Frequently Asked Questions

The Infant Learning Lab welcomes all families of diverse identities, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, adoptive status, legal guardianship, age, ability, religious affiliation, socioeconomic status, and culture, to participate.

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What ages do you study?

We generally have studies running with children from 6 months to 5 years of age, but we add new studies all of the time! To sign your child up to participate in our lab, click here. If you are looking for research opportunities for older children, check out our neighbors the Social Kids & Space Labs.

Do you have studies looking at older children?

Our area of research focuses on infants and children ages 6 months to 5 years, however there are many other labs in the Waisman Center who focus on all ages. If you are interested in learning more about participating in this research please visit the Waisman Center Participation Page.

I received a letter from the Infant Learning Lab. How did you get my information?

We receive the names of families who sign up with the Waisman Center to participate in research. Additionally, we also reach out to each family who contacts us after seeing our lab in the community or online.

How long does a visit take?

Because we work with infants and small children our studies are generally quite short. Typically a visit will last 30-45 minutes with the experimental portion lasting just 5-10 minutes.

Will there be follow-up visits?

Our studies generally consist of a one time visit. Most of our families will choose to participate in the lab more than once throughout their child’s early life, but each study only requires one visit to complete.

Will I be with my child during the study?

Yes. You will be with your child the entire visit. During our studies we ask parents to hold their child on their lap. To see some examples of what it is like to participate in our studies, click here.

What happens after the study? Is there paperwork?

Once a child completes a study you may be asked to fill out a variety of forms, depending on your child’s age. In general we ask parents to complete a short vocabulary inventory for their child along with a few other brief forms. It will typically takes 5-10 minutes to complete these forms and the researcher is always available to assist if necessary.

Occasionally, we will run a study that requires more information to be collected. If we need longer forms completed, we will mail these to you ahead of time. This will be discussed when we contact you to schedule an appointment.

Can I bring other children with me to an appointment?

Yes! We love to have kids of all ages into the lab. We have a waiting room filled with toys, books and games where other children can play with one of our research assistants while you and your baby complete the study nearby. If you are planning to bring other children we would prefer that you let us know when scheduling so that we can arrange for someone to be present to supervise them.

I work full time. Are there weekend and evening appointments available?

Our general lab hours are Monday through Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm and we schedule most visits within this timeframe. However, we do offer occasional evening and weekend appointments when the need arises. The times we have available to schedule appointments for each study depend on the schedule of the researcher conducting the experiment.

How do I get to the Infant Learning Lab?

Studies take place at the Waisman Center which is located near the UW and American Family Children’s Hospitals. Click here for maps and directions.

When you arrive for your appointment, let the receptionist know that you’re here for the Infant Learning Lab and we will meet you in the lobby.

Is there parking?

We are located at the Waisman Center here in Madison and provide free parking for all of our appointments. You will receive a parking permit in the mail which will allow you to park in one of the blue parking stalls in the Center’s parking lot (82).

If you have not received your parking pass by the date of your appointment, or if you forget to bring it with you, the receptionist at the Center will provide you with one when you check in for your appointment.

If there is no receptionist in the lobby when you arrive, you can contact us using the reception phone and we will be happy to bring you down a pass for your car and wait with your children.

Do you provide transportation?

We are happy to arrange transportation via cab for any of our participating families. If you think you may need a cab ride, let us know when scheduling and we will make the arrangements with Union Cab to provide a ride to and from your appointment at no cost to you.

I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment, what do I do?

To cancel or reschedule, you can reach us at (608) 263-5876 or email us at

We understand that life happens, especially with little ones, so please do not hesitate to call and reschedule should the need arise.

How will the findings of the research I participate in be used?

The results from our studies are typically presented at academic conferences or published in academic journals where they are read by other researchers and educators who are interested in language acquisition and early cognitive development. Copies of these articles are provided here for families to read. Additionally, research findings from developmental psychology labs such as ours are sometimes used to inform policy decisions concerning children’s education, health and care.

Every year, we also publish our annual newsletter that summarizes our current research and new findings in the last year. We mail this newsletter to all families who have participated in the last year so they can see how their contribution fits into the bigger picture of developmental research.

We never release or publish information about specific children; instead we describe responses of participants as a group. Your child’s participation and responses are completely confidential.

What do I get for participating?

We provide all participants with a choice of $10, a children’s book, or a lab t-shirt for participating in our research regardless of completion of the study.