May Update: Participants Around the Bend

Since finishing finals a few weeks ago, I have been spending some time at home in Massachusetts with friends and family. After a busy semester, it has been nice to take some time to relax, but I am feeling ready to return to Williamsburg and get started on my research. While I’ve been doing a bit of preparatory work at home, I will officially start my ten weeks of summer research this coming Monday, June 4th. Throughout the course of this past year, I did a substantial amount of work in preparation for my data collection this summer. I have all of my consent forms and questionnaires prepared, a detailed protocol to follow, participant screening questionnaires and email templates, and flyers to recruit participants (an example is shown below). I also have the bulk of my supplies already in the lab, so I should be ready to start scheduling participants for sessions as soon as I come back. It is my hope to run 80 participants (children ages three to six years and their parents) by the end of my summer work in August. This will hopefully set me up well to analyze my data and write my thesis over the course of the academic year.

Picky Eating Studies Flyer

I am looking forward to beginning to run participants because conducting study sessions has been one of my favorite parts of psychology research thus far. I have worked in Dr. Forestell’s Child Development and Eating Behavior Lab as an undergraduate research assistant since the beginning of my sophomore year, and during this time, I have run participants for many different studies. Some of these studies were with college students, but the studies that I have enjoyed most to help out with have been with young children. I look forward to working with these young children and their families, and though I anticipate there may be some difficulties with compliance among the picky eaters, I think it will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Partly to promote compliance among the picky eaters, we have chosen to focus our attention on odor rather than taste. Studying this variable will allow us to gather data on hesitancy to try and facial expressions even if the child refuses to taste the food. Odor is also an understudied area in the picky eating literature, so this research will shed light on its relative importance for children’s vegetable acceptance.

Since my study has many elements, it is my hope to touch on each aspect, its supporting evidence in the literature, and how I’ve incorporated it into my study in the blog posts to come. Some things to look forward to learning about: picky eating in children (age range, problems with fruit and vegetable consumption, health issues, etc.); its relationship to children’s sensory sensitivity, including sensitivity to texture, odor, and color; and implications of child temperament.


  1. cgfarling says:

    Sounds like you have a lot of the preparatory work well out of the way and are ready to hit the ground running, Elizabeth! I can imagine it being both fun and challenging to work with young children. I also think that using odor as the main variable in your experiment is more interesting than just focusing on taste. I look forward to reading more about why children have problems with accepting vegetables and how your study can hopefully shed light on how to combat these issues.

Speak Your Mind