Our Research

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Problem: Disadvantaged parents read to their children much less than advantaged parents

Intervention:

  • Parents (N=169) were given electronic tablets with a large digital library that recorded parents reading to their child.
  • Treatment included goal-setting, reminders, feedback on goal achievement, and social reward.

Results:

  • The behavioral intervention doubled the time that parents read to their children over a 6-week period.
  • Almost all the benefit was to the most present-oriented parents.

For more information please see the links below:

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Problem: Chronic absenteeism is endemic in Head Start. 36% of Chicago Head Start children miss more than 10% of school days a month of preschool per year.

Intervention:

  • 18-weeks of behaviorally-informed text messages to parents (reminders, feedback, loss aversion and planning prompts)
  • Implementation at 9 Head Start preschools with 780 families.

Results:

  • Behavioral intervention reduced chronic absenteeism in preschool by 7 to 11%.
  • Modestly reduced overall absenteeism

For more information please see links below:

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Problem: Low income adults are more likely to experience stress, which can interfere with cognitive function.  Does a relaxation exercise improve cognitive function?

Intervention:

  • Participants include 118 low income and 115 higher income adults.
  • Several treatment arms to test combinations of non-financial stressors and relaxation exercises. 
  • Stress measured by heart rate variability.

Results:

  • No difference in physiological or perceived stress between low and higher income participants.
  • Relaxation exercises increases executive function of poor but not non-poor participants and reduced their perceived stress.
  • Perceived stress was a better predictor than physiological stress of executive function.

For more information please see link below:

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Problem: Disadvantaged children arrive at school behind in math skills and they hardly catch up to more advantaged students.

Intervention:

  • 12-week intervention to test ways to increase parental engagement in children’s math learning and children’s math scores + some spillovers (N=1500 at 20+ preschools)
  • Treatment arms:
    • Math apps on an electronic tablet
    • MKit with growth mindset messaging
    • MKit with time preference messaging
    • MKit - no messaging

For more information please see link below: