Reading Brains Lab
Dartmouth College Department of Education

Participants


Getting Involved in Our Research

If you are interested in participating in our behavioral and electrophysiologial (ERP) studies of reading skills, please contact us. If you are a student, faculty, or staff member at Dartmouth or live in the Upper Valley area, please contact us about participating in our studies with adult readers. If you are a parent or child in the Upper Valley area and you would like to participate in our studies on the development of reading skills, please let us know by phone or by e-mail. If you would like to know more about our lab and our research before you participate in an experiment, you are welcome to schedule a visit to the Reading Brains Lab to find out more about what we do.


Current and Recent Research Projects: Children
We are currently conducting a research project with children in the third and fourth grades who are struggling readers. In the near future, we will also be looking for control students who are typical third and fourth grade readers. The project involves collaboration among the Reading Brains Lab, The Stern Center for Language and Learning, the Lebanon, NH school district,the Hartford, VT school district, and the White River Valley school district. The goal of the project is to determine if and how 50 hours of intensive 1:1 reading intervention targeting phonics skills affects reading behaviors and neural systems related to reading. This research is funded by the NSF. Press coverage in VTDigger and The Dartmouth. Please contact study Coordinator Amos Kornfeld by e-mail at researchstudy@sterncenter.org or by phone at 802.878.2332 for more information about this study.

We have now concluded our research study on the development of word-processing with college students and groups of third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students. Three articles based on this data set have been published, in the journals Developmental Science, Psychophysiology, and Mind, Brain, and Education (see Publications). Participants in this study got to see their own brain waves (EEG) and make decisions about whether or not words belonged to the category of animal names. This study was supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

We have completed our research study on the development of orthographic processing skills with college students, 7-year-olds, and 11-year-olds. This study was supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The findings from adults and children have been published in two articles in the journal Brain Research (see Publications).

We have completed our study with college students and children ages 6 to 8 years old on the development of brain systems important for rhyming. Participants in this experiment made decisions about which letters rhyme and which letters do not rhyme. This study was supported by funds from the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences at Dartmouth College, and the research is published in the journal Developmental Neuropsychology (see Publications).

You can find informational flyers about our studies with children posted around campus and in the local community. We are looking for participants who are right-handed, speak only English fluently, have no history of language or reading disorders (except for children in the NSF-funded intervention study), and have no neurological disorders. If your child meets these criteria and you and your child are interested in participating, please contact us.

Current and Recent Research Projects: College Students
We are currently investigating phonological processing in college students in a rhyming study. Participants in the phonological processing experiment will get to see their own brain waves (EEG) and make decisions about whether pairs of stimuli rhyme or do not rhyme. This study also includes a brief set of paper-and-pencil tasks. This research is funded by the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences at Dartmouth.

In addition to these lab projects, a number of student projects are conducted in the lab.

You can find informational flyers posted around campus for all of our ongoing studies. In general, we are looking for participants who are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, who are right-handed, who speak only English fluently, who have no history of neurological disorder or injury, who have no history of language or reading disorder, and who are not taking medications that may affect brain functioning. For some experiments, being a monolingual English speaker is not required. Some experiments may have more specific criteria. If you are interested in participating, contact us.

Special Preparations Before Participation
If you can, please try to get a good night’s sleep the night before coming into the lab. It will not be as fun to do the experiment if you are tired and would prefer to be napping.

Please plan to shampoo your hair either the day you come in or the night before. However, please do not use conditioner or any other hair products that stay in the hair. Also make sure that your hair is completely dry before coming into the lab (we do have a hairdryer if you forget). The electrodes can listen in more clearly if your hair is just plain clean.

Please plan to have your usual amount of caffeine before coming into the lab (no more, no less). If you can refrain from taking any unnecessary medications – either over-the-counter or prescription – on the day you come into the lab, then we can be sure that the brain waves that we record have not been influenced by medications.

If you wear glasses, please bring them to the Reading Brains Lab with you. If you wear contact lenses, please bring both your contacts (if you are wearing them already) and your glasses with you. Because you might be looking at a computer monitor for a long time, some participants are more comfortable wearing glasses rather than contacts.

Past Participants
If you have already been involved in our research and would like to learn about the results of the study in which you participated, please check our Publications page or contact us and we will send you the most current information that we have. Note that it can sometimes take more than one or even two years to have a study published.

If you have already been involved in our research and would like to participate again, let us know!