MindCORE Pop-Up Labs

MindCORE Pop-Up Labs are temporary research sites in public spaces such as museums, libraries, and festivals. Penn scientists conduct research in these observable areas and engage community members in discussions about science and how it relates to daily life. Community members not only learn about new ideas and what it’s like being a scientist, but they experience the scientific process by participating in the research themselves.

MindCORE Pop-Up Labs are designed around the National Living Laboratory model originally founded in the Museum of Science in Boston.

Current Pop-Up Labs

MindCORE and the Academy of Natural Sciences have partnered to offer two psychology and developmental science-focused Pop-Up Labs every weekend, Summer 2019 in the museum’s kid-friendly “Outside In” room.

Below, learn more about the questions our scientists (from the Language Development & Language Processing Lab and the Brannon Lab) are asking at the museum!


How do children decide to name things?

What makes a dog “a dog” and a cat “a cat”? When a child hears a parent say “Oh, look! A dog!” for the first time, should the child decide that the word “dog” means dog, animal, Dalmatian, or something else? Children learn to figure out what “truly matters” through language as they navigate the world. How do children decide what a word means? What information do they use to make that decision?

How does a child's age and personality affect how they decide to spend time gathering resources?

Many animals, including humans, make decisions about how to spend their time gathering resources. For example, a bird foraging has to decide whether to continue to look for berries in the current bush or move on to find another bush for foraging. In this study, we use a computer task looking at individual differences in foraging choices in children. The goal: study how children make these decisions and how differences in their strategies might be related to other personality traits.