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Information for Kids

What’s it like to have an MRI scan?

Our friends in California made a video about what it’s like to have an MRI scan. Our MRI scans are very similar to the ones they describe. Check it out!

Thanks to Silvia Bunge & Moriah Thomason for sharing this video.

*link to video on Leah’s page*

Can I stop if I don’t like it?

Absolutely! You can stop participating at any time, without any punishment or penalty.

How do I get involved?

If you are interested in our research studies, you or your parent can send us an email or give us a call! You can email circlelab@unc.edu or call us at 919-962-3993.

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

If you were a part of our study you would come to a building on UNC’s campus or the UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center so we can learn more about you. The information you give us will be put together with information from other kids and teens so we can begin to understand peoples’ thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, and what they experience as they grow up.

What kinds of information do you want to find out about me?

There is a lot of stuff about you that we find very interesting. All of our studies are a little different, but we usually want to find out similar things…

We sometimes ask you to answer questions about your thoughts and feelings. We might ask you questions about your thoughts and feelings on yourself, your friends, or your family, and how your body is changing as you grow up.

We sometimes want to know about how you respond to different kinds of information, like pictures of different people or scenes. You might look at these kinds of pictures on a computer screen, and make decisions about them by pressing buttons.

Sometimes we want to take measurements of your brain! We can see your brain using different techniques, like an MRI or an EEG. Both of them can measure how your brain responds to different kinds of information. Neither of them hurt at all. For an MRI, you lie inside a big machine for a little while and it takes pictures. For an EEG, you wear a little hat with small squishy sponges on it. You can see pictures and videos below!

Will anyone find out my answers?

All of the information you give us will be kept confidential, which means it is private. Anything you provide will be kept in a locked cabinet and will not have your name on it.

Do I get anything for participating?

If you participate in our studies, you will be paid money for your time. We will also give you more information on the specific study you participate in, so you can learn about the brain and how it changes as you grow up. If you get an MRI scan, we can also give you a picture of your brain to take home!

Information for Parents

What are you studying?

The aim of the research is to better understand the underlying brain processes of cognitive control across childhood and adolescnce. Further, we want to understand how and why disruptions in cognitive control processes result in problems with mental health. We conduct research that assesses these behaviors in children & teens. Most of our studies involve tasks/games on a computer, as well as interviews and questionnaires. The purpose of our brain imaging studies is to understand how specific brain regions are associated with certain cognitive behaviors, and how experience affects the development of certain processes.

What kinds of information do you collect?

All of our studies are a little bit different, but we generally collect the same types of information.

we sometimes want to know about how your child thinks and feels, so we may ask them to answer some questions about their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Additionally, we often include parent questionnaires to get a sense of your own thoughts and behaviors as well as your thoughts on your child’s feelings and behaviors.

we sometimes want to know how children and teens respond to different kinds of information, like pictures or shapes. We have them play tasks/games on computers to assess different behaviors.

We sometimes use imaging techniques like MRI or EEG to measure brain structure and function. These imaging techniques are completely non-invasive and painless.

Is it safe to have an MRI?

There are no known or foreseeable risks or side effects associated with MRI scanning. People who have electrically, magnetically, or mechanically active implants or any metal in their bodies may not be eligible for MRI. We make sure all of our participants have removed all of their metal before the scan. If your child has braces or a top retainer, they cannot participate in our MRI studies.  The FDA has not approved scans on pregnant women, so if there is any chance your daughter is pregnant she cannot participate in our studies with an MRI component.

Does my child get anything for participating?

Children are compensated with money for their participation. Additionally, if they participate in an MRI scan they will receive a picture of their brain.

Do I need to come with my child to their appointment?

Parents need to be present for the appointment through the consent process. Additionally, if there are any parent requirements (questionnaires, interviews) they are needed for that portion of the appointment. Once parents are done with their part, they are free to do what the please until their child is finished.

Where does the study take place?

The majority of our research is conducted at UNC main campus or UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center, on the medical campus. We compensate for parking if you drive in!

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in a specific study, please contact that studies coordinator or email circlelab@unc.edu. If you are interested in signing up to potentially be contacted for future research opportunities, you should sign up for our Research Participant Registry. The registry is a database that families and adults who are interested in research can sign up to hear about participation opportunities within the Psychology and Neuroscience department at UNC. Click the links below to sign up! Feel free to email circlelab@unc.edu with any questions. 

Register your child/children for opportunities by clicking here

Register for Adult opportunites by clicking here