Social Development

About the Study 

The Maryland Brain Study group is conducting a study investigating children’s social cognition, memory, and brain development. This study requires three separate visits, each of which will last about one to two hours.

For one of the three sessions, your child will be asked to come to the Maryland Neuroimaging Center to participate in an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scan. fMRI allows us to take pictures of your child’s brain to see how it is functioning under specific conditions. For this session, your child would lie in the scanner and watch videos of animals, geometric shapes, and clips from the movie “Toy Story.” This visit would last approximately 2 hours and includes 30 minutes for paperwork, 30 minutes in the practice scanner (to make sure that your child is comfortable with the scanner atmosphere), a 15 minute break, and 45 minutes in the real scanner.

The other two sessions are strictly behavioral (they do not require brain scanning) and will take place in the Biology-Psychology Building at the University of Maryland. These two sessions will involve your child working alongside a researcher to complete several different types of tasks. Some of these tasks involve remembering pictures while others involve hearing stories about characters and determining what they would/should do next. Your child will also be asked to complete portions of standardized assessments that are similar to an IQ test. These two visits would last less than 2 hours each and include time for paperwork, several short breaks, and a few different tasks.


For your child’s participation, you will receive $10 per behavioral session ($20 total) and $20 for the fMRI session. Your child will also receive a toy of their choosing at the end of each session as well as a picture of their brain after the fMRI session.

Participation Requirements 

Your child is eligible to participate if he/she is:

  • 4 OR 6-years of age
  • A native English speaker
  • Free of any bodily metal (e.g., metal implants)
  • Has no history of neurological and psychological disorders
  • Able to complete all three sessions within a month’s time

Interested and/or have questions? 

E-mail us at or call us at 301-405-7612. 


Check the option Social Development on the Volunteer form in order to sign up to participate in this study.

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