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Join us on March Saturdays for two exciting studies!

10 AM to 1 PM

Parent-child relationships: What can we learn from an Etch A Sketch?

Parents and children alike know that, when working on a frustrating task, cooperation can be hard! Factors that lead to family cooperation are unknown.

For this study, parents and children will play together on an etch-a-sketch. The parent will hold one knob and the child will hold the other knob, to create a basic picture. Parent feedback on the experience will help researchers to examine behaviors that promote greater understanding of parent-child relationships.

This study will help us learn more about the ways that parents and children respond to challenging situations. We hope to further the scientific understanding of factors that can lead to positive parent-child relationships. 

This study is a collaboration between the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the UNT Contextual Psychology group of UNT in Denton, Texas (


 1 to 4 PM

Can a chair give you a hug?

Many people are aware that swaddling a baby can calm him down, but do you know why? Research has shown that items that provide deep tactile input, or firm pressure to the skin, are calming to individuals of all ages. This is because deep tactile input activates the parasympathetic nervous system, or the part of the nervous system that helps us to calm down and focus. Weighted blankets provide deep tactile input, have been well-researched, and are commonly used by individuals with autism and anxiety. However, other items that provide deep tactile input have not been as well studied.

 This study will test a child’s ability to remember a string of numbers and problem solve while seated in either a normal chair or a specially designed chair. The specially designed chair has a seat made with a special kind of stretchy fabric called Lycra. This seat allows children to swing back and forth, but it also provides deep tactile input. When a child sits in the chair, it stretches with her weight, and puts pressure on her skin. In short, the chair gives her a hug!

We hypothesize that this chair will help children with and without special needs to improve their focus, memory, and problem solving skills. Findings from the study may provide a more effective and cheaper solution for students who are stressed or anxious, leading to improved work and focus for children of all abilities.

This study is a collaboration between Tori Brennan,, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.


Technology and the Developing Brain:

Adolescents and Smartphones Workshop

for parents, teachers, and other professionals

April 7, 2018

10:30 A.M. to Noon

Oak Room East

How does smartphone usage impact the adolescents in your life? What does research show, and how can we support our children in developing digital responsibility? Join us for a discussion with experts in neuroscience, educational technologies, and psychology to learn more about how smartphones and other technology affects our teens'--our and own--lives.

Workshop Agenda:

Adolescents, Addictive Technology and Multitasking:   Dr. Lin Lin, Professor of Learning Technologies, UNT

 Technology and the Brain:    Dr. Thomas Parsons, Professor of Psychology, UNT

How Can Smartphones Support Mental Health in Youth? A Look at Mental Health Apps for Depression and Resilience.":  Dr. Jennifer Hughes, Assistant Professor of Psychology, UTSW



"One of the most useful skills for children and adolescents to acquire will be the ability to effectively use this universe of information—to critically evaluate the data, to discern signal from noise, to synthesize the content, and to apply it to real-world problem solving.”  - Dr. Jay Giedd, NIH















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

Five of the movies shown in the Omni Theater have been nominated for Academy Awards: The Living Sea, Dolphins, Cosmic Voyage, Alaska: Spirit of the Wild, and Special Effects: Anything Can Happen.  

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