IC looking to survey families for child development research

By Ryne Turke on June 8, 2016 at 12:55pm

Students and staff from Illinois College will be conducting another round of child development research this summer.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Caitlin Vasquez-O’Brien spoke with WLDS-WEAI News about the program, which is entering year two.

Vasquez-O’Brien says her team collected some interesting data from the 50 families and 100 children that participated in the study. She breaks down the areas of research being examined.

“My goal as a psychologist is trying to understand the development and changes of child disorders. I look at different behaviors like aggression, shyness and social behaviors. I look at how they develop and change and also how different environments change them,” says Vasquez-O’Brien.

A pair of Illinois College students presented research from the study at The Association For Psychological Sciences Convention in Chicago last week.

Five other teams of undergraduates presented their data during Illinois College’s Celebration of Excellence.

Illinois College is funding six students for the program this summer.

Vasquez-O’Brien says the study involves interviews and tasks for brothers, sisters and caregivers to complete.

“We find that things are really different for the siblings, depending on if they are older or young, a boy or girl and whether or not they are related. The students collect this broad data. We do observational tasks and games with the students and ask the parents questions. The students get to ask research questions on the data we collect,” says Vasquez-O’Brien.

Vasquez-O’Brien explains the benefits of the survey for both Illinois College students and the families participating.

“We keep in contact with our families, so we will send them what we are finding and learning about families and children. For the students, we do a great job of teaching them in the classroom, but that is just part of the puzzle. The students learn best when they are doing things. A lot of our students want to go on to graduate or professional schools. They want to be psychologists or medical doctors. It is really important for them to come out and say they had a research experience,” notes Vasquez-O’Brien.

Sessions can be scheduled to fit the convenience of each family.

To sign up call 245-3426 or email tcvobrien@mail.ic.edu.

For the complete interview check out the “What’ On Your Mind?” section of our website.