Would you participate in this? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-18-2007, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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My DD is a little over 3 months old. I recieved a letter yesterday asking if I would be willing to allow her to participate in a research study at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at a large university in my area.

They explain that you and your baby will attend 30 minute sessions in which the baby will hear speach samples and view faces or pictures on computer monitors. They will videotape the baby to see how long he or she looks at the pictues and attends to the speech samples.

Would you let your baby participate in a research study? For some reason the thought of making my DD a guinea pig makes me uneasy even if it is for a non-invasive study.

What are your opinions? TIA

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Old 02-18-2007, 11:42 AM
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I would definitely do it. I used to work in a lab that did this kind of research, although I didn't conduct the experiments myself with babies (I worked with 3 and 4 year olds in preschools).

All the tasks are designed to be fun or interesting for the baby. If the baby is fussy or isn't liking it, they just don't participate. Our lab always set up more appointments than needed because some babies would just happen to be feeling cranky on the day they were scheduled to come in. But most parents and babies enjoyed it.

The researchers aren't trying to get your baby to behave a certain way. They want to observe what your baby does naturally. The kind of testing mentioned in the letter helps researchers know whether babies of a certain age can tell the difference between two sounds, or two words, or two phrases, that kind of thing. There's nothing about it that would bother me.

Plus, they'll debrief you after you participate, so that you will understand exactly what they are studying. They give you information before the experiement, too, of course, but some info can influence the outcome, so they will wait until afterwards to tell you that part. I think it's really wonderful to help contribute to our knowledge of the way babies think and learn.

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Old 02-18-2007, 11:48 AM
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We did a very similar study when my DD was about 5 months old. It was through our local university and sounds like the same type of study. DD actually loved the experience...there were lots of interesting sounds and pictures. The researchers were students who were very nice, polite and helpful. I would do it again if asked.

PS...I have a science/research background. I don't think of it as being a guinea pig...I think of it as contributing to our understanding of babies and helping students become better scientists.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:51 AM
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I did as a nanny. I took the youngest to a few university labs. They were pretty fun actually, always run by 20ish college students who adored babies. They usually gave a free gift too, like a bib, shirt, cup, etc. The parents gave me one of the cute t-shirts as a hand-me-down for my kids later. I haven't had the chance to take my boys to any since they're all so close in age.

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Old 02-18-2007, 11:58 AM
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Yes. My daughter has done several child development studies, and I plan to sign her up for more. It's always been a fun little outing. The research assistants have all been friendly and good with babies.

I don't think of it as "making her a guinea pig" at all. They're not testing experimental drugs, or anything! They're trying to learn more about how babies think and develop, which I think is a respectful and important goal.

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Old 02-18-2007, 12:14 PM
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yeah, my dd did it as an infant too.

as long as it's not some kind of cio study or s/t crazy, what's the harm?

Doing my best every day with DH , DD (11) , and DS (4)

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Old 02-18-2007, 02:17 PM
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We did something like this. It was fun! They were super-respectful of the baby (and me) and really seemed to think of babies as these amazingly brilliant people who just need to be understood. I agree with PPs--this is different from a drug study or a baby food marketing test or something like that.

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Old 02-18-2007, 02:20 PM
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We've done two different studies like this with Ds. The actual 'testing' session lasted less than 10 min but we were there for all of 30 min while they explained the procedures and talked about the research with us.
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Old 02-18-2007, 02:33 PM
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we did this, it sounds like the exact same study. I'd do it again.
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Old 02-18-2007, 02:34 PM
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My daughter was in a study when she was a baby. I would do it again.

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Old 02-18-2007, 02:56 PM
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I worked for 3 semesters at the childrens reasearch lab at my university. I was working on a language acquisition study, with 6 and 9 month olds. If you have the time to give, I think it's a great thing to do. The babies all seemed to enjoy themselves, and basically, we were just filming and timing ther looking times to puppets while they heard some spoken sentences. Babes sat on their parent's lap the whole time. Obviously, if your baby is not in the mood for it, you have the power to stop the session, so I don't see what harm could come of it.

mama to Ingrid (11/06) and Louisa (5/29/09):
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:22 PM
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I would - I watched several of these done when I took child development.
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Old 02-18-2007, 05:27 PM
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I wouldn't but only because I try not to have any scheduled appointments that aren't absolutely necessary. We are having so hard time leaving the house with dc.
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Old 02-18-2007, 05:29 PM
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I don't see a problem with it. I have watched studies like that on a documentary. they are actually quite interesting!

Mama to a 3.5 yo dd
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Old 02-18-2007, 07:42 PM
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I'd do it. My 6 year old is probably going to be in a study as part of a "normal" control group. It's studying brain cancer in children and they need children with healthy brains to do 4 MRIs and oral and written work over the course of (I think) about 2 years. He's passed the screening interviews and we just need to set up the appointments.

I like the idea of us being able to help with medical research without testing drugs on the kids.

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 02-18-2007, 07:45 PM
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I would do it
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Old 02-18-2007, 08:55 PM
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I would for sure do something like that.

Mom to K (06.23.06) & A (09.13.09)
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Old 02-18-2007, 10:59 PM
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I'd do it - no doubt. There's no harm in studies like that. Just make sure you read the informed consent form

Mama to two wonderful DDs (10/06 and 09/08) and expecting a DS 1/1/11!
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:39 PM
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it's the only way to gather information...and most of the time important info. plus it is only 30 mins. i would do it.
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Old 02-19-2007, 12:13 AM
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i would do it
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:35 AM
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A one time, 30-minute session? Sure, I would definitely do it.

That said, it's your DD, and if you aren't comfortable, don't do it.

I can tell you, as a researcher, that when those letters are sent out, they are not expecting everyone to respond "yes". Some people won't have time, won't be available, won't be interested, etc.

It's nice if you can do it, and could be fun and interesting for you and your DD, but it isn't a big deal if you decline the invitation to participate.

professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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Old 02-19-2007, 01:59 AM
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Yes, what they all said. I did a similar type study with dd when she was 8 months old. They showed her some pictures on a screen and recorded how long she looked at them. She sat on my lap the whole time, and afterward they gave her a toy. Before getting started, they explained it to me, all about what they were studying and how little is understood about the workings of babies' brains and what they hoped to learn from this study. I found it very interesting and dd enjoyed it, and I'm pleased to say we contributed in our little way to the advancement of science. I would do it again any day.

Joan 39, single mama by choice to 10yo boy and 7yo girl

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Old 02-19-2007, 05:11 AM
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oh boy if i was reading this thread and my dd was 3 months old and this kinda situation fell in my lap i would totally go for it. my dd did and today at 4 still loves, loves people adn being the center of attention. i remember at that age struggling to find that kind of situation for her. but if i didnt have any knowledge before hand and hadnt read about other mom's experiences i would be a little hesitant not knowing exactly waht they meant.

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Old 02-19-2007, 05:14 AM
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Totally! I've done several different kinds of studies with my son at the local U, and he's always had a ball. He gets to see new toys, interact with new people, etc. They usually had a box with a selection of little toys he could choose from at the end, so he got something to take home.

They need research subjects to help us learn more about these little people---why not help out if you have the time?

Mama to DS 3/05 and DD 1/08
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