What We Do

We study how children remember, forget, and tell about things in their lives. Our research is used to help adults—such as doctors, lawyers, social workers, and other helping professionals—talk to children about things they’ve experienced. Families who participate in our studies visit the lab and children play fun and educational activities and are later asked about what they did. Using this basic procedure, we learn about children’s memory and we make recommendations about how adults should talk to children when they need to know what children remember.

Much of our research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). We are grateful to have the support of NSF and we  appreciate your interest in our work! This important publicly funded research would not be possible without the help of Montclair area families.


Who We Are

Jason J. Dickinson, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, Professor
dickinsonj@montclair.edu; 973-655-5448

Jason is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Robert D. McCormick Center for Child Advocacy and Policy. He earned his Ph.D. in legal psychology from Florida International University. His research on children's testimony with Dr. Debra Poole (Central Michigan University) has been funded by several grants from the National Science Foundation. He regularly consults with the legal and child protection communities to help bring research findings to the forefront of child protection efforts. As Director of the McCormick Center, he oversaw the formation of MSU's new Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy and the development of the Masters of Social Work program.

Whitney Dartnell, M.A.
Lab Manager, Graduate Research Assistant
dartnellw1@montclair.edu; 973-655-7698

Whitney is a Ph.D. candidate in Montclair State’s clinical psychology program with a concentration in child and adolescent psychology. Whitney completed her master’s degree at MSU in clinical psychology in 2016. Prior to that, she completed her undergraduate coursework in psychology with a minor in neuroscience from Wilkes University. Whitney has experience administering, scoring, and generating reports from standardized neurodiagnostic test data, as well as utilizing neuromodulation therapies to treat populations ranging from pediatric through geriatric. She has worked with individuals with a variety of psychiatric, behavioral, and cognitive disorders.

Nicole E. Lytle, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor

lytlen@montclair.edu; 973-655-5448

Nicole is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and Child Advocacy at Montclair State University. She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Toledo. Nicole is interested in cognitive development and the implications for professionals who work with children. Her research examines the usefulness of different techniques for talking with children about their experiences. She teaches courses on child development and interviewing children. Her work on children's testimony and their use of symbols to communicate personally experienced events has been published in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law and the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.


Contact Us

The Talking Lab
Center for Clinical Services
Montclair State University
147 Clove Road, Little Falls, NJ 07424
Email: talkinglab@montclair.edu

Lab Office 1 (CCS 1435) 973-655-3616
Lab Office 2 (CCS 1437) 973-655-5448
Lab Fax #: 973-655-3801

Interested in Future Studies?

Follow the link below to share your contact information and complete a confidential family questionnaire. We'll contact you about future studies your child may be eligible for.

Click here to share your contact information

For Students

An important part of the Lab's mission is to train students in how to conduct research. If you are interested in becoming a research assistant (RA), click on the link below to complete the application.

Talking Lab RA application