You know where your eye color and height came from, but do you wonder where your reading and language abilities come from? How are we shaped by our genes, environment and the complex interplay between them? Our research team at the University of Connecticut is tackling this problem for the first time using the latest, non-invasive neuroscience approaches.  This study helps scientists disentangle genetic, prenatal, and postnatal environmental influences in brain networks underlying cognitive processes. Ultimately, this research will help us understand how we become the way we are.

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to contribute to the scientific understanding of genetic and environmental influences on language development and learn more of the most intriguing mysteries of the human brain!


What are we doing?

We are currently inviting families with children between the ages of 5 & 12 to participate in our program. We hope to disentangle environmental and genetic factors by welcoming families that have used assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, or surrogacy, as well as those who have naturally conceived to participate in our program. You will have the unique opportunity to learn more about how your child’s brain works, while helping us answer important questions about nature versus nurture.

You may be eligible if:

  • If your child is between 5-12 years old (we may ask you to wait until your child is at least 7 years to participate)
  • You, your partner, and your child speak English as a native language

Mother and child

What will I do?

  • Complete a short, 5 minutes survey to determine if your family is eligibility.
  • Fill out questionnaires at home.
  • Spend several hours on the University of Connecticut, Storrs for neuropsychological testing and safe, non-invasive brain imaging (there is no X-ray/radiation or blood draw involved in our study).
  • Saliva collection during neuropsychological testing
  • You will receive:

    • Your family will be reimbursed for your participation
    • Your family will also receive MRI brain pictures and neuropsychological assessment results

    Contact Us:

    You can contact the principal investigator Dr. Roeland Hancock and his research team at or (860)-486-4170

    This project is supported by the Connecticut Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01HD094834. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.