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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Play and Learning Lab?

As a developmental psychology research lab, we want to answer questions about how children's minds work. The answers we find can be used by parents, teachers, and policymakers to help improve the lives of children.

What is your research about?


We are interested in how things like play, imagination, and stories affect children's development. For example, how well do children learn from educational storybooks and television shows? What types of books and shows are most effective? How are parents influencing their children's intellectual and emotional development when they play together? Most of our research focuses on early childhood (ages 3-6), but we do occasionally do work with younger and older children (and sometimes adults!) You can learn more about our current projects here.

What happens if I register my family with the Play and Learning Lab?

We will contact you when we have a study that your child is the right age for. We will tell you what the study is about and what participating in the study would be like. You can decide then if you want to participate, and we will work with you to find a time that fits your family's schedule. 

What will my child do if they participate in a study?

Each study is a little different, but typically your child might play a game with one of our researchers, listen to someone read them a story, or watch a short video. We might ask them questions about what they heard or saw, ask them to solve simple puzzles, or just observe them while they play. 

How long does a study take?


Our studies typically take about 30-60 minutes. You can stop at any time if you or your child does not want to continue.

Where do we go for the study?

We offer appointments in person or over video chat.


For in-person appointments, you come to our lab on the University of Scranton campus. To learn more about the lab, watch our virtual tour.


For video chat appointments, you participate from the comfort of your own home. You will interact with a member of our research team over a video chat platform like Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype.

What precautions are you taking for COVID?

We are finally opening up our lab for in-person appointments after a long shutdown due to COVID! Our staff will happily wear masks during your visit if you prefer. You and your child may also wear masks if you choose, but are not required to. We sanitize all toys and surfaces before and after every family who comes to visit. Our lab is located in a very quiet building on campus that houses mostly administrative offices - you probably won't come in contact with anyone but our lab staff members while you are here. 

I'm interested! What do I do next?

Register your family for our participant database. We will contact you as soon as we have a study for your child.

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