What is EEG?
We use electroencephalography (EEG) as a safe and non-invasive way to record electrical brain activity and patterns in the brain.  To do this, we use a soft, mesh-like, elastic cap with holes where we place electrodes. Just as physicians use stethoscopes to listen to the heart, we can use EEG methods to “listen” to the brain.  Similar to how a microphone works, these electrodes pick up the small electrical waves that are naturally produced by the child’s brain. The photo above is an example of EEG activity we recorded in the lab from one of our participants.

EEG is an excellent choice for use with children because brain activity is recorded passively–children do not need to overtly respond. When children look at certain objects or hear specific sounds, particular patterns can be observed in the brain.

​Before the Experiment Starts
You will be given detailed information about all of our procedures and can ask questions at any time. During this introductory period, your child can play while becoming accustomed to the lab. We understand that your child will be in a new environment and around new people, so it’s important that both you and your child feel comfortable before we start. You will be given consent forms and background forms to fill out and sign, while your child has a chance to explore our play room.

Putting on the EEG Cap
When ready, we start by first putting on the cap. Next we will squeeze a little gel  into the holes in the cap, then place the electrodes in the holes. The gel helps ensure a good connection for a clean recording of the brain wave activity. Although putting on the cap may feel a little strange at first, normally it is not a problem as the child will be entertained with fun toys and iPad games.

During the EEG Experiment
The experiment itself is carried out in a separate room. After the cap has been fitted, we will walk with your child down the hall a short distance to our testing room, decorated with child friendly decals, toys and books. Your child will sit on your lap or in a chair next to you. The researchers sit in the adjoining room from where we run the experiment. Your child will watch a silent cartoon while their brain activity is recorded. In front of your child will be a computer. A silent cartoon will play in the center of the screen while a pattern appears in the background of the screen and speakers play sounds and short sentences. All your child needs to do is watch the cartoon in the center of the screen. You can be with your child at all times.

Other Procedures
In addition to the EEG session, we may ask you and your child to participate in other testing procedures. Some tests are parental checklists which ask you about information on family background, vocabulary use and other communicative activities. Other measures involve a researcher interacting with your child to help us better understand cognitive and language development. All of the procedures you and your child will be asked to participate in will be described to you at the very start of your session.