
    • a one-year follow-up visit for more games and assessments.

Enrollment

If you are interested in enrolling, complete the study contact form.

More Information

For questions, please contact ppel@pitt.edu or 412.204.6845.

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News

December 18, 2020

Families Invited to Complete Online COVID-19 Survey

Do you have an elementary-age child (five to 12 years old) who goes to a public school? If yes, you are invited to participate in an online survey to share your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

About

The purpose of the Children, COVID-19, and its Consequences (the “Triple C”) Project is to analyze how COVID-19 is affecting familial economic and child well-being. Triple C is the first study to provide a comprehensive portrait of the well-being of families and children across multiple cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families who complete the survey will receive a $25 electronic Amazon gift card. Researchers may contact survey participants to complete follow-up surveys three months and nine months after the completion of the first survey.

Sign Up To Participate

To sign up, please visit the Triple C study page.

More Information

This research is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh in collaboration with Duke University, University of Washington, and Rutgers University. For questions, text 240.449.9898 or email evotruba@pitt.edu.

For more information, visit the Triple C Project website. Share this flyer with your network.

News

November 25, 2020

Research Study for Pre-k Classroom Teachers

Are you a teacher currently working in a pre-k classroom in Pennsylvania? If so, participate in the “Social and Emotional Learning in Pre-K Programs” research study conducted by Cynthia Speer, a Ph.D. Candidate at Waynesburg University.

About

The purpose of this proposed study is to sample educators from both public and private pre-k programs in Pennsylvania to ascertain information regarding their perception of and experiences with social and emotional learning (SEL).

Study participants will provide personal and school-based demographic information and complete a survey of social and emotional learning (SEL) perception and experiences. Completing these surveys will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. All responses will remain anonymous and no identifying personal information (such as name, email address, or IP address) will be collected.

Sign Up To Participate

If you are interested in signing up as a participant, complete this online form.

More Information

For questions regarding the research, contact Cynthia Speer at spe1961@student.waynesburg.edu or 412.952.4469. For information regarding rights as a research subject, contact Dissertation Committee Chair, Dr. Michelle Steimer at msteimer@waynesburg.edu or 412.722.7602.

News

January 28, 2020

Study Opportunity: Parents Promoting Early Learning

Parents of four-year-old children are invited to participate in a new University of Pittsburgh study named, “Parents Promoting Early Learning.” Compensation provided.

About

Parents Promoting Early Learning studies how parents and their four-year-old children interact and how such interactions help prepare the child for school. Study participants will be compensated and must complete:

    • two visits, hosted at the participant’s home or at a University of Pittsburgh office, where the parent and child complete games and assessments,
    • questionnaires and interviews about the child’s development and activities, and
    • a one-year follow-up visit for more games and assessments.

Requirements

    • Child is age four (or almost four)
    • Parent must participate
    • Both parent and child identify as either African American or White
    • Both parent and child are fluent in English
    • Child has never been diagnosed with a disability

More Information

For more information, call 412.204.6845, email ppel@pitt.edu, or visit the research study webpage.

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News

July 18, 2019

Eye Contact with Babies Increases Information Coupling

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that shared eye contact increases information coupling between infant and adult brains.

About

Communication is a fundamental part of life, especially when considering the early learning and development of a newborn child. In conversation, we use different types of social signals, both verbal and non-verbal, to share meaning with others. These signals can include things such as mimicking facial expressions, vocal tone, and eye contact. However, a recent study concluded that eye contact in specific can be a powerful tool to increase information coupling between infants and adults.

Information Coupling

In the study, researchers state that “previous research indicates that when communication is successful, close temporal dependencies arise between adult speakers’ and listeners’ neural activity.” Through these dependencies, an individual that’s communicating with another person can have varying levels of influence on the other person’s neural activity. In short, this coupling acts as a form of “social connectedness,” where the actions, reactions, and expressions of a person impacts how another person’s brain responds.

For adults interacting with young children, using social signals such as direct eye contact can bring the child and adult’s “brains into temporal alignment, creating a joint-networked state that is structured to facilitate information sharing during early communication and learning.” Temporal alignment between adults and infants is important, as it “plays a vital role in supporting early learning across multiple domains of language, cognition, and socioemotional development.”

Infants spend a lot of time looking at the faces of others, interpreting the way their facial features move, where their eyes shift to, and how their voices sound. And as they rely on these social cues to interpret meaning in their daily life, direct gaze is thought to be one of the most important cues for individuals and infants to infer communicative intent. Babies prefer to look at the face people who are looking right at them, with direct gaze even reinforcing the social responses that babies produce and their ability to recognize face-related information.

Conclusion

In conclusion, adults working or living with infants should consider using direct eye contact frequently with their child. Whether an adult is playing with, reading with, bathing, or even singing a nursery rhyme to a child, shared eye contact can act to build strong communication and information sharing between the two.

To learn more about the importance of speaker gaze, read the full report.

Article Citation

Leong, Victoria, et al. “Speaker Gaze Increases Information Coupling between Infant and Adult Brains.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 12 Dec. 2017, www.pnas.org/content/114/50/13290.

News

July 3, 2019

Paid Opportunity: Baby Brain Emotion Study

Are you the mother/caregiver of an infant age 0-3 months? If so, you and your baby may be able to participate in a Pitt+Me research study to help learn more about the ways in which infants’ emotions are connected to areas of the brain and how parenting behaviors might affect these connections.

About

The purpose of this study is to help researchers learn more about the ways in which infants’ emotions are connected to areas of the brain and how parenting behaviors might affect these connections. Researchers hope their findings will lead to a better understanding of emotional challenges in children in the future. Compensation provided.

Study Eligibility

  • Infant aged 0-3 months old
  • Infant was born full-term (at least 37 weeks)
  • Infant’s birth weight was more than 5.5 pounds
  • Infant has not been in the hospital for any physical health issues, including neurological
  • Infant does not have any metal in their body
  • Mother/Caregiver did not use illicit substances during pregnancy and is not using them now
  • Mother/Caregiver spends at least 2 hours per day caring for the infant

Learn More

For more information and to participate, visit the study webpage.

*Information provided by Pitt+Me

News

March 18, 2019

Young Sprouts: Starting Seeds – Germination Station

Visit our Young Sprouts Germination Station! Are you curious about seeds? What is a seed, anyway? What do seeds need to grow into healthy plants? Investigate the many colors, shapes, and sizes of seeds and listen to the story, A Seed is Sleepy. We will also be giving away seeds saved from our garden!

This program is drop-in, so feel free to come and go as you please! This program is designed for our youngest learners (0-5) but suitable for all ages. Program location is weather dependent: we will be in the Garden if the weather allows; find us in the Nursery if weather is less than ideal.