Research and Learning Center Holiday Closings
November 25, December 22, December 29 and January 5

Be a part of Science in Action this Fall!

Join us on October, November and December Saturdays for these exciting opportunities!

10 AM to 1 PM

Can a visual illusion create a safer environment?

Have you ever tripped over a stair or object you didn’t see? Tripping sometimes only hurts our pride, but other times the resulting fall can cause serious injuries. Can a visual illusion strengthen a person’s awareness of a “hidden” stair or obstacle?

In this study, participants will be asked to step over three obstacles that each have different visual illusion patterns. We will videotape the stepper’s feet and analyze stepping patterns. This study will help researchers to better understand how we can design the environment so that we are more aware of unexpected obstacles—and less likely to hurt ourselves or our pride.

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

1 to 4 PM

Does health influence how we think?

This study will examine the relationship between health and behavior. In particular, we are interested in the link between health and a child’s ability to concentrate and exercise self-control. Previous studies have suggested that these traits are linked with inflammation in adults, and we predict that this relationship will also be true in children. In our study, children will play a few quick games, have a snack and will be asked to provide a saliva sample.

We predict that children with higher levels of inflammation (a marker of immunological activity, measured in saliva) will be less able to concentrate and exercise self-control. The results of this study will be important in the development of health-based interventions to improve children’s performance at home and school.

This study is a collaboration between Summer Mengelkoch & Sarah Hill, Texas Christian University (, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.