Event Info and Booking | 2018

Summer Scientist is an annual event organised by the School of Psychology and hosted at the University of Lincoln. The event mixes research and fun and gives young scientists the opportunity to partake in a variety of fun activities while at the same time they learn about psychology and science. The event is entirely free of charge, but you need to book a space. Please check the information below before you book.

What am I signing up for?

You are signing up for a morning or afternoon of free fun activities aimed at children between 3 to 10 years old. You will be booked into one session in the week of 2oth – 24th August. The event takes place in the Sarah Swift Building, situated on the Brayford Pool Campus of the University. Once you arrive for your session a team of trained student volunteers, researchers and academics will play games with your children in the Fun-Zone and ask them to take part in our research studies which we call research ‘games’. These research ‘games’ are fun activities for children to enjoy, but they also allow experts at the university to learn about how children develop. You are welcome to watch your children take part in these ‘games’, enjoy the Fun-Zone with them, or sit and relax in the café area with a newspaper or good book. You will still be able to see your kids from where you are, and the person in charge of the session also knows where any child is at any given time. We also have free Wi-Fi, poster displays and other information for the adults (parents, grandparents, carers) who accompany the kids.

With your booking, you will receive a detailed information pack, including directions and other general information. If you have any questions about the set up of the event, please Email Summer Scientist

Taking part in research studies

A number of research studies will be running during the summer scientist week. Your child will be invited to take part in some of these studies depending on their age. All the studies involve age appropriate tasks and children almost always enjoy them and complete them without any problems. However, if at any time a child appears distressed or unhappy with the game, it will be stopped immediately, and they are able to withdraw at any time. All the researchers have a lot of experience working with children.

What happens to children’s data?

The results of the studies will be prepared for publication in academic journals and copies of these will be available upon request. Responses of individual children will remain strictly confidential, as only group data will be reported. You may also choose to withdraw your child’s data for up to 2 weeks after the end of the event.

Can I watch the studies?

All parents are asked to stay on site for the duration of their child’s morning or afternoon with us, which you confirm by signing a form that will be sent to you via email (we have spare copies at the event). There are seating areas and other things to keep you occupied but you are also very welcome to watch the studies. We understand that it may be tempting to help your child in the studies. However, any answers that your child gives (even those that appear ‘wrong’) are very informative for us. As such, we would be grateful if you did not help your child to complete any of the tasks.   


To visit our booking page click here Please note that:

  • You will need to book a ticket for every child attending the event. You can book up to 4 tickets (i.e., 4 children and their guardians).
  • Group bookings (5 children and above) cannot be made via our online booking system. However, if you are part of a group we will try to book you in the same session. To do this, each member of the group will have to book onto the day first and then email summerscientist@lincoln.ac.uk once the bookings have gone through.

If you require a car parking space, please email summerscientist@lincoln.ac.uk with the date that you have booked onto, your car registration and your full name.

At the time of booking you will receive an automatic email confirmation and then a short while before the event we will email you the information, directions and consent forms. You can print those out if you wish, but we also have printed copies available at the event, if you want to save ink.

The Research Games at Summer Scientist 2017:

A world of colours

We know that adults form mental links between certain colours and qualities. For instance, this is why some clothing colours can look more fashionable or attractive. What we don’t know is when these links develop! We’re hoping to find this out by asking children of different ages to judge pictures and decide which ones look more or less on a variety of different qualities. (Please note that your child will be deciding, for example, how angry people in the pictures look, although we don’t think this will cause them to feel angry!)


Finding Dory!

Children will have to find cartoons on a screen (e.g. Elsa, Dory) and say their names out loud. Videos of dogs’ and people’s facial expressions in day-to-day situations will be alternated with the cartoons, where we will do a “guess the emotion” game. During the session, a camera will record children’s eye movements. When Dory appears on the screen, children have to get up from the chair and look for the real Dory hidden somewhere in the room (parents can help searching too!). This game will help us understand how children develop their emotion reading skills in people and dogs.


Follow Buzzy Bee.

We use our eyes to look around the world but how do our brains know where to look and how do children learn how to look where and when?  This research uses an “eye tracking” computer in which a camera under a computer monitor can measure where people are looking. We will ask the children to complete a short game which looks at how well they track a cartoon bee jumping around the screen.  It should be quite fun and most kids find the technology really interesting. The only down side is that they have to wear a silly sticker on their forehead for the eye tracking camera to work properly. You can wear the sticker on your for the rest of the day with pride!


Colour Challenge

How fast can your child name the colour of text?  It’s not as easy as you might think! Will the word itself make it more difficult to name the colour?  All the children need to do is say the colour of the ink as fast as they can (e.g. “blue”) – no reading involved!  But are they reading without realising? Let us find out with this fun version of the famous ‘Stroop Task’!  Once they have finished the game I will then see how many words your child canread from a simple list of other words.


Play a game with a little robot!

In this activity, your child will play a short sorting game with our small robot Nao. The game will be played on a small tablet computer, and will involve the robot telling short stories, and then asking your child about items that appear on the screen. We’re interested in finding out how the game is played (there aren’t any right or wrong answers here!), and what your child thinks of the robot. This work is part of our efforts to see how we can use robots to help children with autism spectrum disorders with their social and cognitive skills.


Musical notes

We are interested in children’s ability to learn specific sequences of sounds. Your child will be asked to play a game involving familiarisation with, and recognition of, different musical sequences.

We will first ask your child to listen to a long sequence of notes. Occasionally, a note from a different musical instrument will sound and your child will be asked to detect it as quickly as possible by pressing a key. This is so that your child can become familiar with the sequence of notes. After this, we will play a memory game where your child will be asked which of two sequences of notes sounds familiar to him/her, and how confident they are in their responses. Overall, the session will take no longer than 15 minutes. The results of these tasks will help us understand more about how children’s learning and memory work.

Thank you for your help!


What do Simba and Lightning McQueen sound like? How do they feel?

Our team is interested in how children become skilled at recognising emotions, e.g. from faces and voices, over the years. Previous findings showed that emotion recognition improves with age until late adolescence; however, the development of this skill might vary across specific emotions, e.g. anger could be recognised at an earlier age than surprise.

In this session children will be asked to match the emotional expressions of animated characters – like SpongeBob SquarePants and Wall-E – with the correct emotional voices. Parents will be asked to fill in a questionnaire about their children’s social- and communicational skills. Overall, the session should last about 10-15 minutes.


Storytime is for everyone: Come with us to Shapesville!

From a very young age, today’s children are exposed to cultural standards of appearance, especially via television and the internet. These appearance standards can affect how children feel about themselves and perceive others. Teasing about appearance is a commson occurrence among boys and girls and can have negative consequences for children of all ages. Shapesville is a storybook developed by American researchers and aimed at young children.

The authors say:‘’Shapesville is a book about self-acceptance, diversity, and learning to appreciate our differences as individuals. It has been designed to be used to encourage discussion between children and adults about body image, self-esteem, colour differences and the false belief that an ‘ideal’ appearance leads to happiness and success’’

Children and parents are invited to listen to the story being read aloud by a researcher, and then tell us what they think about it (all anonymously). This information will help us decide if the book is suitable for use with children here in the U.K.


Whose face is this?

We are interested in finding out how well children can recognise new faces. We have two different variations of our task. We will ask children to look at images of faces and decide whether or not those images show the same person. In one task, children will see pairs of photos as be asked whether they show the same person or not. In the other task, children will be read a story with photos of a character to familiarize them with the character. They will then be asked to pick out new photos of that character. The tasks will take a maximum of 20 minutes and should be fun!


Finding Dora

We will be using a game called ‘Finding Dora’, which measures impulsivity in children aged 5-10.  In this game, each child has to indicate when they see Swiper, and do nothing when they see Dora!  Meanwhile, parents will be invited to answer questions relating to their child’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, and preferences.  This will involve questions about any imaginative thoughts and other factors which have been associated with mental ability and skills such as organisation. Furthermore, these questions will also relate to shizotypy; which is basically measuring personality characteristics, experiences and imagination.


Cues and clues: Can you spot the different emotions?

The purpose of this study is to find out if there is any relationship between a child’s ability to recognise emotions in others and their ability to regulate their own emotions.  To measure emotion recognition the participant will be asked whether they can spot different emotions from facial expressions, voice tone and body posture from images/sounds played on a computer. The participant will answer 3 questions to measure how happy, calm and in control they feel and will wear pads on their fingers to measure how calm they feel during the emotion recognition task.  The parent/guardian will be asked to complete a questionnaire on the emotion regulation of the participant.


The way he looks is an expression of who he is-Can you tell?

This study is about perception and recognition of people. By participating in this study, you will be shown neutral and angry faces, in sets of either 2 or 4 on a computer screen. This will be followed by brief blank screen. Shortly afterwards, a single face will appear, which remains on the screen until a response is made. Your task is to decide whether the single face that was last shown on the screen was present or absent from the previous list(s) of faces that you saw. If you think it was present, then press the “UpArrow” button on the computer keyboard. If you think it was absent then press the “DownArrow” button.


Interactive Digital Jigsaw Art

Children will be asked to complete two simple jigsaw puzzle tasks (6 or 9 pieces). One will be based on using an interactive avatar-based gesture-based interface (see picture below)and the other will be a paper version of the same puzzle (Please note that we will use child-friendly puzzle pieces). Each task should last less than 7 minutes. After the completion of these tasks, participants will be asked a set of brief questions assessing their experience playing the games. Total participation should last no longer than 20minutes.


Game of seashells

The reason why people act altruistically towards others is still unclear. We want to understand whether the decision of a child to act altruistically towards their peers is explained by their desire to be helpful to others, by their own benefits (such as a boost in their self-esteem when they act altruistically) and/or the desire to follow the social norms of their group. We invite children to play a series of short games, on a computer, in which they are presented with some scenarios, are given a fictitious resource (e.g. seashells) and then have a chance to give some of these seashells to other children. An example of a scenario presented to children is one where the child is asked to imagine that they are playing with other children on the beach and decide that, whatever toy/snack, the children have, they have to share those with the other children in the play group. Children may be asked to wear bibs similar to those used in team sports. At the end of the experiment, children will have a chance to exchange the fictitious seashells they have kept or received from other children with some stickers of their choice. Don’t worry, all children will leave with some stickers in the end!


Warm wishes.

The SSW team.

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