Study Overview

Is your Child moody, easily frustrated or prone to temper tantrums?

The Brains in Growth-Emotions Study (the BIG-Emotions Study) is a collaboration between the TEND Lab at San Diego State University and Dr. Lea Dougherty’s Lab at the University of Maryland. In this study, we aim to understand emotions in young children and how they relate to the brain using fMRI, parent-child interaction tasks, and neuropsychological assessments, including traditional questionnaires and iPad “games.”  Additionally, participants will return for a follow-up two years after the initial visit. This will allow us to understand how emotions and the brain change over time. To inquire about this study, please call (619) 784-5543 or email

BIG-Emotions Study Logo with a light blue monster hugging a brain-shaped cloud and text reading "BIG Emotions"
Visit timeline for participants addressing that at the initial MRI scan, there are parent interviews, 2 lab visits, and questionnaires, at 6, 12, and 18-month follow-ups there are questionnaires, and at the final MRI scan there are parent interviews, 2 lab visits, and questionnaires again, represented with little brains and phone devices