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Saturday, December 16: Join us for 3 exciting studies!

10 AM to 4 PM

(1) What target size supports the best performance?

Research shows that you can perform better either with large targets as you are more confident or with small targets as you are more focused. However, past studies were limited to using small number of targets. Our goal is to determine how accurately children throw on a wide range of target sizes.

In this study, participants will try to hit targets of various sizes as they throw a ball 3 times towards each of the different targets. Our previous studies with adults showed equal results: half of those who participated performed better as targets got smaller, while the other half performed better as targets got larger. We hypothesize that the young population will demonstrate a better performance with increased target size, as confidence will play a greater role than attentiveness. The results of the study will help us better understand what psychological state affects performance and what target size may be best for improving performance during practice. 

This study is a collaboration between Dr. Joe Shim (joe_shim@baylor.edu), Baylor University and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.


(2) If the milk is NOT hot, does that mean that it is cold?

Investigating children's development of language skills

How well do young children understand the word “NOT”? While they quickly learn experiential opposites such as “hot-cold” and “soft-hard”, the word “not” appears to be harder to understand when it is used in a sentence such as “the cup is not facing up”. Learning to understand the meaning of “not” in such sentences, or negation, is an important step in language development.

 For this study, children will complete a short sentence-picture matching task on a laptop and then decide if twelve pictures are correct or incorrect. Through investigating negation, researchers will learn more about children’s language processing. Results could increase understanding of children’s negation skils and language development.

This study is a collaboration between Tasneem Alqahtani, University of Texas at Arlington, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.


 

(3) Does your memory affect your ability to pay attention?

Have you ever considered how many details you have to remember when you drive? Your brain quickly processes your driving speed, which road you need to take, the relation of your vehicle to other vehicles, and a host of physical details that allow you to turn the steering wheel, put on the brakes, and signal to other drivers.

Prior research shows that the ability to remember the information you’ve just encountered (working memory) is correlated with your ability to pay attention (attentional control), and that both functions can be linked to the same brain regions.

This study will investigate working memory capacity and attentional control. During a short working memory capacity game, you will identify the positions of squares presented to you in a sequence. In a second brief game, your attentional control will be gauged by the speed at which you can identify the colors of words. Researchers will look for connections between the game results. This study will help us better understanding links between our memory and attentional networks.

This study is a collaboration between Sarah Jihan Hossain, University of Texas at Arlington (sarah.hossain@mavs.uta.edu), and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.


The RLC will be closed on December 23 and 30.

 

 


 

One big problem with robots is that they crush things. This is not just in the “crushing all human civilization” sense, though. They literally crush things that they pick up, because they are metallic and hard. Also, they are not so good at knowing when to stop squeezing.

Fun Fact
When established in 1941, the Museum was the first children's museum in Texas and one of the first children's museums in the nation.

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