The ErfurtLab is happy to open its doors to young researchers and experimenters. At the same place where social scientists seek to understand human thinking and behavior, children have the opportunity to play with experimental methods. Under the motto "research with and for children", we regularly organize workshops for children of different ages that introduce experimental research, scientific method, and psychological topics to children in a fun and age-appropriate manner. At the same time, the young researchers have the opportunity to participate in real psychological studies – a playful way to support scientific research!
Together with students from the BA Teaching, Learning and Training Psychology and MA Psychology programs, we have developed numerous workshop concepts and implemented them as part of the Erfurt Kinder-Uni. Our two "classics" are briefly presented below.
Workshop "Experiment and Discover – How does our world work? Experiments with Children"
How do researchers learn about our world with the help of experiments?
- We learn something new about the world that interests us. We want to find out how it works.
- We think about how it might work – we make up a theory.
- We do an experiment to test our theory: does it really work like we thought it does?
- We observed the world in our experiment: was our theory right – does it explain the world?
That is the general principle of the experimental, psychological research that we conduct in our laboratory. With short example experiments, we introduce this concept to children in a fun and age-appropriate manner. To do so, we bring phenomena from the natural sciences into our lab that are not typically a focus of our research interests – these phenomena are easier for children to observe and understand. Still, the general principles of experimentation are the same as used in our psychological research. In our lab we don’t observe rice, water, rubber ducks, and corks but rather human emotions, thoughts, and behavior.
This workshop is designed for preschool and primary school children ages 5 to 9 years. We adjust the focus and difficulty of the workshop to fit the age of the visiting children. Whereas younger children are given more room to try things out on their own, we encourage older children to learn the logic behind experimentation including comparisons of experimental groups.
Workshop "Feeling, Thinking, Acting – What makes people work? Experiments in Psychology"
How do psychologists use experiments to learn something new about people?
- We think about how people behave in certain situations.
- We think about why they do that – we make up a theory.
- We do an experiment to test our theory: does it really work the way we thought?
- We observe people’s behavior in our experiment: was our theory right – does it explain people’s behavior?
That is the general principle of the experimental, psychological research that we conduct in our laboratory. With short example experiments, we introduce this concept to children in a fun and age-appropriate manner.
Together we test theories about people’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior. The children take on the role of the experimenter and the participant. We take them through the entire experiment process: planning and preparing the experiment, conducting the experiment with real participants, and examining and interpreting the results. In this way, children learn about how experiments help up learn more about people.
The workshop is appropriate for 9- to 13-year-old school children.
The research lab at a glance
Do you want to learn more about our laboratory? You can find a video here (in German) about a preschool group visiting one of our workshops.
Phone: +49 361 737-2222