Looking at Patterns with Emotions

Looking at Patterns with Emotions

Child Emotion Lab (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

Who Can Participate

For 8- and 9-year-olds

What Happens

Children will be asked to play a game in which they see different shapes followed by pictures. Some pictures are positive, like a puppy or a smiling baby, and some are negative, like a scary face or a cut finger. We will also have children answer some questions about how they have been feeling recently.

What We're Studying

We are interested in understanding how children's current emotional states influence differences in their ability to learn about and use positive and negative information in their environment. All of us need to be able to recognize when events are followed by positive or negative outcomes, especially since we use that information to inform everyday decisions. For example, if we touch something hot, like a burner or pan, we then learn to avoid repeating that action in the future. While research has demonstrated children are able to learn these relationships and use them to inform decisions, there is wide variation in how children perform. In adults, feeling happy, calm, stressed, or lonely can influence how they learn about and use positive and negative information. In this study, we examine whether this is also true for children. This research can help us better understand what influences individual variation in children's learning and decision making!


30 minutes


You will receive a $10 Amazon US gift card for participating in this study. To be eligible for the gift card your child must be in the age range for this study, you need to submit a valid consent statement, and we need to see that there is a child with you. But we will send a gift card even if you do not finish the whole study or we are not able to use your child's data! Gift cards will be sent via e-mail within one week of study completion.

This study is conducted by Seth Pollak (contact: childemotion@waisman.wisc.edu)

Would you like to participate in this study?