Department of Psychology at Illinois State University

Children's Research Lab

When a magazine or a newspaper article reports new research shows that experience with music is important for brain development, you may wonder how researchers discover this information. The Children’s Research Lab, part of the Department of Psychology at Illinois State University, is one place where we make these types of discoveries.


What is the Children’s Research Lab?

We study many different aspects of development from the preschool years through adolescence. We also study how family, educational, and media context shape development. Here’s a brief description of what some of the department's faculty members and their students at the Children’s Research Lab are researching:

  • Dr. Gregory Braswell studies how parental beliefs and social interactions influence children’s thinking.
  • Dr. Gary Creasey studies attachment and the development of interpersonal relationships.
  • Dr. Steve Croker studies scientific reasoning and children's understanding of scientific concepts.
  • Dr. Alycia Hund studies how children and adults remember and communicate about where things are.
  • Dr. Marla Reese-Weber studies how adolescents' definitions of violence are related to their behaviors in sibling and dating relationships.
  • Dr. Rocío Rivadeneyra studies how the media influences adolescents’ ideas about gender, sexuality, identity, and school achievement.
  • Dr. Renée Tobin studies how children, adolescents, and their parents talk about emotions and interpersonal situations.
  • Dr. Corinne Zimmerman studies how children, adolescents, and adults understand science concepts.

The results of our studies are reported at professional conferences, published in scientific journals, and described in the popular press. Our goal is to advance scientific understanding of development and to provide parents and teachers with useful information about child and adolescent development and family contexts.

Why Is this research important?

Our research depends on having parents and their children participate in our studies. Usually, participation involves a short visit to one of our labs, which is scheduled at your convenience. During this appointment, children play games with one of our researchers, watch short, videotaped vignettes, and/or answer questions about their thoughts and feelings. These activities tell us about how children and adolescents develop. Sometimes parents complete questionnaires or other tasks, as well. Often, children receive compensation such as a small toy or financial reimbursement. Plus, children think our studies are lots of fun!

How Can You Participate?

If you would like to learn more about participating in child and adolescent development studies at the Children’s Research Lab, please fill out this online participation form. We will be happy to add your information to our database so that we can contact you with more information in the future. Note that you are not signing up for a research study now; you are only providing information that will allow us to contact you about future developmental studies.

If you have any questions or if you no longer want to be contacted concerning developmental studies at the Children’s Research Lab, please call us at (309) 438-2377.