Information on Participating in ResearchHello!
Thank you for your interest in the MIT Aging, Memory, and Cognition Project. On this page you will find all the information that you will need to volunteer for participation in our research studies. All of our studies are designed to help shed light on cognitive function across the life span and to extend knowledge about age-related brain changes. There are two different kinds of tasks for which we would welcome your participation, and information on both is provided below. Please note that none of these studies is invasive or involve the use of drugs, and most involve only a single session.
BEHAVIORAL STUDIESOpportunities are available to participate in behavioral studies, involving paper-and-pencil tests and tasks on computers (no computer experience is necessary to participate). The behavioral studies take place on the MIT Campus in Kendall Square. Our lab is easily accessible by public transportation, but we will provide free parking should you choose to drive here. Volunteers will be paid at an hourly rate for their participation.
Volunteers for behavioral studies must meet the following criteria to be eligible: you must be between either eighteen and thirty-five (18-35) years of age, or between forty and eighty-five (40-85) years of age. In addition, you must be a native speaker of English, have normal or corrected-to-normal hearing and vision, have no history of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, no untreated high blood pressure, and must not be taking any mood-altering drugs.
fMRI STUDIESVolunteers may also participate in studies that use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to allow researchers to measure the participant's brain activity while various cognitive tasks are performed. The MRI studies take place at Massachusetts General Hospital's NMR Center in Charlestown. Free parking is provided, and the NMR Center is also accessible by a free shuttle service departing from from MGH and North Station. Alternatively, we can escort you by taxi from our building at MIT, which is easily accessible by public transportation.
Our fMRI studies involve approximately 2 hours of scanning, plus an additional 30 minutes before and after the scans for preparation and post-experiment debriefing. During the first half-hour in the scanner you will simply lie still while we take structural images; during the remainder of the time you will perform simple cognitive tasks (e.g., looking at pictures and words on a screen). We will pay you $25/hour for the MRI, and will also give you an image of your brain.
The major screening criteria to be able to participate in fMRI studies are as follows: you must be between eighteen and thirty-five (18-35) or forty to eighty-five (40-85) years of age, right-handed, a native speaker of English, have NO METAL IN YOUR BODY (some fillings are okay), and are NOT CLAUSTROPHOBIC. In addition, you must not have a history of head trauma or a medical condition that might interfere with breathing (e.g., asthma). Furthermore, you must have no history of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, no untreated high blood pressure, or be taking any mood-altering drugs.
The fMRI study requires that you will be able to lie still during the entire scan, and to help you do this, we place foam cushions around your head and use pads to keep your head immobile. Note also that when you are in the scanner, you are lying on your back, in a relatively narrow space, so if you are very broad shouldered, or of a large build, then this is likely to be uncomfortable for you.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATEIf you think that you might be interested in becoming involved in our research studies, please fill out and submit the volunteer questionnaire. No information will be stored anywhere on the website; all of your responses will be kept confidential, securely sent to a password-protected computer accessible only to the researchers involved in this project. Still, if you would prefer to fill out the volunteer questionnaire on paper, in an e-mail, or over the phone, please contact me, and we can arrange that.
REFUSAL OR WITHDRAWAL OF PARTICIPATIONParticipation in this study is voluntary. You do not have to participate in this study. Your present or future care will not be affected should you choose not to participate. If you decide to participate, you can change your mind and drop out of the study at any time without affecting your present or future care in the Hospitals. In addition, the doctor in charge of this study may decide to end your participation in this study at any time after he/she has explained the reasons for doing so and has helped arrange for your continued care by your own doctor, if needed.
Aging, Memory, and Cognition Project
Deptartment of Brain & Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology