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For Families

What is a research study?

In addition to providing clinical services to families and children, the Yale Child Study Center serves as a center for research. There are labs here that study a wide range of topics. When you first think of a “lab,” you might imagine microscopes and petri dishes and white lab coats, and there are labs like that at the Child Study Center. There are also labs—like ours—that work to

develop and test child mental health interventions. We try to answer questions about kids’ and adolescents’ thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and brains. To do this, we need your help!

Families and children who come into our lab answer questions about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They do puzzles and games. Sometimes they have their brain activity measured or get pictures taken of their brains. None of these procedures are invasive or painful. Our lab conducts many different studies, so the specific activities and number of visits might vary a bit. Some studies require a couple of visits months apart, and others involve coming in for therapy once a week for a few months.

Children might be eligible for some of the studies but not for others. See our Research Studies page for more information about each study or give us a call at (203) 737-7664 to discuss eligibility.

What is fMRI?

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a brain imaging technique that helps researchers visualize brain structure and activity. fMRI uses magnetism and radio waves, not radiation, to take pictures of the brain. Many people around the world have had fMRI scans, and they are very helpful for teaching us how the brain works.

Most of the studies in the Sukhodolsky Lab involve fMRI scans.

What is it like to have an fMRI scan?

fMRI scans are performed while you lie on a table, which is slid into a tunnel that contains a large magnet. You will hear loud knocking noises, and we will give you earplugs and earmuffs to muffle the sound. We will ask you to watch some videos and do some activities inside the scanner, and sometimes you will make simple responses using controllers in your hands. We will check in with you and talk to you regularly during the scan. It will be important that you lie very still for several minutes at a time, so that we can get clear pictures. Scans take 30-90 minutes, depending on which research study you are in. We will practice at our pretend scanner beforehand so that you feel comfortable in the real scanner.

What is EEG?

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a technique for measuring brain activity. Brain cells communicate with each other using electrical impulses, and an EEG records this electrical activity. In an EEG recording, brain activity shows up as wavy lines.

Not all of the studies in the Sukhodolsky Lab involve EEG.

What is it like to have an EEG?

EEG measures brain activity using sensors placed on your scalp. You will sit in a chair, and an elastic hairnet containing small sensors will be placed on your scalp. Each sensor is moistened to increase sensitivity of the measurements. These sensors record the natural electricity that moves along the scalp and are connected to a recording device called an EEG machine. Once the sensors are placed on your head, you will look at pictures, listen to sounds, and play computer games. Breaks are built in so that you can rest when needed. The length of the entire EEG procedure depends on the study.

Clinical Resources

We partner with the following clinics at the Yale Child Study Center:

  • Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic for Children | 203-785-2513
  • Developmental Disabilities Clinic | 203-785-3420
  • Tic Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Team | 203-785-5880

Click here for more information about the evaluations and treatments offered at the Child Study Center.

Welcome to the Sukhodolsky Lab