Undergraduate Research Opportunities

PSY 39000 (Research Experience in Psychology)

PSY 39000 is a course that allows you to work as a research assistant on projects managed by a faculty member or graduate student in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Through this course, you’ll gain hands-on experience in data collection and learn skills such as data analysis, data interpretation and writing. The course will also allow you to develop contacts for job references and letters of recommendation as well as enhance the competitiveness of your application for graduate school, professional school or a variety of careers.

Faculty Accepting Undergraduate Students — Spring 2023

Christopher Agnew – Social

Agnew Lab: Virtual Reality and Relationships

Faculty member

Christopher Agnew

Description of research

We conduct research on interpersonal relationships and are particularly
focusing on relationship processes that take place in virtual reality (VR).

Description of undergraduate participation

Research assistants perform a variety of tasks, including collecting data in
our VR lab. You will be trained how to conduct research involving participants
who interact with one another within VR. We also design new VR studies
together as a lab team. Lab team meetings take place weekly, either in
person or via Horizon Workrooms in VR, with lab team members using lab-supplied Meta Quest headsets to attend. Team members also assist with
relationship experiments and surveys not focused on VR.

Research setting

All work is completed in the Psychological Sciences building or in virtual
space. Research assistants spend most of their hours working in the lab.

Number of assistants needed

We are recruiting up to 4 new undergraduate students to join our lab in
Spring 2023. Research assistants are expected to work an average of 6 to
9 hours per week throughout the semester.

How to apply

Send (1) your CV/resume, (2) unofficial Purdue transcript, and (3)
statement of research interests and reasons for applying, as email
attachments to Dr. Agnew at agnew@purdue.edu. Minimum 3.0 overall
GPA required. Interviews for positions will take place virtually in November
2022.

Ximena Arriaga – Social

Arriaga Relationships and Close Connections Lab (ARCC)

Faculty Member

Ximena Arriaga

Description of research

This lab pursues research on romantic involvements. Current research projects examine: (1) the conditions that affect feeling secure in relationships, and (2) understanding and undoing the effects of psychological aggression in relationships.

Description of undergraduate participation

Research assistants participate in lab discussions of published research and relevant topics. Tasks also include data management and providing observational ratings of couple interactions.

Lab meetings will be held on Fridays, 2:30 – 3:20pm. Attendance is required.

Research setting

Lab meetings will be held in person and, on occasion, virtually via zoom. Assigned tasks can be completed on campus or from a remote location.

Contact Information

For more information contact Dr. Arriaga for an application, Arriaga@purdue.edu.

Additional Information

Students who are interested in learning about research are encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to rising sophomores and juniors who have excellent social skills and a strong academic record.

Jennifer Brown – Clinical

Brown Research Lab

Website

Faculty Member

Jennifer Brown

Description of research

Work conducted in our clinical health psychology lab is focused on addressing
substance use, HIV, and reproductive health disparities both domestically and globally.

Current research seeks to:

  • Develop and evaluate culturally-tailored interventions to prevent HIV/AIDS; improve reproductive health and substance use outcomes; and address the intersection between substance use and infectious diseases.
  • Implement evidence-based interventions in community settings to improve HIV, reproductive health, and substance use outcomes.
  • Understand cultural facets of mental health, substance use, reproductive health, and infectious disease disparities.
Description of undergraduate participation

Students will be involved in all phases of research, including conducting literature
reviews, designing studies, working with research participants, analyzing data, and
preparing presentations and publications of study results. Students will also participate in regularly scheduled lab meetings and discussions of readings on relevant clinical health psychology topics.

Research setting

Dr. Brown’s lab is located on the first floor in the Psychology Building.

Number of assistants needed

Three undergraduate RAs are needed. If you are interested in joining our laboratory, please contact Dr. Brown at jenniferbrown@purdue.edu to apply.

Nathan Cheek – Social

Faculty Member

Nathan Cheek

Description of research

Research in Dr. Cheek’s social psychology lab includes work on decision making, prejudice, and stereotyping. We have a particular interest in issues related to poverty, as well as work that has applications related to social issues, injustice, and public policy.

Example Topics of Research

  • stereotypes about different groups (e.g., people in poverty, people who experience violence, people convicted of felonies)
  • how people think about their choices in different contexts (e.g., when they have restricted options vs. many options, why they make choices publicly vs. privately)
  • how people feel about public policies (e.g., policies aimed at alleviating poverty, policies related to sexual harassment).
Research setting

Most work will take place in the lab, though it may be possible for some work to be completed remotely. Specific tasks will vary based on lab needs, as well as research assistant experience and interests.

Number of assistants needed

We are looking to recruit 2-6 research assistants for Spring 2023.

How to Apply

Contact Dr. Nate Cheek at nncheek@purdue.edu to express interest and receive an application. Please also feel free to contact Dr. Cheek with questions.

Yu-Chin Chiu – Cognitive/Neuroscience

Cognitive Neuroscience of Cognitive Control Lab

Faculty Member

Yu-Chin Chiu

Description of research

Cognitive control is a psychological construct that refers to a collection of processes that allow us to orchestrate thought and action according to our goals. For instance, we are able switch from one task to another by implementing cognitive control over task sets. While cognitive control is crucial to our
everyday behavior, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Our lab conducts behavioral and neuroimaging experiments that try to specify the neurocognitive architecture of cognitive control and how it interacts with perception, learning, and memory.

Description of undergraduate participation

Students (3 credit hours) will

(1) assist with running experiments in the lab (behavioral, fMRI, or EEG experiments) for 6-8 hrs weekly
(2) participate in the lab’s journal club (1hr weekly) to learn about the cognitive control literature and present at least 1 paper during a semester

Research setting

Our lab is located on the 3rd floor of the Psychology Building (PSYC).

Number of assistants needed

2-4 students are needed

How to Apply

Please submit the following materials under the subject line “PSY390 [Spring 2023]” to yuchinchiu@purdue.edu:

  • Transcript, CV
  • What do you expect to learn from this experience?

Bridgette Kelleher – Clinical/Neuroscience

Kelleher Lab

Website

Primary Contact

Wei Siong Neo (preferred name: “Wei Siong”)
Graduate Student, Clinical Psychological Sciences

Description of Kelleher Lab

Dr. Kelleher’s lab conducts research on the early development of children with neurodevelopmental disorders to identify early markers of risk and resilience in clinical populations. Kelleher lab methods include clinical assessments, behavioral observations, psychophysiological measures (e.g., heart activity and brain waves), wearable sensors, and ecological momentary assessments. Information about Dr. Kelleher’s broader research interests are available at https://kelleherlab.weebly.com.

Description of Research Team

Students recruited into this position will be primarily involved in processing/analyzing behavioral and psychophysiological data collected in Dr. Kelleher’s Parent-Administered Neurodevelopmental Assessment (PANDABox) and Infant Development Study (IDS) projects. PANDABox is a novel telehealth-based assessment where research staff collaborate with caregivers to remotely assess and monitor behaviors and biological metrics during the early development of children with rare genetic conditions (e.g., Angelman, Down, and Fragile X syndromes) and typically developing children. IDS is a longitudinal study aimed at understanding how infants and their families grow and change during early childhood. This position will provide opportunities to learn about typical and atypical development as well as direct experience in core research skills. Some of these skills include analyses of child and caregiver behaviors (e.g., visual and social attention, child vocalizations, and adult responsivity) and processing of physiological data (e.g., heart rate). These projects are especially relevant for students who are interested in pursuing research/clinical careers that focus on pediatric populations, gaining exposure to multi-method approaches that inform our understanding of early child development, and/or exploring telehealth technologies and how they may enhance access to underserved communities.

Our lab family includes a large, diverse team of staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. We typically involve over 20 undergraduate students in research activities each semester across a variety of project teams.

Description of Undergraduate Participation

Undergraduate participation may involve a combination of the following: 

  1. Data management
  2. Behavioral observation coding
  3. Physiological data processing
  4. Professional development activities
  5. Independent or team-based research projects and presentations

All students involved in the Kelleher lab complete a combination of lab-focused research tasks (~60% of time), professional development (~15%), and a research poster that is typically completed in teams (~25%; if students do not elect to do a poster, this time is spent on research tasks). Students who join the lab in the spring frequently wait to join a poster team until the following fall.

Research Setting

For this position, all research tasks will be completed in person in Dr. Kelleher’s lab, which is located at Lyles-Porter Hall. The option to complete some tasks remotely will be based on the amount of research credits registered.

2 credits = 6 hours (up to 1 hour might be completed remotely)
3 credits = 9 hours (up to 2 hours might be completed remotely)

Number of Assistants Needed

3+

To Apply
  • Complete our lab application at https://kelleherlab.weebly.com/future-team-members.html. Here, you can also view sample syllabi from past PSY 390 courses.
  • Email your application to Wei Siong Neo at wneo@purdue.edu.
  • Indicate you are interested in the Behavioral/Psychophysiological Data Team within your email and application.
  • Wei Siong will provide additional information about virtual interviews.
Additional Comments

Due to the advanced training involved with joining the lab, a 2-semester commitment is required. Preference will be given to students who plan to remain in the lab for 3+ semesters. Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to apply.

Our lab is an inclusive space for students with a variety of research/academic backgrounds, including students with limited prior exposure to the research process. We provide substantial mentorship to support students in developing skills over time. Mentorship includes both peer-to-peer supports, engagement with graduate students and staff, and group and individual meetings with Dr. Kelleher.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our lab’s mission and values. We are committed to providing a welcoming, inclusive, and valuing environment to all students, faculty, staff, and guests, consistent with Purdue’s Nondiscrimination Policy Statement. All are welcome at our lab table, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran.  Moreover, we fully believe that working in an environment that includes and centers diverse perspectives benefits us all as scientists, practitioners, and humans.

Teri Kirby – Social

Faculty member and other supervisors

Teri Kirby, PhD, Assistant Professor—Social Psychology
Casey McMahon, Lab Coordinator
Junming Zhang, Graduate Researcher

Description of research area

Research in Dr. Kirby’s lab explores a range of topics related to diversity,
inclusion, identity, prejudice, and discrimination. We most often focus on
racial/ethnic, gender/sex, and LGBTQ+ diversity.

Recent topics of investigation include:

  • Diversity ideologies: ideas about how to accommodate differences
    across ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation categories (e.g.,
    multicultural and colorblind approaches to diversity)
  • Diversity initiatives: intersectional approaches to diversity initiatives, how diversity initiatives shape sensitivity to discrimination, self-concept, stereotyping, and academic/workplace outcomes
  • The co-opting of diversity by majority/privileged groups
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Intersectionality and feminism
Description of undergraduate participation

Research assistants typically gain experience running participants in
experimental lab studies, recruiting research participants, programming
surveys, collecting survey data, entering or analyzing data, reviewing relevant
psychological literature, and helping to design studies. They also gain
experience with software that can be useful for graduate school (e.g., Qualtrics,
Zotero, SPSS, R and RStudio).

Research assistants attend research group meetings to discuss projects in the
lab and learn more about the research process. Finally, more senior research
assistants may have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects
and mentor/train more junior assistants.

Research setting

Labs in Psychology Building

Number of assistants needed

1-4

Contact information

Please submit your application online.
For questions, please contact Casey McMahon: cemcmaho@purdue.edu

Additional comments
  • Must have completed PSY 120
  • Completion of or enrollment in PSY 240 and PSY 203 preferred
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher preferred
  • Minimum commitment of 3 credits per term (9 hours per week) required, as well as two terms overall (those committing to three or more terms receive preference)

However, all interested candidates are encouraged to apply. We especially
encourage people from underrepresented or marginalized groups to apply.

Franki Kung – Industrial-Organizational

Research Team

Principal Investigator: Franki Kung, Assistant Professor, I-O Psychology
Graduate Investigators: Sharon Li, Rick Yang, and Dante Bruno
Lab Manager and Researcher: Carmen Huang

Description of Research Area 

At the Conflict and Mindset Collaboratory, we conduct research to help people and organizations effectively manage:

  • Culture and Diversity (e.g., diversity policies, cultural mindset, immigrants)
  • Conflict Resolution (e.g., negotiation, feedback effectiveness)
  • Multiple Goals (e.g., self-regulation, goal conflicts)
Description of Undergraduate Participation

We design the lab experience to prepare our undergraduate research assistants for graduate school and jobs in the fields of I-O and social psychology, management, human resource, and organizational behavior. Students will join a community of peers, researchers, and mentors passionate about the studies of diversity, conflict, and goals. Besides individual project team meetings and tasks, students attend lab meeting weekly to learn and discuss related issues and enjoy other social events throughout the semester (e.g., lunch, escape room, mini golf).

Junior research assistants will have the opportunities to

  • learn how to conduct online surveys, literature reviews, behavioral experiments, and qualitative analysis (e.g., picture coding, focus group analysis)
  • develop scientific thinking and presentation skills in weekly lab meetings
  • attend research and professional development workshops (e.g., literature review, survey design, data analysis)
  • honors contract or scholarly project

Senior research assistants (typically 1+ year experience) will have the opportunities to

  • manage participant recruitment and lab schedule
  • conduct training sessions
  • develop their own research ideas and design studies
  • present findings in academic conferences

We support and encourage student involvement in our lab through scholarship programs such as Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, OUR Scholars, and Summer Stay Scholars.

Research Setting

Our research takes part mostly in our lab space (in the Psychological Sciences building) and some part of the work can be carried out remotely (e.g., from home).

Number of Assistants Needed:

5+

Contact Information

To Apply, please fill out this form and supply related documents.

Contact Dr. Kung at frankikung@purdue.edu if you have questions. Twitter: @ConflictMindset

Additional Comments

Preference is given to students who major or are interested in Psychology, Business, or related fields. Application is reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the semester – if you are interested, apply now!

Thekla Morgenroth – Social

Faculty member or graduate student

Dr. Thekla Morgenroth (they/them/their), Assistant Professor—Social Psychology
Kira Means (she/her), graduate student – Social Psychology
Casey McMahon (she/her), lab manager – Social Psychology

Description of research area

Research in the UNICORN (UNderstanding Identity and the COntinuance of Roles and Norms) lab examines how and why people defend and maintain social categories and hierarchies.

Topics of investigation include:

Stereotypes of different groups (e.g., based on gender/sex, sexual orientation, and social class)

  • Opposition to policies that benefit marginalized groups (e.g., trans and non-binary people)
  • The psychology of different feminist ideologies
  • Gender and Sexuality
Description of undergraduate participation

The lab experience is designed to provide students with hands-on experience with the research process.

Research assistants have the opportunity to:

  • Conduct research using a variety of research designs and methods
  • Gain experience in software used for research (e.g., Qualtrics, SPSS)
  • Engage with and code open-response data
  • Read and analyze published academic articles
  • Be active participants in weekly lab meetings and discussions about research
  • More experienced research assistants also have opportunities to:
  • Engage in independent research projects, mentored by Dr. Morgenroth
  • Present their results to the lab
  • Train and mentor incoming undergraduate research assistants
Research setting

Work will be carried out in a joint lab space in person at specific times (depending on your schedule).

Number of assistants needed

1-2

To apply

Please fill out this survey by October 23rd. You will hear back within 1-2 weeks of this deadline.

Additional comments

Members of underrepresented or marginalized groups are particularly encouraged to apply. In addition, individuals interested in pursuing careers in academic research and/or who may be interested in working in the lab for more than one semester are particularly encouraged to apply. Students should be able to commit at least 6 hours/week (2 credits).

Robert Proctor – Cognitive

Faculty member or graduate student

Robert W. Proctor

Description of research area 

We conduct research on basic attention and performance and applied human factors.  Much of the research focuses on factors that determine how fast and accurately a person can decide what action they are to take in response to a stimulus event.  Applications relate to interface design, training, and decision-making in applied contexts. We also conduct usability studies of statistical power analysis software.

Description of undergraduate participation

The primary responsibility for most of the undergraduate research assistants is to help in collecting data.  You typically will work on several different experiments during the semester.  For each experiment, you will be instructed about how to conduct the study and will be responsible for testing participants.  We will explain to you what we are doing and why for the various experiments, so that you learn the reasoning behind the research being conducted.

For other research assistants, the participation will involve helping to conduct usability studies. This may involve data collection, but it will also involve assisting in organizing and coding data, including verbal answers provided by participants to open-ended survey and interview questions. You will learn the process by which such data are coded and analyzed.

Research setting

Most of the experiments are conducted in my laboratory, 3113 PSYC.

Number of assistants needed

6 students

Contact information

Robert Proctor
E-mail: rproctor@purdue.edu
Phone: 494 0784
Office: 3150 PSYC

Additional comments

I prefer students who have had or are taking PSY 201 and 203, and either PSY 200 or PSY/IE 577.

Thomas Redick – Cognitive

Purdue Applied Cognition Lab

Faculty member

Thomas Redick

Application

Susan South – Clinical

Faculty member

Susan C. South, Ph.D.
Professor Clinical area

Description of research area 

Research interests are romantic relationships, personality, and psychopathology. Particularly interested in the transactions between relationships (e.g., marital functioning) and individual differences in functioning. Continuing research in the lab will examine: 1) the associations between personality traits, clinical disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), and relationship functioning; 2) the structure of personality traits and symptoms of mental illness.

Description of undergraduate participation

Your responsibilities (and the skills you will acquire in the lab) will include:

  • Testing subjects, collecting, and scoring data
  • Reading and presenting on research articles
  • Creating and collecting materials
  • Programming experiments
  • Performing data analyses (using Microsoft Excel and SPSS)
  • Literature searches in databases
Research setting

Laboratory in the psychology department

Number of assistants needed

4

Contact information

Jessica Dupree (graduate student) dupreej@purdue.edu

Additional comments

Must have completed PSY 120, completion of PSY 350 is preferred.

Registering and Earning Credit for PSY 39000

Registration for PSY 39000 is done during open registration using Scheduling Assistant — not during pre-registration using the course request form. Although PSY 39000 may be taken more than once, no more than six credits may be taken for a standard grade. All additional PSY 39000 credits must be taken as pass/no pass credit. Only three credits of standard-grade PSY 39000 can be used in the psychological sciences major, the brain and behavior science major, or the psychological sciences minor.

During the 16-week fall or spring semester, you are expected to work three hours in the lab for every credit earned (e.g., three credits would require nine lab hours per week). After the fourth week of the fall or spring semester, you may not register for three credit hours of PSY 39000 without special permission from the Department of Psychological Sciences. Late enrollment in PSY 390 during any semester reduces the number of possible credit hours you can earn.

During the eight-week summer session, you are expected to work in the lab six hours per week for every credit earned (e.g., three credits would require 18 lab hours per week).

Additional Local Opportunities

Other Opportunities

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest undergraduate research opportunities.