Frequently Asked Questions

The most commonly asked questions about participating in research are: What will I do? How long will it take? Will it be fun? What am I committing to by registering? You can find more specific answers below, but briefly:


When you register, you are giving us permission to keep your information in a secure database, and to contact you when a study comes up that you are eligible to do. We won’t contact you more than once a month, unless you indicate otherwise. You are not committing to participate when you register.

Typical Visit

Participation for children usually involves a one time or two time visit to the lab lasting around 30 minutes to one hour. For adolescents or adults, it is usually a one or two time visit lasting around 1 to 2 hours. Our studies are meant to be interesting and informative. Adults and children do a variety of things, depending on the study, when they come to the lab, such as: surveys, video games, memory tests, and video chats. Children’s studies are designed to be like games, and parents can stay with their child at all times. Participants get a small thank-you gift for participating.

How long are typical testing sessions?

The length of a session will vary depending on the age of the participant and the particular research question being addressed. Sessions with young children typically last from 30 to 60 minutes. Sessions testing teens or adults may last between 1 and 2 hours. The length of the appointment will also depend on how many family members are participating in studies.

Will I (or my child) be compensated for my time?

A small stipend is typically provided for adult participants – ranging from $5 to $20. Child and adolescent participants may be given gift cards, stipends, or toys, depending on the age of the child and nature of the study.

What can I expect during my visit?

Each study is slight different, but generally when you arrive at the lab for a child study at our Charleston Forge research center, you will be shown to a comfortable and friendly waiting room. Your child can play with some toys while our trained research assistant explains the study to you. You will fill out some paperwork providing your consent for your child to participate. When your child is ready, our assistant will accompany him or her to one of our study rooms. You may accompany your child if you wish. Our studies are designed to be fun and engaging for children. You or your child may ask to stop the study at any time. Sessions may be videotaped or audiotaped, but we take great care to ensure confidentiality. At the end of the session, you may ask questions. Your child will be given a small gift, even if they don't finish the study, to thank them for participating.

Adolescents and adults who participate in studies can expect a trained research assistant to explain the study upon arrival. After filling out some paperwork agreeing to participate, you may be asked to complete a survey, or may be asked to perform tasks that measure different memory, thinking, and concentration abilities. You may also be asked to read or listen to short stories and answer questions about them. Regardless of what the study entails, you may stop the study at any point. If compensation is provided, you will still receive compensation even if you decide to end the study early.

Will I get my (or my child’s) test results?

At the end of your visit, the researcher can explain to you the purpose and hypotheses of the study. We also make newsletters available a few times a year with information about the results of studies that have been completed. Participants do not typically receive information specific to their own testing because we often look at group level rather than individual data, and also because we aim to keep your results anonymous. However, once a study is completed, participants may receive summaries of study results. In addition to the AGE Labs newsletter, we will also present summaries of the studies in research articles that are published in academic journals and at conferences. Copies of these materials will be available on this website.

When are appointments scheduled?

We typically schedule appointments between 9:00 and 6:00PM Monday through Friday. Weekend appointments may be possible. When scheduling, we ask for your assistance in choosing a time when you think you and/or your child will be most alert.

What does it mean when I register with the AGE labs?

When you provide us with your registration information [LINK], you are agreeing to allow us to store your information in a secure database and to contact you when studies become available. You are not agreeing to participate by providing your registration information. If a study become available for you, we may contact you to tell you about what is involved in the study. You can choose to participate or not at that time. If you choose to participate, we will schedule an appointment for you at your convenience. Studies for children are usually one to two visits that each last 30-60 minutes, and studies for adults are usually one or two visits each lasting from 1 to 2 hours.

How many times do we have to participate?

How often you participate is entirely up to you. We aim to make our studies interesting and informative, and so many people ask to participate often. Others find it difficult to participate due to scheduling conflicts, and participate once a year. Unless you indicate otherwise, we will contact you no more than once a month (pending study availability). Feel free to let us know if you want to be contacted more or less often, and if you have a preferred mode of communication (e.g., email, phone, mail).

I have a child that will be participating. Can I stay with my child?

For most of our studies it is perfectly fine for parents to be in the room with the children the entire time. However, sometimes we find that a parent's presence can be a distraction or will influence a child's performance. In these cases, you may stay just outside the room and observe your child through a video monitoring system, or stand quietly just outside the door, as this mother is doing in the image below.

I have a child who is participating, but I need to bring my other children with me. Is that ok?

Absolutely! We work with a wide range of children, so it is possible that your other children will also be able to participate in a study while they are here. If not, they can play with the toys in our waiting room while their sibling completes the study. One of our research assistants can stay with them if you prefer to accompany your other child into the study room.

I registered, but have not yet been contacted to participate. Why?

There may be a number of reasons why you have not yet been contacted. The most common reason is because we may not have a study for which you or your child is eligible. Each of our studies have specific criteria that participants must meet in order to participate. For instance, some studies are only for 4-year-olds, which means a 5-year-old would not be eligible. If you would like more information about the studies that are currently available, please contact us!

Will my or my child’s data be kept confidential?

All data will be kept completely confidential. Names are not associated with any method of reporting of the research. We sometimes videotape study sessions in order to keep track of exactly what happens in the session. This data is also kept confidential; names are not associated with any video content. Further, unless we have your explicit permission, videotapes will be viewed only by researchers.

Who makes sure that the studies are ethical?

All studies taking place at Appalachian State University and affiliated research labs have been through a rigorous review process by ASU's Institutional Review Board [LINK]. This board carefully evaluates proposed studies involving human participants before they being (and at least once per year after initial approval) to ensure that the research is ethical. Any comments or complaints about the research may also be communicated to this board which then investigates if necessary.

I have a concern about my or my child’s development. Can you help?

The A.G.E. Labs conduct basic research in development, and we do not offer individual evaluations. If you have a particular concern, please contact your doctor. We have offered some links for further information and resources below. These links are provided for informational purposes only, and are not affiliated with the A.G.E. Labs nor Appalachian State University.