Research Participation

Who are we looking for?

If you live in the Greater Waltham/Boston, Mass. area and are a healthy adult over the age of 65, you may be interested in participating in our research.

What are we investigating?

Although we are all taught not to "judge a book by its cover," the fact is that people do make inferences about each other based on their facial appearance.  We have been studying this process in young adults for over two decades, and we are now investigating how and why it may change across the life span.

What is involved?

Most studies involve giving your first impression of people based on pictures of their faces. Our studies do not involve taking medications, nor will we ask you to do anything that will be painful or harmful.

If you are interested in volunteering, the first step is to give us a call here at the lab (781-736-3294). When you call, we ask you to complete a brief telephone survey. It usually takes less than 5 minutes. The first part of the survey covers your education and other background information. The second part is a brief health survey. This is also a good time to ask us any questions that you might have about volunteering to participate in one of our studies. Completing this survey does not in any way oblige you to participate in our research.

If you express an interest in participating, we usually will call you back in a few weeks or so to schedule a time that is convenient for you to come in. However, depending upon the number of research projects going on in our lab, the time could vary from a week or two to a several months. When we call you, we will let you know what the current study involves and how long it takes (usually one or two hours.) If the study interests you, we schedule a time that is convenient for you. Our research does not require you to keep coming back for weeks or months. However, you may have the opportunity to participate in another study in our lab if you are interested.

Why volunteer?

You will have an opportunity to learn about why people tend to judge others by their appearance, and why we think this might change with age.  Your participation will also make a valuable contribution to science. In addition, you will be compensated for your time.

What if I don't have much free time?

The telephone survey only takes about 5 minutes, and the tasks that you complete when you come into the lab take between one and two hours. If we call and you don't have any free time right then, we can call back at another time that is convenient for you. After you volunteer that one time, that's all there is to it. Many people are reluctant to volunteer because they think that it might take up too much time. Here you can choose how much or how little time you would like to volunteer. If you only have two hours of your time to give us, that's terrific. If you have more, that's great too. If you are interested in volunteering again you can let us know and we will call you the next time a project starts up and we need volunteers.