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The Gaab Lab for Developmental Neuroscience

the smell of freshly baked cookies | the memory of a fun trip | the pain of stepping on a nail

These experiences are made possible by the most complex organ in our bodies...the BRAIN!!
We like to learn more about the brain and how it works! We learn about the brain with the help of kids like you.
Here is a little about what it's like to be part of our studies:

What would you be doing?

  • You would help us to find out whether our assistant Froggy has a brain. (Dr. Monkey will help us too.)
  • You would be playing computer games and watching movies while we take pictures of your brain.
  • Our brain camera records the activity in your brain while you would be comfortably lying down.
  • The brain camera is completely safe and painless.
  • You would have to wear metal-free clothing because the camera doesn't work properly if metal comes near it.
  • If you'd like to know more details about what exactly we would be doing in the big brain camera, click here.

Why would it be fun to participate?

  • You would help us learn a lot more about how the brain works.
  • You would get a whole CD of neat pictures of your brain that you can take home with you and show to your friends and family! You can even design postcards with your own brain.
  • You would get a gift certificate to a bookstore, so you can buy some new books and have fun reading them!
  • You would get another surprise brain gift. (Shhh, we can't tell you yet!)
  • By allowing us to look at your brain and find out more about how it works, you could help other children that have trouble with reading and learning in general.
Interested? You can email or call Dr. Monkey if you have any questions or would like to sign up for one of our studies. Our email address is: gaablab@tch.harvard.edu

You can also call Dr. Gaab at 617-218-3021 and talk to her if you have any questions.

How it works

Our friendly assistants would like to show you the brain camera!


Froggy and Dr. Monkey arrive at Children's Hospital Waltham where the brain camera lives. First they look for parking. Can you find the parking sign?






Froggy and Dr. Monkey park their car and look for the signs to the entrance.








They found the entrance and Froggy can't wait to see the brain camera. 
Froggy has a camera at home but the brain camera needs to be much bigger he thinks. Do you have a camera at home?




The two check in with the friendly staff at the MRI scanner (another word for the brain camera). Froggy needs to fill out some forms and Dr. Monkey helps him. Froggy is not allowed to have any metal in his body (such as braces) and he has to make sure there is no metal in his pockets or somewhere in his fur.





Froggy and Dr. Monkey need to wait a little bit. They like the waiting area because it has so many cool games. They check out the sand box and play with the blue and the red car.






They also look at the fish in the aquarium...Froggy wants to swim with them...maybe the next time then the brain camera is now ready to take his pictures!






Froggy is not allowed to go inside the brain camera if he has any metal attched to his clothes (for examples zippers). The friendly brain camera staff have cool clothes for him if he needs to change. Do you spot any zippers on Froggy's clothes?






Finally Froggy gets to see the brain camera. The friendly brain camera staff helps him to sit on the bed and explains everything to him...Dr. Monkey is watching (Can you see him?)




Froggy is so excited. He gets ready to get his brain picture taken. Froggy sits on the comfy brain camera bed. He put his headphones and earplugs on, so the noise of the brain camera will not be too loud for him . He will listen to sounds or stories or he will even watch a cool movie. Froggy can't wait! Do you think he has a brain?






Froggy lies down and he gets buttons in his hands. He will use them to play the games inside. He also gets a 'mirror-holder' on top of his head. With the mirror he can see the movie and the games he will play. While Froggy is in the scanner, one of Gaab Lab scientists will always be next to him to make sure he feels comfortable. Dr. Monkey will also be watching everything from the other room. He is now ready to go....




Froggy's brain pictures are taken and he meets Dr. Bunny. Dr. Bunny shows Froggy his brain pictures. Wait a minute...do you think Froggy has a brain?




Froggy gets a CD with his brain pictures. He also gets to choose a prize from the treasure box and many more (brainy) things. Froggy also gets a gift certificate for a local book store (What do you think...which book will he choose?)




Froggy and Dr. Monkey are ready to go home now....they had so much fun! Froggy would really like to show you in person how the brain camera works! Because he has been in the brain camera so many times, Froggy would also love to come into the brain camera with you to make you feel more comfortable. When do you come and get your brain pictures taken?



For young scientists

Did you know there is a scientific journal written by kids for kids?
Frontiers for Young Minds was started by Frontiers, an open-access scholarly journal, to get young scientists more involved in the scientific process and make brand-new scientific knowledge available to kids!

Do you want to learn even more about the brain?
Brainfacts.org is a great place to find out more!