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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions that aren't addressed here, please feel free to email us.

  • How can I/my child/my center participate?
    Please fill out the Contact Us form with some information, and we'll get back to you ASAP with opportunities that we have available.
  • Will I be able to watch my child participate when they participate in an in-lab study?
    Yes! We have one-way mirrored observation available so you can watch as your child participates in the study.
  • I have other children I'll need to bring with me. Will I be able to do so?
    Absolutely! In some cases, we may even have studies for those children. But even if we don't, you are welcome to bring all of your children with you to an in-lab visit. We just ask that you give us notice so that we can make sure we are properly staffed and can accomodate the number of visits we'll have.
  • Will I find out the results of the study?
    Absolutely! Studies can take several years to complete. For this reason, we provide newsletter updates on our ongoing projects each year. We also provide publications once the study has been completed and accepted for publication. If interested, please sign up on our Contact Us page, or let one of our researchers know that you'd like these updates.
  • My child has a developmental delay. Can s/he still participate?
    Yes! It is helpful if you let us know ahead of time so we can make any necessary accomodations, and so we can make a note. Otherwise, as long as you and your child are comfortable, we are happy to have him or her try our games.
  • What if my child isn't interested, is feeling shy, or just doesn't want to participate the day we come in?
    When a child expresses a desire to stop, we respect it. Participation is always voluntary and children are always allowed to stop. In some cases, children need a short break before continuing with the study. In other cases, children want to stop the study altogether - we leave it up to you and your child to figure out what you would like to do.
  • Can I get a video of my child participating?
    Yes! A copy of the video and audio of your child’s experimental session can be requested via e-mail to and upon request will be transferred to you via Dropbox or another secure data transfer service.
  • How can I schedule/re-schedule/cancel an appointment?
    Please email us at We appreciate the advanced notice as our lab are specifically staffed for your visit.
  • When is your lab open for visits?
    We are conducting online and in-person studies from 9:30am-5pm PST Monday through Friday (some Saturdays as well).
  • I don't have time to bring my child in for an in-lab study. Can my child still participate?
    Yes! We have a few other ways to participate: 1. For select studies, we conduct at-home visits. 2. Our lab can be seen at Irvine preschools, parks and museums. 3. We are running studies online. To find out more about how your child can participate, e-mail us at
  • Does my child receive anything for participation?
    Children participating in person get a small prize (e.g., small toy, stickers) they can pick out for helping us out with our studies. For all of our online studies, we are able to compensate our participants with Tango gift cards.
  • How long will the whole visit take?
    The studies themselves take anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes per child, but we always budget in extra time to make sure that you and your child have time to get settled, sign paperwork, and ask us any questions that you might have. If in-person, we budget in time for your child to play and explore our lab if they wish to do so afterwards.
  • How can I find parking on campus?
    You should park in the Social Science Parking Structure and we will provide reimbursement for your parking session! For for information on how to find parking, please go to the Directions page on our website.
  • Can I participate if I don't live in the area?
    Absolutely! We are now running studies online. Please navigate to to sign up. We will schedule a Zoom call with you and your child during which they will play our games remotely.
  • How do I apply to work as a research assistant in the lab?
    The lab accepts new research assistants at the start of each school year. To learn more about applying, please visit the Join Us page on this website, or email our lab manager (
  • Does the lab have any openings for graduate students?
    Dr. Chernyak will be open to accepting PhD students over the next several years through the Cognitive Sciences Department at UC - Irvine. Interested students are encouraged to peruse the Cognitive Sciences webpage and program and get in contact with Dr. Chernyak in advance of the application deadline to discuss potential fit. The lab studies a wide range of topics, though our most recent work will focus on studying the cognitive and social predictors of inequality, social influences of math learning, and social group cognition and social group categorization. These topics are not exhaustive, and graduate students with intersecting/overlapping interests are encouraged to apply. If you are not sure whether your interests are a good fit for the lab, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Chernyak in advance of the application deadilne.
  • What is expected of undergraduate research assistants?
    We expect a minimum of 10 hours per week devoted to lab work, enthusiasm about cognitive development research, and interest in working with and conducting behavioral studies with young children. Occasionally, research assistants have opportunities to travel off-campus to nearby preschools, museums, and parks to collect data and work with children. Research asssistants will also be expected to participate in the intellectual culture of the lab through attending lab meetings, discussing articles, and providing input on our research questions and study design.
  • Are there opportunities to get involved over the summer?
    Absolutely! We are always looking for summer research assistants. Please complete the application for Summer Research Assistants here. University of California-Irvine students may also be eligible for SURP funding. For any additional information or questions about funding, please email our lab manager (
  • Will participating as a research assistant enable me to receive a letter of recommendation?
    Yes. But, you must have worked in the lab for at least 2 full quarters and have consistently attended lab meetings. Please discuss with Dr. Chernyak whether you are in a position to receive a strong letter - note that letters that are not strong may actually hinder your application! If you are interested in letters of recommendation, make sure to get in touch well in advance of any application deadlines.
  • Do I need prior research experience?
    Undergraduate research assistants do NOT need prior research experience prior to joining the lab. We require an interest in research and an open mind! Graduate students are required to have prior research experience, ideally in cognitive development or a related field.
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