Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of your research?

Our goal is to create a registry to engage the public and increase participation in cognitive neuroscience research studies. This registry will help researchers recruit participants for individual studies on cognitive functions like learning, memory, perception, attention and language in children and adults. These studies teach us how the brain works and provide crucial information that may allow researchers to develop novel therapies for brain and mental disorders, as well as more sensitive tests so disorders can be identified and treated sooner. 

Who can participate in your study?

BrainsCAN researchers strive to understand the brain – in health and disease – across the lifespan. Individual studies have different inclusion and exclusion criteria, including different age groups and people who may have neurological conditions as well as healthy controls. With your permission, we use the information you provide us when you sign up to match you to a suitable study and you are also welcome to check with individual studies to see if you are eligible.

How often will I be contacted?

We will not contact you more often than once every 6 weeks. If you have a specific preference, you can also let us know during sign-up or at a later time. Your preference can also be changed at any time by contacting OurBrainsCAN coordinators.

Can I participate in more than one study?

At different time, you can participate in as many studies as you are interested in. Once enrolled in one study, we will make a note that you are currently participating in a study so you are not contacted during that time. Some studies may have some restrictions about simultaneous participation and that is something you can ask the study personnel. However, there are many studies that do not restrict your participation.

Do I need to be in London?

Most studies will occur in London, Ontario although there may be a few online studies that you will be able to participate in remotely. Many studies will take place at the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building (WIRB), Western University. Studies involving Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) will usually take place at the Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping (CFMM) at Western. Some studies may involve other locations around the city.

Is there parking?

There is free parking available at the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building (WIRB) to participate in a research study. When you make your appointment, please let the study personnel know that you will need a parking spot so that arrangements can be made. Parking in other locations (e.g. Elborn College) may also be available, please ask the researcher when invited to participate in a specific study.

Do I find out about my specific results?

It is important that these are research studies and not clinical evaluations. Research is usually analyzed and reported in groups, thus individual results may not be available. We will try our best to disseminate information about the findings of studies through OurBrainsCAN. Research summaries describing the findings from these research projects are also posted on BrainsCAN's website.  

What is MRI?

Some studies utilize Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or functional MRI (fMRI). MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio-frequency waves to create high-resolution images with exquisite soft tissue contrast in a noninvasive, nondestructive, and three-dimensional (3D) manner. fMRI looks at the activity of blood flow and blood oxygen levels that result from brain activity. This technique is used to observe, in a non-invasive fashion, changes in the brain’s blood flow to various kinds of stimulation (e.g. visual stimulation, auditory stimulation). When a specific part of the brain is engaged by some type of stimulation, it will require increased blood flow, which appears, in our data, as red/yellow ‘blobs’.

How do children take part in an MRI study?

Watch this video to learn how children participate in an MRI study: 

What is EEG?

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a technique that uses sensors placed on the scalp to measure brain activity and has been used in hospitals for many more years than MRI. The sensors are usually kept together through a special cap that is placed on your head. Some caps require a small amount of a special gel in the sensors, while some others only require water with a little bit of salt and shampoo.

Do I get paid for participating in studies?

In appreciation for your time, studies usually provide some compensation. Details for each study will be shared when you are invited to participate and the study is explained to you.

How do I update my contact information?

To update your contact information or your preferences (e.g. frequency of invitations), you can contact our coordinator by phone or email:

Dr. Laura Gonzalez, Community Research Coordinator
Phone: 519-661-2111 x88297

Can I be removed from the registry if I change my mind?

Absolutely! You are free at any time to have your information permanently and securely removed. Please contact one of the coordinators and we will remove you from the OurBrainsCAN directory.



Are research studies accepting in-person participants during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As of September 7, visitors may take part in in-person research studies if they:

  • provide proof of vaccination prior to visiting campus (documented by Western)
  • are free of COVID-19 symptoms
  • adhere to campus guidelines for physical distancing
  • wear a three-layer, non-surgical mask for the duration of the visit (supplied by Western)


Throughout the pandemic, Western has taken measures to provide a safe working and learning environment. Effective September 7, 2021, all students, employees and visitors to Western must provide proof of vaccination. Only those with a medical or Ontario Human Rights Code exemption are able to visit Western without a vaccination.

Participants who are exempted from vaccination must provide evidence of this exemption status, as well as two negative COVID-19 rapid antigen tests. These tests must take place one week prior to visiting campus and are required to be separated by a minimum of 72 hours. If the participate plans to return to campus for multiple visits, the tests will be required for each week the participate is on campus. COVID-19 tests are available in Western’s Graphic Services Building

Learn more about Western’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.


What is Western doing to keep study participants safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Western has continued to keep research areas safe for study participants.

As part of Western’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, all members of our community – including students, staff and faculty – are required to demonstrate proof of vaccination. Western also requires Western students, staff and faculty to fill out a daily COVID health questionnaire.

Cleaning and hand washing is maintained in all research areas, and physical distancing (2 metres) is observed where possible. Western researchers must continue to wear a three-layer non-medical mask while indoors and hand sanitizer is available for visitors and researchers throughout the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building and Robarts Research Institute. Disinfectant cleaners are also used in all research areas.

Washrooms are open to research participants – enhanced cleaning and limited occupancy has been implemented in Western's communal washrooms.

We are committed to the health and safety of the campus community, including those who visit Western for studies or other activities. If you have any questions about our COVID-19 safety protocols, please email



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