Contact Us!

SLP Room 201
308 Iowa Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-467-0591

The D.E.N. Lab at the University of Iowa, under the direction of Dr. Ece Demir-Lira, is currently seeking parents and their children to participate in various research projects. The success of our research depends largely upon the participation of families like yours. If you have a young child, you may be eligible to participate in one of our research projects. Your family's involvement will help us to gain valuable insight into how children develop. 

We try our best to make our study serious for science but still fun for families. Your child will go on an on-going adventure with the DEN Pack’s close friend Flynn the fox! Flynn the fox needs help finding his friends on Winterberry Road, the more activities your child completes the farther Flynn the fox moves down Winterberry Road and the closer he comes to finding all of his friends! Your child will receive some gifts from our DEN Pack along the way and your family will also receive monetary compensation for completing the study!

If you have a young child and are interested in participating, please see the details of each study below.

Image of "Are you Curious About How Your Child Learns" online survey invitation


Parent-Child Neuroimaging Project

Parents and their 4–6-year-old children are invited to a neuroimaging research study at the Development, Experience, Neurocognition (DEN) Lab in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa. Parents and their children may come to Spence Laboratories to participate in up to two visits. During these visits you and/or your children will complete some cognitive games while your brain activity is being measured using fNIRS. fNIRS measures brain activity using low intensity near-infrared light, which is harmless. Compensation will be provided.

If you are interested, please complete this online survey to see if you are eligible:

Online Preterm Birth Project

Are you curious about how your child learns? Researchers in the Development, Experience, and Neurocognition Lab in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences invite families to participate in an online study of preterm birth and neurodevelopment. You can now contribute to science by playing our fun studies from the comfort of home. All you need is a computer and a webcam to participate, and you can do so at any time.

We are looking for families with:

  • At least one child between the ages of 3-5 years (term or preterm) 

The child must: 

  • Be a native speaker of English 
  • Have normal or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing 
  • Have no physical limitations that would prevent them from doing paper/pencil tasks 
  • Have no history of a genetic syndrome, birth defect, or intellectual and developmental disability

Children taking stimulant medication must do a 24-48 hour wash-out prior to the visit. Participation requires the child and the parent who is the primary caregiver to meet with members of our research team via Zoom or Adobe Connect for four 30-minutes sessions. The primary caregiver will complete questionnaires about their child. Children will complete neurocognitive testing. Parents and children may provide a saliva sample for future DNA analyses. Compensation and results from neurocognitive testing are provided. 

If interested, please go to to complete eligibility screening.