Current Studies


This study explores how children reason about the causes of life events, and why different types of explanations appeal to different children. What might make a child more likely to explain an event through superstition, versus an act of god, or some natural, scientific cause? In this study, we read children a series of illustrated stories about things that happen to fictional children (e.g., a sick boy gets better just in time to go on a fun field trip) and ask them to offer explanations. We are interested in how explanation preferences change across development, and whether other factors, like a child’s perception of control, might predict children’s preferences for different explanations.


It might seem far-fetched to some that the planets and constellations could have any profound effect on their lives; but, to those who believe in astrology and horoscopes, the stars are much more than a decoration in the sky. With almost a third of American adults subscribing to beliefs in astrology, oftentimes using the system to make decisions, it is crucial to consider the effects that these beliefs might have on the developing minds of children. The present study, Luminary, is designed to explore children’s knowledge and beliefs about astrology and superstitions, whether these systems are impacting their ability to make decisions, and how they might influence self-perception.


The Metaverse study hopes to understand how immersive virtual reality affects children's ability to determine whether or not an event is possible. In this study, your child will be asked to watch a few events by wearing a virtual reality headset and be asked a few questions about them. The study should take approximately one hour and you will be compensated with a prize toy and a $10 gift card.

Interested in participating?

If you would like to participate in one of our studies or if you would like to be added to our database for future recruitment, please contact us.