Real Research with Children and Parents Right in the Museum
The Living Lab is an exciting collaboration involving the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and psychologists from the University of Michigan. Researchers from the university bring real psychology studies to a lab space on the floor of the museum. Parents watch as their children take part in 10-minute studies, and after each study parents and children are encouraged to ask questions. The result is that museum visitors help psychologists build knowledge about how children think and behave, and get exposure to a form of science that is often missing from science-focused museums. Please feel free to stop by, ask questions, and help with a study!
Current Research in the Living Lab
Currently, research in the Living Lab focuses on children's social cognition and behavior, and how such thinking and behavior develop from early childhood onward. Topics that are being studied in the Living Lab include:
- how children think about fairness
- how children make decisions about distributing resources (e.g., sharing)
- what influences children's predictions about future emotion
- what children understand about heroes and villains
The studies are designed to be very fun for children, and every child receives a gift for participating! We will keep this page updated - check back to see results of studies that have been completed at the Living Lab.
About the National Living Lab Initiative
The Living Lab at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is part of the National Living Lab Initiative (NLLI). The NLLI promotes collaborations between researchers and informal science educators that foster public engagement with the scientific study of child development. The National Living Lab Initiative is supported by a grant to the Boston Museum of Science from the National Science Foundation. (www.livinglab.org)
Upcoming Special Events
The research happening at the Living Lab will be the focus of regular educational events at the museum. Researchers from the University of Michigan will come to the museum to present on their latest findings for parents, teachers, students, and anyone else who is interested. Check back soon for more information about the next event!
- The National Living Lab Initiative: www.livinglab.org
- The first Living Lab project at the Boston Museum of Science: mos.org/discoverycenter/livinglab
If you have questions or ideas please feel free to contact Dr. Craig Smith, Research Fellow at the University of Michigan Psychology Department. To send a message, use our Contact Us form and select Living Lab department.