We like to play fun games with kids!
As part of our data collection process, we travel to schools in Belfast to play games with children between the ages of 6-10 years old. One week before we travel to a primary school for data collection, envelopes containing parental consent forms, an information sheet about the study and a parental background questionnaire are sent home with each child. Parents are asked to read the information sheet and complete and return the consent form and questionnaire. As a small token of the researchers appreciation and as an incentive to return the forms, parents who return their forms in time will be entered into a lottery to win one of ten £25 Amazon vouchers!
One week later, the experimenter comes into the child’s classroom and speaks to the class as a whole. The experimenter reveals that they are forming a super special team of kids and some of the members of the class have been selected to become part of this team. Following this, children with parental consent are then invited to individually play a set of games with a trained researcher for about 25 minutes. These sessions are fun and interactive for the child and previous pilot study research has revealed that children generally enjoy these sessions!
During this session, children complete tasks assessing their perspective taking ability, empathetic ability, intergroup empathetic attitudes, outgroup attitudes, ingroup social identity and prosocial behaviour. These tasks employ fun, child friendly measures, which ensure that the child knows how to complete the task and feels comfortable taking part.
Following the completion of the tasks, the participant is given a full and immediate debrief. They are told that in reality, no such special team exists and that it was merely an imaginary concept created by the experimenters. The child is thanked for taking part in the study and they are allowed to select a prize from the ‘prize bag’. As an additional token of the experimenters’ appreciation, they are awarded an ‘honorary child scientist’ certificate from the school of Psychology at Queens University Belfast. Following this, the child is given the opportunity to ask the experimenter any questions they may have pertaining to the study. If they have no further questions, they are escorted back to class.