Children sought for study in CSU Brainwaves Research Lab

The CSU Brainwaves Research Lab is embarking on a new series of studies to improve the understanding of how brain activity changes in children as they age.

To conduct these studies, Brainwaves is looking to recruit young participants from the community. The research is mutually beneficial, since child participants will learn how their brain works in an educational and enjoyable experience.

Brainwaves1How the study works

The lab uses electroencephalography (EEG) techniques to study brain development. This technology is very safe and can even be used with infants. When children visit the lab, they are asked to put a stretchy cap similar to a bathing cap on their head. The cap has embedded metal sensors to record changes in the small amounts of electrical energy their brain produces while they are thinking. During the process, the lab teaches children about EEG, even enabling the children to see their brainwaves displayed on a computer screen. The lab is looking for volunteers to participate in one of the two following studies based on age.

Children 4 to 6 years old

Here the lab is examining the relationship between brain processing in simple decision-making tasks, especially response inhibition, and children’s ability to suppress eating desirable snacks when they are no longer hungry. To be eligible for participation, children must: (1) be 4 to 6 years of age; (2) use English as their primary language and (3) have normal or corrected vision and hearing.

Brainwaves3However, children with the following conditions are not eligible to participate in this study: (1) children with disabilities, (2) children with a history of significant brain injury, (3) children on medications that affect body weight or ability to focus on tasks and (4) children with severe food allergies that will limit their participation in eating a meal.

The project requires only a single visit to the Gifford Building at CSU. First, the child will complete three computer activities while wearing the EEG cap. After the EEG session, children will eat a meal, which will either be lunch or dinner, depending on the time of day. Next, the child will have 10 minutes to play with toys while several sweet and savory snacks will be available for the child to eat. This study will take about two and a half to three hours. Participants in this study will receive a toy that will encourage physical activity, such as a jump rope or bean bags. Note: This study has been approved by the CSU Institutional Review Board (Protocol 15-5858H)

Children ages 8 to 12 years old

For this study, the lab will be investigating the stability, or consistency, of the brain activity of children during simple decision-making tasks on two separate days. In an optional third session, the lab will explore children’s social interactions and their ability to perform everyday tasks. To be eligible for this study, children should not have learning, neurological or developmental disabilities.

Brainwaves2The first part of this project includes two visits to the Gifford Building at CSU. For both visits, participants will be asked to perform three computerized game-like tasks where they will respond to sounds and pictures while wearing the EEG cap. Following the EEG, the child will complete more game-like pencil-and-paper and verbal tasks. For this study, each of the first two sessions will last approximately two hours.

The optional third testing session will last approximately one hour and will take place in the CSU Occupational Therapy Building. During this session, children will perform a few everyday tasks, such as making a sandwich or tying a shoe, while engaging in a conversation with another person. Participants receive a T-shirt or a cocoa mug with the words “I donated my brainwaves to science” after the first visit to the lab. After the second visit to the lab participants are given a choice of a T-shirt, mug or $10. Participants who complete the optional third session will be given an additional choice of a T-shirt, mug or $15. Note: This study has been approved by the CSU Institutional Review Board (Protocol 08-596H)

For more information, contact Brittany Taylor at or Bill Gavin at 970-227-9999.