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Families in Indianapolis can join a research study using virtual reality technology and brain scans to help doctors and scientists develop new ways to help kids with behavior disorders.

Help IU Researchers Develop New Tools to Address Problem Behaviors

three boys fighting

Does your child act out? We need your help!

Virtual reality may be the entertainment toy of the future, but for scientists at Indiana University School of Medicine, it may just be the next tool for psychiatric care. But we can’t do it alone. The IU School of Medicine Media and Brain Development Lab is conducting an exciting study with families in the Indianapolis area. The research uses virtual reality technology and brain scans to help doctors and scientists develop new ways to help kids with behavior disorders.

In our lab, we need parent allies to assist in our research. Parents often struggle with managing their child’s behavior, so finding new options to help families, clinicians, and educators is very important. With your help, we hope to identify new avenues for addressing problem behaviors in pre-teen children. This is also a paid opportunity: you and your child would be compensated for any procedures you complete as part of the study.

Who can help?

We are looking for children ages 9-12 with a disruptive behavior disorder, such as oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. These kids demonstrate difficulty with authority figures, physical or verbal confrontations, antisocial behavior, and emotional outbursts. We will conduct interviews to see if your child fits this description. Children completing the full study will use a virtual reality headset and receive brain scans as part of their participation.

a young child wears a virtual reality headset and a surgical mask

The study involves both remote and in-person visits. For in-person visits, we have enhanced safety procedures in place to protect everyone’s health. Masks will be provided for you to be worn in the facility, social distancing guidelines will be followed, and in some areas, protective barriers will be placed where face-to-face conversations occur. All rooms and equipment are thoroughly cleaned before and after each visit. 

If you are interested, or want more information, please contact the research team.

Study Details

Contact information:
Email –
Phone – 317-274-8670

Who: Girls and boys aged 9-12 with a disruptive behavior disorder

Eligibility: We will see if you and your child qualify with phone and remote video interviews.

What: 1-5 study visits (up to 3 in-person visits). Visits involve surveys, a clinical interview, brain scans, and use of virtual reality headset.

Location: Study visits are conducted both remotely and at the IU Health Neuroscience Center

Compensation: Up to $350 for families. Parking voucher is provided at every visit.

Safety Measures: We follow all guidelines put in place by the IU School of Medicine and IU Health, including screening questions asked to you and the research team, masks worn by all research staff and participants, social distancing guidelines followed, and thorough cleaning of all rooms and equipment before each use.

Learn more about the study and contact the research team.

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Tom Hummer, PhD

Tom Hummer, PhD, and the IU School of Medicine Media and Brain Development Lab use neuropsychological, behavioral, and neuroimaging tools to examine how different forms of digital media use impact brain structure and function, particularly during childhood and adolescence.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.