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UVA Family Fun Day, a Time to Thank Experiment Participants - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Family Fun Day, a Time to Thank Experiment Participants

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The University of Virginia's Child Development Laboratories is giving back to families. Saturday marks the fourth annual Family Fun Day, a time for researchers to thank those who participate in experiments.

In preparation for its Family Fun Day, researchers at UVA's Child Development Labs say volunteers are key to making their research possible.

Angeline Lillard, a professor of psychology at UVA said, "It is so crucial to what we do, which is to try to develop a better science of child development, so we have a clearer understanding of how children develop and why they develop in the ways that we do."

She says on average, between four and 10 families come in each day. That consistent rotation has helped researchers produce nationally recognized studies, including last year's work showing the impact cartoons have on children.

"We found that after they had been watching really fast paced and fantastical shows like "Sponge Bob Square Pants", their executive function was significantly reduced," explained Lillard.

In another experiment, a mother and daughter help researchers determine if kids can remember people they have interacted with via Skype once they meet them in person.

Sarah Woodson, a mom participating in the study, said, "It's really interesting to see the kids and the theories that they have and [see] everything come together."

Lillard said, "Generations to come studying developmental psychology will be reading those studies that those children come to participate in."

The Family Fun Day is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Millmont Street facility. Click here to learn more.

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