Psychology > Affiliations > Growing Minds Lab

The Growing Minds Lab

Are you a Queens-based family interested in helping research on memory development?

As children grow they continuously learn about the world around them. How are meaningful memories of everyday experience built in a child’s brain? What aspects of an event do they remember and which ones do they forget? How does their knowledge about the world affect the memories they form? You and your child can help answer these questions.

In every new discovery that we make, we depend upon children and families who support our work by participating in our studies. Your involvement could provide us with valuable insight and can also be a fun, educational opportunity for you and your child.


Take Part in our It’s Movie Time Study

We invite children ages 5 and older to participate in a research study that uses non-invasive EEG measures to track children’s brain activity while they are watching and recalling movie clips.

Most neuroscience studies on memory and the brain ask children to retain single words or single pictures of objects. But this is not how memories are formed in real life. Real world events consist of an ongoing stream of experiences that happen across seconds, minutes, hours, or days. Studies that bridge the gap between laboratory-measured and real-life memory function are rare but needed in developmental brain research. Therefore, we use more realistic material—movie clips—in this study.


Growing Minds Lab

We are a group of cognitive neuroscientists at Queens College, headed by Dr. Kerstin Unger. We are devoted to studying the brain mechanism underlying memory formation in typically developing children.

Remembering begins with understanding. If children experience events that they do not fully understand, they are less likely to recall them correctly. Proper memory function is critical for future academic and professional success and supports the formation of a positive sense of self. By learning more about memory development across the lifespan, we aim to contribute to the healthy growth of our children.


Meet our Research Team

Kerstin Unger obtained her PhD in Psychology from Saarland University, Germany. Before joining Queens College as Assistant Professor, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University. Her favorite movie is In the Mood for Love.

Melanie Kacin graduated with a BA in Neuroscience from The College of Wooster. She is a doctoral student in clinical neuropsychology at Queens College. Her favorite movie is Charade.

Jabez Quarshie graduated with an MA in Neuroscience from Queens College. His favorite movie is A Silent Voice.

Renida Kasa and Amadea Sulka are Queens College neuroscience majors. Their favorite movies are The Dark Knight and The Notebook.


What to Expect in This Study

You and your child will participate in two in-person testing sessions in our laboratory at Queens College. Parents are near to their child at all times during the visit. Your child will be watching movie clips while we are recording their brain waves (electroencephalogram, EEG). In an additional online session, we will administer standardized tests of cognitive abilities. Note that this is not a clinical assessment.  The results are therefore not to be used for diagnostic purposes. Each session will last 1-2 hours. We offer monetary compensation of up to $100 and a toy gift for your child.


About EEG

EEG is a non-invasive, non-painful, and safe method to detect naturally occurring electrical activity brain. The brain is active all the time, and brain cells communicate through electrical impulses. EEG uses small metal sensors that are attached to a cap to pick up these impulses. Using an EEG to measure brain activity can help us to learn about the way children experience the world around them and form memories.  Click HERE to learn more about EEG technology and how it is used in brain  research.


Get involved

Are you a parent and would like to learn more about our study? Please use this FORM to contact us or email us directly at