Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Department of Psychological Sciences

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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 2024

Faculty member and other supervisors

Teri Kirby, PhD, Assistant Professor – Social Psychology
Austin Zeng, 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


Contact information

Please submit your application at: https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9tzVkWICaZbikMC

For questions, please contact Austin Zeng: zeng297@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)
  • Minimum commitment of 3 credits per term (9 hours per week) required, as well as two terms overall (or 2 credits for 3 terms). 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.

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:


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!

Faculty member

Hongmi Lee (she/her), Assistant Professor, Cognitive Psychology

Description of Research Area 

In the Lee Memory and Cognition Lab, we investigate how the human brain remembers complex real-world events. Our research is focused on understanding the characteristics of narrated memory recall for experiences resembling real-life situations (e.g., free web browsing) and the brain mechanisms that support the storage and recall of those experiences. We utilize a combination of behavioral experiments and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Description of Undergraduate Participation

As undergraduate research assistants, you will work closely with other lab members, contributing to a range of tasks essential for our fMRI and behavioral experiments. These tasks primarily include participant recruitment, preparation, and testing, as well as data coding, organization, and basic analysis. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to attend lab meetings and other lab-related events. If you express interest and demonstrate the required skills, you may also have the chance to develop your independent research project.

Research Setting

Most of the research activity will take place in our lab space and testing rooms on the 2nd floor of Peirce Hall. fMRI experiments will be conducted at the Purdue Life Science MRI Facility on campus.

Number of Assistants Needed:

1 – 3 students

Contact Information

Hongmi Lee / Lee Memory and Cognition Lab

E-mail: LeeMemoryAndCognitionLab@gmail.com

Phone: N/A Office: 3160 PSYC

Additional Comments

To apply, please send an email to LeeMemoryAndCognitionLab@gmail.com with the following materials:

  • A very brief statement (no longer than one page) describing 1) who you are, 2) why you are interested in joining our lab, 3) your prior research experience and technical skills (e.g., computer programming), and 4) your weekly availability 
  • A CV or resume, if available
  • An unofficial transcript

Although we prefer students with relevant skills and/or who intend to be involved over a longer period, all interested students are encouraged to apply. Students from underrepresented or marginalized groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Faculty member or graduate student

Dr. Thekla Morgenroth (they/them/their), Assistant Professor—Social Psychology

Kira Means (she/her), graduate student – Social Psycholog

Yanzhe (Austin) Zeng (he/him), 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


To apply

Please fill out the following 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).

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).

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