The Family Cognitive Affective Neurodevelopment (Fam CAN) lab conducts research with infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Our research projects use different types of assessment methods, including interview/questionnaire, behavioral, observational, neurocognitive, psychophysiological, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assessments, to measure neurobehavioral development, as well as family and environmental factors associated with neurobehavioral development.

All of our studies are safe and designed with participant comfort as the priority. Interviews/questionnaires cover a range of topics (e.g., family background, personality, mental/physical health). Behavioral and observational assessments consist of playing games with infants and children, and observing them interact with parents/caregivers (e.g., while playing). Neurocognitive and psychophysiological assessments include games and other tasks that measure attentional, cognitive, and social development. MRI assessments are used to measure brain structure and functioning. MRI is a common medical procedure that has been used and approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for over 20 years. The MRI scanner is noninvasive (no radiation, no sedation or anesthesia) and poses no known risk to infants, children, adolescents, or adults. We collect brain images with infants while they are sleeping as they would at home, and with older children, adolescents, or adults while they watch a movie, play a computer game, or rest quietly. Participation in any of our research projects is completely voluntary, and all of our study investigators and staff have a great deal of experience working with infants, children, adolescents, and adults.

We know our participants are busy! We do everything possible to make participation as easy and fun as possible. Depending on the study, our research projects involve visits to the Fam CAN lab, the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research (MCTFR), the Center for Neurobehavioral Development (CNBD), and/or the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), all on the University of Minnesota campus. Many of our research projects involve in-person visits, though we also do telephone interviews and online questionnaires, and some of our projects involve multiple visits to the Fam CAN lab, the MCTFR, the CNBD, and/or the CMRR. Depending on whether participants are infants, children, adolescents, or adults, in-person visits are as short as 1 hour to as long as a full-day visit. We provide snacks and breaks, and lunch for full-day visits. For visits with infants and young children, parents/caregivers remain with their children during the entirety of the visit. We are also able to watch accompanying siblings. MRI scans are typically 45 minutes to 1 hour (with additional time for putting infants to sleep before the scan). We provide parking and participants are given an honorarium and/or small gift to acknowledge their time and commitment to the research.