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Queen's University
 

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Current Studies

Language and Theory of Mind in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Purpose of study
In this study, we are investigating the relationship between children’s language ability and theory of mind, defined as an individual’s ability to understand their own and others’ mental states. We are looking at the nature of the relationship between language and theory of mind at different time points during development.

Who can participate?
    • Children with ASD and typically-developping children aged 4-7 years old.

      What is involved?
      Children will engage in a standardized language assessment and a specific grammar assessment. Children will also complete a number of play-based perspective-taking tasks which assess to what extent children infer others’ mental states and understand that these states may differ from reality and from their own mental states.

      Time requirement
      This study will take approximately 1 hour to complete.

      Additional information
      Your child will receive an age-appropriate toy for their participation. Data collected from this survey is encrypted and therefore completely confidential.

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      Videogames and Cognitive Functions

      Purpose of study
      In this study, we are looking at whether playing a videogame is related to cognitive functions

      Who can participate?

      • Children aged 11-18 years who are typically developing, or diagnosed with Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

      What is involved?
      The child would come in to take part in a variety of tasks.  Upon, playing a videogame for an hour a day for thirty days the child would come back to the lab to complete more tasks.  Also, parents/primary caregivers and teachers will be asked to complete questionnaires about the child in the home and school environment.

      Time requirement
      In total we ask the family to commit to a period of three months.  Once a month the child would come into the lab.  Each visit would include two- one and a half hour sessions. Either between the first and second or second and third visit we ask the child to play a videogame at home for one hour a day for 30 days.

      Additional information
      Your child will receive monetary compensation for their participation.

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      Brain Development and Theory of Mind in Children

      Purpose of study
      We are interested in looking at how children’s brain development may lead to advances in their social understanding, and specifically, in their ability to reason about others’ minds.

      Who can participate?

      • Boys with ASD: 5-10 years old

      What is involved?
      This study involves participating in a number of age-appropriate activities and games designed to measure children’s social understanding (e.g., thinking about another's beliefs) and ability to control impulses (e.g., playing ‘Simon Says’). Your child will also be given a couple of general language assessments. We will also record his brain's electrical activity (EEG) while he sits quietly and watches a simple 6-minute video. To do this, we use a net that fits comfortably over his head and positions EEG sensor gently on the surface of the scalp. The procedure is completely non-invasive and has been used widely in research with young children as it is currently the best way to get reliable information about children’s brain development.

      Time requirement
      This study involves two visits to the lab with each lasting approximately 1 to 2 hours.

      Additional information
      Your child will receive a small prize at the end of each visit. Your child will also have his picture taken with the EEG net on his head and be able to share his experience with friends and family. Upon request, we can provide a summary of scores on all of the standardized tests that your child completes. 

      Interested in participating in this study? Click here to contact us!

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      Language Processing in Children

      Purpose of study
      We are interested in looking at how children with and without ASD process linguistic information in context.

      Who can participate?

      • Children with and without ASD: 9-12 years old

      What is involved?
      This study involves participating in activities designed to assess how children process information in language. For example, one activity involves reading words that are at a grade 3 reading level. Another activity involves hearing a sentence (e.g., Jack pet the cat), seeing a picture (e.g., a cat), and then pressing a button to say whether the picture fits the meaning of the sentence just presented. Participants will also be given general cognitive and language assessments.

      Time requirement
      This study involves two visits to the lab with each lasting approximately 1 ½  to 2 hours.

      Additional information
      Participants will receive a small prize at the end of each visit. Upon request, we can provide a summary of scores on all of the standardized tests that the participant completes.

      Interested in participating in this study? Click here to contact us!

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      Interested in learning about completed studies?
      Click here.

      Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000