Hello and welcome to The Looney Toons Project.

In case you are new to our project let me start by telling you a little bit about our research. This project is part of an ESRC funded PhD studentship, examining the dynamics of children’s attention in response to media presented on digital devices. We are interested in how aspects of the content (i.e., editing techniques such as pace) and different types of interaction (i.e., video viewing, educational games) may influence the allocation of attention and a child’s ability to comprehend and learn from the content.

The project involves lab-based studies where we use state of the art technologies such as eye-tracking and EEG to measure how children deploy their attention in response to different types of content. While also working with a children’s media platform , to examine how attention and learning may be influenced by different types of content during ‘real-world’ app use.

In this pack you should find all the information you need to take part in our new online study. On the next page you will find an information sheet with full details about the study and what it involves. You will then find instructions for how to access the task through the online experiment site gorilla.sc. If anything is not clear or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on the email address below.

Thank you for offering to help with our new study. We hope you and your little person(s) enjoy taking part.

Best Wishes,
Claire Essex

The Looney Toons Online Study

Before you decide to take part in this study, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take the time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. A member of the research team can be contacted if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Take time to decide whether or not you wish to take part.

Taking part in research remotely

We are currently living through a highly uncertain time and we would like to acknowledge that conducting research with children and their families remotely during this time may present some challenges. We are aware that some of you may be under acute strain, coping with caring obligations, or dealing with your own health. We are extremely grateful that you would like to take part in our research, and we wanted to let you know there is no time limit on taking part. So, if it feels too much to take part now there will be further opportunities to do so at a later date. The remote nature of this study means we are not as immediately available to assist you with any concerns you may have, but our contact details are listed below should you need us.

What is the purpose of this study?

This research project looks at what children are able to learn and understand from screen-based media, and how beneficial educational apps may be for early development. The purpose of this online study is to pilot a new task we have been developing. We hope this pilot study will enable us to make the task accessible to children in a broad age range (approx. 12 months to 6 years).

Who is this study intended for?

This study is to be completed by children aged 1-6 years with English as their main language. Bi-lingual children may take part so long as they are able to follow the instructions delivered in English or have parents who will be able to help instruct their children. Please note that all instructions pertaining to the access and completion of this study will be provided in English only.

What will happen if you decide to take part?

In this study, your child will complete a Working Memory task online through an online experiment website (Gorilla.sc). During the task your child will be shown how to find a figure hiding behind one of two doors. They will then need to hold this information in mind over a delay period in order to find the figure at its next hiding position. During these delays children will be shown brief child friendly animations or a screen with a coloured box. The activity should last no more than 10 minutes.

What do I need to take part?

To complete this study your child will need an internet enabled device. The activity has been designed for tablets (i.e., iPad or android tablet), however if you do not have a tablet device it can also be completed on a computer or on a smartphone. We recommend using a google based web browser app (i.e., Chrome or Google) to complete the study.

N.B For very young children it may be difficult for them to accurately press the required buttons on a smartphone due to the smaller screen size. Similarly, it is unlikely that very young children will be able to control the cursor on a computer with a mouse/trackpad.

When and where should this study be completed?

Ideally, this study should be completed at a time in the day when your child is most alert, and not immediately after screen time (TV/iPad/etc.). For example, this could be after their nap for younger children. If possible, the study should be done in a quiet room where your child will not be distracted by siblings or other noises. We recommend completing the study sat at a table so that the device being used can be held steady.

What will happen to the results of this project?

The results of this project will be used for publications and disseminated at conferences and written up for a PhD dissertation. The online experiment site (Gorilla.sc) assigns you a unique participant ID, removing all identifying information. This means experimental data will be not be stored with names or personal information. The anonymised data is then exported from the website for analysis purposes and will be held in our facilities indefinitely.

What are the benefits of taking part?

By taking part you are helping us to understand how new advances in technology may be transforming the way future generations see the world! We do not foresee any disadvantages or risks associated with taking part in this study. Other considerations:

The study is aimed at children in a wide age range from 1-6 years. As a result, some children may find it challenging while some might not. Please don’t worry if your child does find it challenging. The main objective of this pilot study is to establish how performance differs across the age range. This will allow us to develop the task further.

N.B. This task is part of a research project and is not used as a diagnostic or clinical tool. The results will not be looked at in terms of individual differences in performance on the task between participants but rather we are interested in the overall averages.

Who has approved this study?

The project has received ethical approval from the Department of Psychological Sciences Research Ethics Committee of Birkbeck, University of London. If you have concerns about this study, please contact the School’s Ethics Officer at: ethics@psychology.bbk.ac.uk. You also have the right to submit a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office https://ico.org.uk/s

Who to contact for further information?

Primary investigator contact details: Dr Tim Smith tj.smith@bbk.ac.uk
Co-applicant contact details: Claire Essex cessex01@mail.bbk.ac.uk

How to access online studies through Gorilla

Before you get started: Please ensure that the volume on your device is turned up and that your device is in landscape mode.

Step 1

Please use the following link in order to access the online task:
Access Online Task

Step 2

After clicking on the provided link to the study, you will first have to log in. When the screen prompts for you to type in your participant ID, you should use your e-mail address to login.

Step 3

After logging in to the study, there will be a short information sheet detailing the study you and your child are about to complete.

Step 4

The final step before beginning the study is to consent to taking part in the study. You may also opt in or out of having your e-mail being put on record so you may be contacted about future studies.

How to complete the study:

Step 1

After giving your consent, the study will begin. The first thing your child will be asked to do is input their age using response buttons. If your child is too young to input their own age, you may help them with this step.

Step 2

A short instructional video will then be played which will demonstrate how the activity will work and what your child will be expected to do.

Step 3

The task will begin once the instruction video has finished. There will be 22 trials in total and it should take approximately 8 minutes to complete.

Step 4

At the end of the trials, there will be a short questionnaire to fill out about you and your child’s experience of completing an online study.

There is no time restriction set on the trials, so your child may take their time when completing the task. The study as a whole should last approximately 10 minutes. Your child will only need to make one response on each trial.

Do you have a question?

You can email Claire on cessex01@mail.bbk.ac.uk