Welcome to the Baby Lab Wiki
CIMeC’s Baby Lab facility provides optimal conditions for designing and performing a wide variety of behavioural and electrophysiological studies on infants within the first two years of life. For this purpose, the Baby Lab hosts a behavioural set up and an EEG setup specifically designed for welcoming very young infants with their parents/carers in a comfortable and reassuring context, and at the same time for providing researchers all the state-of-the-art hardware and software tools to optimally perform their studies. CIMeC’s Baby Lab is part of CIMeC’s Experimental Psychology Lab, but since developmental studies require infant-specific procedures, resources and technical support, we wrote a specific Wiki site for the Baby Lab. This Baby Lab Wiki is dedicated to guide Baby Lab users through all the available resources, and to provide all the necessary training to optimally and correctly use them. The aim is to train researchers to autonomously run their studies by properly using all the resources while assuring to the participants and their carers the maximum comfort during their visit. The Baby Lab Wiki also includes the administrative procedure necessary for accessing and using the lab, and standard and in-house software tools to analyse the developmental data.
The Baby Lab includes: • 1 waiting room, specifically designed for the comfort of infants and their carers. • 1 behavioural room equipped with two monitors for visual presentation, a comfortable chair for holding the infant (by their carer or an experimenter), a camera for monitoring the infant’s behaviour and a heavy curtain to isolate the infant from external visual and auditory interferences; outside the curtained behavioural box, a recording location is set up with a desktop PC for camera recording and stimulus presentation. • 1 EEG/NIRS room equipped with a monitor for stimulus presentation, a BrainAmp DC (https://www.brainproducts.com/) EEG system with 64-channels R-Net EEG caps (https://brainvision.com/products/rnet-eeg-net/), specifically adapted to infants because the contact between the electrodes and the scalp consists in soft sponges immersed in saline solution (NOTE: the EEG system will be available soon, for future EEG studies ask the Lab Manager); a 16-channels Imagent NIRS system (ISS Champaign USA) (NOTE: the NIRS system is currently not functional. For projects involving the NIRS ask the lab manager). • 1 bathroom with changing table. • A divulgation web site dedicated to parents for subject recruitment. Research activities at the Baby Lab are supported by qualified personnel providing the following services: • Management and maintenance of the lab equipment; • Support and training on the use of the equipment; • Support on administrative procedures, experimental design and methods for performing research studies; • Support and training on data acquisition and analysis.
Baby Lab staff
Baby Lab staff include: • Lab Manager: Marco Buiatti (email@example.com, Tel. +39 0464 808178) • Scientific Advisor: Eugenio Parise (firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +39 0464 808660) Contacts: For any queries concerning the Baby Lab, write to: email@example.com or call +39 0464 808307 The staff is available from Monday to Friday, 9.00-17.00. The Baby Lab is located in the basement of Palazzo Fedrigotti, Corso Bettini 31, 38068 Rovereto (TN). Access Rules The access to the Baby Lab is regulated by a series of rules concerning the administrative procedures to start a new study, training courses for working in security and appropriately use the facility resources. Researchers planning to do a study at the Baby Lab are therefore required to carefully read CIMeC’s general access rules (document in preparation) and the Access Rules of the Baby lab (document in Italian, English version coming soon). In brief, according to these rules, any Facility user has to: • Consult the Facility personnel for a preliminary feasibility assessment of the research project, in terms of safety and use of both instrumental and human resources; this must be done during the project definition phase, before starting the accreditation procedure. • Obtain the approval of the research project by the Ethics Committee of the University of Trento. For tips and templates relative to the Baby Lab, ask the lab manager. • Complete the accreditation procedure, using the online application called "Project System". • Complete the "Health and Safety in the Workplace" training courses organised by the University of Trento; the level of training required depends on the type of activity to be carried out in the laboratory. • Access to the Baby Lab and its equipment is subject to possession of the necessary skills, depending on the methodology used in the research (behavioural or EEG/NIRS). The Baby Lab guarantees training at two levels of expertise. • Due to the special population involved in the studies, researchers are required to assume an ethically appropriate, attentive and reassuring approach towards both infants and their carers. • Users are only allowed to access the Facility resources that are strictly necessary for carrying out the experimental activities. • It is necessary to book the Facility resources in advance. For bookings, the CIMeC Online Booking System is active at the following link: https://apps.cimec.unitn.it/cis/calendar.php. • The booking system also permits to quantify the resources utilization and to charge the related costs. • Data collected in the Baby Lab must be managed and protected following GDPR rules. Practical indications are provided in the Access Rules of the Baby lab.
EEG study design and data analysis resources
Analyzing infant EEG data is a challenging task, especially in the case of visual stimulation, because of two main factors: 1) Due to infants’ limited attentional span, the data segments during which infants effectively attend to the stimuli are very short; 2) Since infants are almost unconstrained, the most frequent artifacts are caused by a variety of movements (head, arms, frowning, sucking) which generate non-stereotyped artifacts that constantly vary in topography and temporal dynamics. Because of these factors, artifact removal for infant EEG data is an arbitrary and time-consuming task and EEG data analysis is generally more challenging compared to adult data.
For this purpose, the Baby Lab provides important resources for its users: • For designing your study in such a way to obtain reliable EEG responses within the limited span of infant attention, you may ask advice both to the lab manager and the scientific advisor. • For efficient, semi-automatic EEG artefact removal, check out NEAR, our new pipeline, available in the form of an EEGLAB plugin. • For EEG data analysis relative to both ERP and frequency-tagging designs, both at the sensor and source level, contact the lab manager for EEGLAB-based pipelines of analysis.