Located at 201 Howard St., The University of Findlay’s new child psychology lab was designed to help younger study participants feel more comfortable. Beginning this semester, visitors will be able to check out the toy selection, and enjoy the walls adorned with a mural painted by Drew Smith, a senior graphic design student.
Rather than visit children at schools and daycares to conduct research, the department decided to offer a welcoming, but more private environment conducive to honest interaction. The research being conducted focuses on health-related knowledge and body image viewpoints of children age 11 and younger. The data collected is focused on child health in both body and mind. This includes, but is not limited to childhood obesity, media influence and body esteem.
According to Allison Kiefner-Burmeister, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, each undergraduate psychology researcher working in the lab has his or her own research project, and is involved in larger group projects for quantitative and qualitative research. In the current nutrition study, participants are pictorially quizzed to find out if they can distinguish between foods that are nutritious and unhealthy. Older participants are asked about nutrition labels and packaging taglines such as “low fat,” and, in younger children, farm-to-table knowledge is also assessed. Soon, a new study will teach children about proper diet, fresh foods and sugar consumption.
“We’re looking at how children think based on marketing and nutrition knowledge compared with their parents,” said Kiefner-Burmeister. “How does the parents’ nutrition knowledge inform the child’s?”
Parents may be with their children while researchers are asking questions, or may relax in an adjacent lobby. Sessions typically last about half an hour, depending on the child’s age and patience level.
Any child in the targeted age group can participate in the various psychology studies that are ongoing at UF. To express interest, and for more information, contact Kiefner-Burmeister at 434-4523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.