Research Learning Center

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The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will be closed on February 17.

The Research and Learning Center will also close for Engineers Week on February 25. Join us when we reopen on March 3!


March 3

10 AM to 1 PM

Parent-child relationships: What can we learn from an Etch A Sketch?

Parents and children alike know that, when working on a frustrating task, cooperation can be hard! Factors that lead to family cooperation are unknown.

For this study, parents and children will play together on an etch-a-sketch. The parent will hold one knob and the child will hold the other knob, to create a basic picture. Parent feedback on the experience will help researchers to examine behaviors that promote greater understanding of parent-child relationships.

This study will help us learn more about the ways that parents and children respond to challenging situations. We hope to further the scientific understanding of factors that can lead to positive parent-child relationships. 

This study is a collaboration between the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the UNT Contextual Psychology group of UNT in Denton, Texas (https://psychology.unt.edu/dr-amy-murrell/unt-contextual-psychology-group).


1 to 4 PM

Can a chair give you a hug?

Many people are aware that swaddling a baby can calm him down, but do you know why? Research has shown that items that provide deep tactile input, or firm pressure to the skin, are calming to individuals of all ages. This is because deep tactile input activates the parasympathetic nervous system, or the part of the nervous system that helps us to calm down and focus. Weighted blankets provide deep tactile input, have been well-researched, and are commonly used by individuals with autism and anxiety. However, other items that provide deep tactile input have not been as well studied.

 This study will test a child’s ability to remember a string of numbers and problem solve while seated in either a normal chair or a specially designed chair. The specially designed chair has a seat made with a special kind of stretchy fabric called Lycra. This seat allows children to swing back and forth, but it also provides deep tactile input. When a child sits in the chair, it stretches with her weight, and puts pressure on her skin. In short, the chair gives her a hug!

We hypothesize that this chair will help children with and without special needs to improve their focus, memory, and problem solving skills. Findings from the study may provide a more effective and cheaper solution for students who are stressed or anxious, leading to improved work and focus for children of all abilities.

This study is a collaboration between Tori Brennan, tori.brennan@tcu.edu, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

One big problem with robots is that they crush things. This is not just in the “crushing all human civilization” sense, though. They literally crush things that they pick up, because they are metallic and hard. Also, they are not so good at knowing when to stop squeezing.

Fun Fact
Every year, the Museum provides almost 200,000 hours of science and social studies education for Texas students.

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