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Child and adolescent study

The mascot Dylan the red dragon sat on top of the bed of the MRI scanner wearing headphones
Dylan the dragon wears his headphones ready for an MRI scan at CUBRIC.

Our research is allowing us to study the developing brain using the most advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approaches available. This pioneering work is providing insights into typical brain changes across childhood and adolescence, and the links to cognitive function and behaviour.

If your child is between the ages of 8-18 and is interested in getting involved in the study, please read the important information below, which includes details on how to take part.

The MRI scan

MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which uses a magnet to take clear pictures of the inside of the head or body. Unlike an X-ray or CT scan, an MRI scan involves no ionizing radiation – it is a safe, painless and non-invasive test.

The MRI scanner is shaped like a big doughnut with a bed in the middle. The bed moves into the scanner so that we can take detailed pictures of the brain. Children are given headphones to block out the noise from the scanner and watch a film of their choice during the scan.

A researcher will be in contact with your child during the scan, and children can tell us anytime if they would like to come out of the scanner.

Your child needs to lie very still while the pictures are being taken so we can get a clear image of the brain.

As an MRI scanner is a big magnet, anyone with non-removable metal in their body will not be able to take part. For example, if your child has braces, they will be unable to participate.

Practice MRI session

Before the MRI session, all children will do a practice or 'mock' MRI scan. This will give your child a chance to become comfortable with the environment and ask any questions about the scan.


Scanning sessions will take place at Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) on Maindy Road. The scan takes about 45 minutes, but the whole visit will be approximately two hours.

See our full address and a map to the Centre

After the appointment

Your child will get a special certificate as a huge thank you for taking part in our study, as well as an Amazon voucher for spending their time with us.

Volunteer to take part

If you would like to express your interest in taking part, please email with the following information:

  • name of parent
  • name of child
  • child’s gender
  • child's date of birth
  • contact number
  • home address.

We will arrange a call with you to discuss the study in more detail and check your child’s eligibility.


Data protection privacy notice

Cardiff University will process the personal data you provide to us in accordance with data protection regulations. In submitting your details, you consent to the University processing your personal data in order to send you information, in accordance with the preferences you have indicated above. You may withdraw this consent at any time by contacting the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre.

Visit our public information pages to learn more about our Data Protection Policy, your rights, and raising a concern about how your personal data is processed. Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted directly at Concerns can also be raised with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).