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 adolescence. 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 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 with any questions. 

Register your child/children for opportunities by clicking here

Register for Adult opportunities by clicking here