Contact the Department

Director of Undergraduate Studies:

Richard Carlson

For information on
The Undergraduate Program
please contact
(814) 863-1811


Undergraduate Office
Department of Psychology 
125 Moore Building 
The Pennsylvania State University 
University Park, PA 16802-3106

Liberal Arts Values Statement

Liberal Arts Honor Code

You are here: Home / Undergraduate / Engaged Scholarship in Psychology / Research / Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

Please note that this is not a complete list; you may also want to review the list of Faculty Research Interests and contact faculty whose interests correspond with yours. 

NOTE: These ads are for undergraduate research assistants; compensation is research experience credit or work-study pay based on a financial aid award. These positions are not available to graduate students seeking stipend support.

You can either scroll through the entire list, or click below to go directly to the area in which you are most interested:

Non-department opportunities

Back to top

(good experience, elective (not PSYCH) credit available) 



Back to top

Dr. Sandra Azar 


Description of Research: Dr. Sandra T. Azar’s research lab studies a variety of issues including inter-personal violence, at-risk child and adolescent populations, and parenting processes. Previous projects from the Azar lab have examined dating violence, child abuse, and peer aggression. Current studies in the lab focus on resilience to divorce, adolescent to parent violence, and maternal mental retardation and neglect. The diversity of projects in the lab allows for a wide range of experiences for undergraduate research assistants. Undergraduate assistants may be trained to score standardized behavioral rating scales, enter data, conduct literature searches, and gain experience with statistical software. Exceptional students may participate in home visits with study participants. In addition, weekly lab meetings provide a forum to discuss theory and clinical applications of the research, to address any questions that arise from work in the lab, and provide career guidance.

Method of Compensation: Undergraduate assistants may receive course credit (Psy 494) for 10 hours per week of work. To obtain course credit, students are required to complete readings, to attend lab meetings and to write a paper. Students who qualify for Work-Study are encouraged to apply, as you may be able to earn money working in our lab. Honors options for Senior Thesis research projects may be available after 2 semesters of participation and satisfactory performance in the lab.

Requirements/Qualifications: Due to the intensive training involved, we require at least a 2 semester commitment and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students find the extended commitment provides them with an opportunity to become involved in the work team as well as to get advice about jobs and graduate school, while having a substantive experience in a research lab. Preference is given to Sophomores or Juniors with interests in pursuing either graduate training in mental health or careers related to children.

Please note we can currently accommodate about 2-4 more enthusiastic and responsible undergraduates.

Contact Information: Please contact Dr. Azar ( for more details and to schedule an interview.


Dr. Louis Castonguay, Ph.D.  (last update 2-13-18)

Contact information:
; online application form at

****We are currently recruiting for the Spring 2018 semester***

Description of ResearchDr. Castonguay's primary research interest concerns the process and outcome of different forms of psychotherapy. He studies the nature and impact of the therapist's interventions, client's experience, and the therapeutic relationship. He has also been involved in the development and investigation of integrative therapies (combining cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, interpersonal, and psychodynamic procedures) for depression and generalized anxiety disorder. He is also involved in the development of Practice Research Networks, which are designed to foster researcher and clinician collaboration in conducting naturalistic studies in psychotherapy and related fields of research. 

Requirements/Qualifications: Looking for students who are bright, highly motivated, and responsible, interested in pursuing doctoral-level studies, and can juggle multiple projects. Students should have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and be able to commit approximately 10 hours of work per week during the semester. We are also interested in people that are available to work over the summer.

Method of Compensation: Research assistants will receive Independent Study credits. Generally, one hour of credit is given for every three hours of work per week, although actual hours worked may vary. There are opportunities for work study IF you are eligible. Advanced students may have the opportunity to be involved in writing of journal articles and presentations for conferences. Research assistants will also gain valuable research skills and the potential for letters of recommendation to aid in graduate school applications. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in preparation for doctoral studies in clinical psychology or related areas. 


If you would like to apply: You may fill out an online application form on our website -- Here, you will also find more information about ongoing research projects. If we have open positions and we feel you are a good fit for the lab, we will be in touch soon. Thank you!

Pamela Cole 


We have opportunities in all projects in the Cole Emotion Regulation lab.  In each study we try to understand the early development of emotional competence and mental health risk and the role of parents in their children’s development. If you are interested in a project (described below), please contact Shana Ramsook at  You can find our applications and more information on line at 

Who are we?

  • A team—devoted to understanding how young children develop the ability to perceive and manage emotions
  • A team—we are a team of faculty, post-doctoral scholars, graduate students, full time research staff, & undergraduate research assistants
  • A team—and a place to learn about research with children, to gain research skills, & receive support for planning for work and/or graduate school after college

What are we doing?

Processing of the Emotional Environment Project (PEEP II) is currently recruiting 7- and 8-year-old children and their families.  PEEP II uses a number of innovative methods, including functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to:

  • examine how children process affective prosody (non-semantic features of speech that convey emotion)
  • examine if neural activation differs when children hear unfamiliar and familiar emotional voices
  • examine relations between children’s everyday emotional environment and their neural processing

Undergraduate Research Assistants on this project are trained to assist in recruitment efforts, collecting data from young school age children, obtaining assent to participate from children, administering standardized tests, preparing children for a neuroimaging visit, and processing collected data

The Development of Self-Regulation Dynamics is collecting data from children between the ages of 2 ½ to 5 years and from their parents.  This innovative methods in this study are its generation of data that can be used to understand self-regulation as a process of change and not a static, trait.  We:

  • investigate how very young children handle feeling apprehensive or frustrated
  • examine how children shift from relying on their parents to handle those feelings and become more self-reliant

Undergraduate Research Assistants on this project are trained to assist in recruitment efforts, collecting data from very young children and their parents, administering and recording standardized observational procedures, and processing collected data, including learning to code emotion

The Development of Toddlers Study (D.O.T.S.) has finished data collection and now focuses on what we can learn from the data.  This work examines:

  • characteristics of very young children and their parenting that contribute to the development of emotion regulation by kindergarten age, e.g., child language, child temperament, and parents’ use of emotion talk, of conversations, and of structuring child self-regulation

Undergraduate Research Assistants on this project are trained to score and code data collected in the lab and at families’ homes.  This includes processing how young children use their language, both when they are coping on their own and when they are interacting with their parents, and how parents talk to their children. 

What’s required of undergraduate RAs? 

  • Minimum of 10 hours a week
  • Minimum of 2 semesters commitment
  • Completion of the PSU required clearances and certifications needed to work with children
  • Reliable and on time attendance at all meetings and family visits
  • A love of children and a deep interest in how they develop and the careers aimed at helping them!

Michael Hallquist 

Developmental Personality Neuroscience (DEPENd) Laboratory  


The DEPENd Lab is looking for two or three undergraduate students to join our team in Fall 2016. A variety of opportunities are available for undergraduate students interested in clinical, neuroscience, and personality research. 

 Description of Research: Our research focuses on the development of neurobehavioral systems underlying personality and individual differences. In particular, we are interested in how the maturation of emotion regulation and behavioral inhibition in adolescence and young adulthood supports self-regulation and social functioning. The human brain changes rapidly in adolescence, potentially facilitating the integration of social information, emotions, and long-term goals. Yet for teens whose emotions are especially reactive and intense, adolescence may be a period of risk for volatile relationships and impulsive behaviors that are harmful.

Our lab seeks to understand personality, brain, and behavioral differences implicated in individuals with intense, unstable emotions and relationships. Methodologically, neuroimaging projects in the lab build on the emerging field of decision neuroscience, which combines computational models of decision-making with model-driven analyses of fMRI data. In this way, specific cognitive or emotional processes can be quantified, and individual differences in their neural correlates can be characterized through trialwise analyses of brain activity and functional connectivity. A current project focuses on the effect of approach and threat cues on real-time decision-making using a computational model of exploratory behavior and emotional bias in teens and young adults with BPD symptoms. We are also starting a new project examining physiological reactivity in teens and young adults with emotion dysregulation during social decision-making tasks.

Method of Compensation: Undergraduate Research Assistants may receive course credit (PSY 294 or 494) for a minimum of 9 hours of lab work per week (3 hours per credit).

Requirements/Qualifications: Preference is given to undergraduate students that are able to commit to working 2 semesters or longer in the lab. A minimum GPA of 3.2 or higher is required. We are eager to recruit highly motivated undergraduate students interested in psychopathology research, neuroscience, and/or statistical methods. Although not required, there are additional opportunities for students with programming experience who would like to contribute to neuroimaging and methodological studies. In particular, experience programming in R, Python, or MATLAB is desirable.

Contact Information: Interested students should contact for more information and to schedule an interview.



Cynthia Huang-Pollock 


Description of Research:  We are currently conducting two research projects.  The first is exploring the neuropsychological and emotional processes related to learning problems in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  The second is studying the cognitive effects of nicotine withdrawal in regular smokers ages 18-45, with and without ADHD.  Research assistants working in the lab will receive training in the use of common statistical programs (such as SPSS) as well as the use and scoring of diagnostic behavior rating scales.  Exceptional undergraduate RAs will have the opportunity to work directly with child and adult participants in administering intellectual, academic achievement, and neuropsychological tests. 

Our weekly lab meetings provide a forum to discuss theory and clinical application of the research, address any questions that arise from work in the lab, and receive career guidance.  This includes applying to graduate schools, formatting vitas, how to write a competitive personal statement, and career options for psychology majors.

Finally, Dr. Huang-Pollock has extensive experience in supervising undergraduate level theses and research projects.  Students graduating in Spring 2017 or later can complete a project for credit.

Method of Compensation:  You can receive 3 credits of PSYCH 294, 493, or 494 for 9 hours of work per week.  You will also be required to attend lab meeting each week (fall and spring semesters only).

Requirements/Qualifications:  We require a minimum GPA of 3.5.  Preference is given to underclassmen with interests in pursuing graduate training in mental health.

Contact Information:   Please click here to complete the online application.  If you have any questions, please contact our Project Coordinator, Marissa Reynolds, at

Kenneth Levy, Ph.D. 

Laboratory for Personality, Psychopathology, and Psychotherapy Research


Description of Research: Developmental psychopathology, attachment theory and research, emotion regulation, personality and personality disorders, and psychotherapy process and outcome research.

Requirements/Qualifications: I am looking for people who are bright, highly motivated, responsible, are seriously interested in pursuing doctoral level studies, and have sufficient time to commit to a project. Students must have a 3.5 GPA and be able to commit to a minimum of at least 9 hours per week during the semester and/or 12-20 hours per week during the summer, for at least two semesters.  Good computer skills and prior office experience are helpful.  In addition, students must be able to attend a weekly lab meeting.  I am particularly interested in freshman and sophomore research assistants, though qualified juniors are also encouraged to apply.

Method of Compensation: Research assistants will receive Research Project (PSY 294 or 494) credits or Work Study opportunities. Generally, one hour of credit is given for every three hours of work per week, although actual hours worked may vary. There are opportunities for work study if you are eligible, and paid positions are possible after a semester of participation. Honors options are available that can become PSY 496 Independent Studies or Senior Thesis Research (PSY 493).

Benefits: Advanced students may have the opportunity to be involved in the writing of journal articles and presentations for conferences. Research assistants will gain valuable research skills, bolster their applications for doctoral level clinical or counseling psychology graduate programs, and have the opportunity to develop their interests within the field. Students will gain knowledge about relationships, attachment theory and assessment, personality disorders, and psychotherapy research from a developmental psychopathology framework.  Research assistants will also gain familiarity with experimental psychopathological methods used in current studies, such as cortisol, neurocognitive, smartphone technology, psychophysiological, and genetics (e.g., telomeres, candidate genes). In addition, research assistants will have the opportunity to conduct clinical interviews and assessments. This is an excellent set of experiences for anyone interested in preparation for doctoral studies in clinical psychology or related fields. Additionally, working on research with a faculty member gives faculty an opportunity to get to know you well enough to write an effective letter of recommendation. Finally, several students from our laboratory have received internal and external laboratory fellowships for school and have received clinical and research experiences beyond Penn State.  A large number of students in thelab have been accepted into prestigious and competitive doctoral programs. 

Contact Info: If you are interested in a position please visit the laboratory website at: to complete the application for prospective undergraduate students listed under the "Apply" section. 

Amy D. Marshall, Ph.D. 

Relationships and Stress Research Lab


Aaron Pincus, Ph.D. 


Contact information:

Aaron Pincus:, 863-1723
Lab Website:

Description of Research: Research conducted in the Personality Psychology Laboratory broadly integrates personality and clinical psychological science. Current work focuses on:

  • Interpersonal processes in personality, psychopathology, psychotherapy
  • Pathological narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Conceptualization, etiology, assessment, and treatment.
  • Classification, assessment, and treatment of personality disorders.
  • Integrating personality structure and personality dynamics.
  • Personality assessment and personality disorders in Chinese culture.

Fall 2018-Spring 2019: We are looking for 3 or 4 new RAs.

Methods of Compensation: Research assistants will receive Research Project (PSY 294/494) credits. Generally, one hour of credit is given for every three hours of work per week, although actual hours worked may vary. Workstudy positions are available for qualified students.

Requirements/Qualifications: Motivated, conscientious, and responsible students in their junior, sophomore, or freshman years (sorry, no seniors) with a minimum GPA of 3.2. Interest in personality preferred. A minimum time commitment of at least 9 hours per week for at least two semesters is required. Students must be able to conduct research sessions in the early evening hours and attend a weekly lab meeting. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in learning more about personality, clinical psychology, and quantitative methods in preparation for graduate school.


José A. Soto 

615 Moore Building


Contact Information: Please send an email to to request an application or for additional information. You may also complete the application here.

Description of Research Project: Members of our lab will study how, why and under what circumstances culture exerts an influence on the emotion system. We will study emotion using various methods including self-report, coding of behavioral data, and collection of psychophysiological data. We will also study different aspects of the emotion system such as emotional reactivity or expressivity, emotion regulation, empathic understanding of other’s emotions, and emotion language. Finally, we will study how the interaction of culture with these processes affects the psychological and physical well being of the individual.

Compensation: Research assistants can work on a volunteer basis or can earn independent research credit (PSY 494). Those eligible for work-study may be paid for their work. Research assistants will also gain valuable research experience for those interested in pursuing graduate school.

Qualifications: We are looking for motivated, detail-oriented undergraduates. Duties may include any or all of the following: attend weekly lab meetings, develop stimulus materials, conduct literature searches, assist with study implementation, train to use psychophysiological equipment, run subjects through psychophysiological protocol, and enter data. Students with computer savvy and a love for technology are especially encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to students who can work 2 consecutive semesters for at least 6 hours/week.

Martha Wadsworth 

Description of Research: The CaRES lab focuses on environmental stress and how children and families adapt to it. We are particularly interested in discovering sources of resiliency in children and their families and using this information to build programs to strengthen children and families who face stress. We focus on coping, self-regulation, and family support in our basic and applied research studies. The lab’s current project, Building a Strong Identity and Coping Skills (BaSICS) is an innovative intervention program for low-income youth which seeks to foster the development of a positive identity through social justice education and strengthen coping skills to buffer against the negative effects of stress.

Responsibilities: Include behavioral video coding, data entry, preparing assessment materials, assisting with data collection, and conducting literature searches.

Requirements/Qualifications: We are looking for highly motivated, detail-oriented, and responsible undergraduate students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who are interested in research experience in clinical psychology. Interested students must be able to commit a minimum of 2 semesters to the lab, 10 hours per week during the semester.  Opportunities for summer are also available. Preference is given to students with interests in pursuing graduate training in mental health or other careers working with children. Spanish speaking ability is also a plus, but not required.

Compensation: Students can receive 3 course credits for 10 hours of work in the lab and attending weekly lab meetings. Volunteers are also welcome.

Contact info: E-mail the Lab Coordinator, Miriam Zegarac, at for information on next steps.


Back to top

Frederick M. Brown 


Description of Research: Daily (circadian) rhythms of our daytime activity and nighttime sleeping affect all our basic behaviors and mental functioning. Some of these highly predictable rhythms are studied in our Human Performance Rhythms Laboratory (347 Moore). We have developed a Basic Language Morningness (BALM) scale that measures the time of day when people like to be active the most. Also, we have just developed a Sleep-Disruption Survey to determine how often, and for how long, people spontaneously wake up during the night, and what they do about it. We also study sleep-deprivation effects on practical issues like vehicle driving performance and working memory and are prepared to measure sleep deprivation using high-density EEG.

Requirements: Sophomore or Junior level with graduate school intentions; must have completed Psych 301 and Stat 200 (or its equivalent), and must be computer literate for data management and analysis. Because of the start-up training time especially for learning high-density EEG, we expect a student to remain in the laboratory for at least two semesters.

Method of Compensation: Although students can earn from 1-6 course credits per semester for Psych 294 or 494, 3 credits maximum is suggested for Psych 294 while training in the laboratory the first semester, and Psych 494 thereafter. The experience is excellent for learning several ways to collect data that measure effects of daily time fluctuations on our behavior. Several of our students have received laboratory externship and fellowship experiences beyond Penn State which have bolstered their applications for graduate and medical programs. Honors options are available that can become Psych 496 Independent Studies or Senior Thesis Research projects.

Rich Carlson 

445 Moore,

Sorry, full for Spring 2018.  Please check back in April for Fall 2018 opportunities

Description of Research: My research is concerned with the role of intentions in cognitive control, cognitive skill, and working memory. Our focus is on the nature of errors in routine skills, and on factors that affect the ability to monitor performance and detect those errors. In the coming year, we will be looking at the causes of rapid forgetting of intentions (as when you go into your kitchen to get  something, and forget why you're there or what you were after), the role of emotional valence in working memory and cognitive control, and the factors that affect the experience of agency and sense of control, as well as developing new projects.  Students assist in collecting data and in designing and planning experiments, and participate in a weekly lab meeting.

Requirements: No prior experience necessary; I'm happy to hear from curious and responsible students with interests in any area of psychology. I am looking for dependable assistants interested in learning about psychological research.  Students are expected to commit 8-10 hours per week, including a one-hour lab meeting (for Fall 2016, this meeting will be 9-10 a.m. on Monday mornings).

Method of Compensation: Either PSYCH 494 credit or work-study positions are possible.

Contact information: Please email me,, to set up a meeting.

Nancy Dennis 

Description of Research: The Cognitive Aging & Neuroimaging (CAN) Lab, in the Department of Psychology at Penn State, examines the effects of aging on learning and memory processes using both behavioral and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) methods. Our lab focuses on several cognitive processes associated with learning and memory including the study of true memories, false memories, relational memories, implicit learning and cognitive control of both remembering and forgetting. With respect to cognitive aging, our research concentrates on the examination of age-related neural markers of cognitive decline, as well as mechanisms for neural compensation.

Description of Position: 2-3 positions available. Undergraduate students in the laboratory will help with general lab organization, participant recruitment, designing and planning experiments, data collection and analysis, and participate in a weekly lab meeting. Great experience if you are considering graduate school in psychology or neuroscience.

Requirements: Rising Sophomores or Juniors preferred – at least 9 hours per week during the semester – preference will be given to those students who can commit for multiple semesters. General computer skills necessary. Students may receive PSY 494 research project credits or work study funds

If interested please email Dr. Nancy Dennis. Please include your year of schooling, your academic interests, GPA, relevant classes taken, times you are available to work, computer skills, career goals.. Possibilities exist to enroll in Psych 496 Independent Studies or Senior Thesis Research in future semesters.

Michele Diaz 

Language and Aging Lab/Michele Diaz

Now Recruiting Research Assistants for 2016-2017!

Description of Research: We investigate age-related differences in language processing using behavioral methods, electrophysiology, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Our research questions examine the relations between behavior, functional brain activity, and the neural structures that underlie these phenomena.

Description of Position: We are currently recruiting 2-4 undergraduate students. Research assistants are involved in a variety of lab activities including analyzing behavioral data, conducting experimental sessions, and developing experimental stimuli. Students are expected to complete 10 hours per week over the course of 2 consecutive semesters.

Method of Compensation: Research assistants will receive 3 credits for Psy 296/496 (Independent Study) or Psy 294/494 (Research Project).

Requirements/Qualifications: We are looking for highly motivated, responsible students with a minimum GPA of 3.4. Previous research experience is preferred, but not required. Interested students should complete and submit an application ( to Questions can also be directed to the same email address.

Janet van Hell 

Bilingualism and Language Development Lab

414 Moore Building

Now recruiting

Description of Research: Our lab studies the cognitive and neurocognitive processes related to language development, second language learning, and bilinguals’ use of two languages. We combine behavioral, neuropsychological (ERPs), and linguistic techniques to study patterns of cross-language interaction and transfer in child and adult second language learners at different levels of proficiency. We also study the neural and cognitive mechanisms involved in code-switching and in the comprehension of foreign accented speech. A second research theme in our lab focuses on language development in school-aged children with typical or atypical development.

Description of Position: Undergraduate students receive extensive training in research and actively participate in lab activities, including recruitment of participants, development of experimental materials, conducting behavioral and electrophysiological testing, and scoring and analyzing data. This is ideal research experience if you are considering applying to graduate school in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, or related fields. We also engage in community outreach and science education events, including Brain in Action demonstrations at local elementary and secondary schools and activities related to Bilingualism Matters and the Center for Language Science.

Method of Compensation: Research assistants will receive Research Project (PSY494 or LING494) credits or Work Study opportunities. Summer opportunities are also available.

Requirements/qualifications. We are looking for motivated and responsible undergraduate students. A 2-semester commitment (minimum) is preferred, for 6-9 hours per week (2-3 credits a semester).

Contact Information: For more information, please visit the laboratory website at: If you are interested, you can email me ( for more information. In your email please include: your year at Penn State, your major or academic interests, your training goals, and any prior research experience you may have.



Back to top

Koraly Pérez-Edgar, PhD 

Description of Research: Our research focuses on the ways in which emotion and attention interact to shape how individuals navigate their social world. We do this through biological measures, self-report questionnaires, and observations of behavior in our laboratory. Our main focus is on the interaction between temperament, early appearing biases in emotion, and attention in infants and children.

Description of Position: Potential responsibilities include assisting with behavioral, eye-tracking, EEG and RSA data collection and assisting with behavioral coding and processing of physiological data. We may also develop tools for data collection and data processing.

Method of Compensation: We offer research credit (e.g. Psych 494, other disciplines) as well as volunteer opportunities.

Requirements: We are recruiting responsible students who can commit 6-10 hours per week to the lab. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students interested in assisting in the development of tools for data collection and data processing must be proficient in Python.

To Apply: Please complete our application [link to]. Feel free to contact us with any questions,

Suzy Scherf, PhD 

Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience 2017

Now Accepting Applications

Description of Research: Our research focuses on understanding how we become so good at recognizing faces and facial expressions from childhood through adulthood. It turns out that this is a very difficult task for the visual system to accomplish and takes many years to develop. Our lab conducts research with children, adolescents and adults to understand these developmental changes in face processing abilities, biases in processing faces of different ages, the ability to detect socially complex expressions, and whether face recognition ability is related to individual differences in neural activation. We examine these developmental trajectories by utilizing behavioral testing methods with computerized tasks as well as eye-tracking and neuroimaging (fMRI and DTI) methods. We have also just started a big project that aims to use gaming technology to help adolescents with autism process important social cues from faces.

Description of Position: Potential duties include: attending lab meetings, recruiting participants, developing study materials, conducting behavioral testing, and analyzing data. This is ideal research experience if you are considering applying to graduate school. We also host “Brain Camps” in conjunction with the Discovery Space down town.  In these day camps, we teach children about the science of the brain and of the visual system and give them an opportunity to participant in the very research that they are learning about.  We often need undergraduate students to help run the activities in the camps and at other local events, like Arts Fest.

Method of Compensation: Research assistants will receive Research Project (PSY 294 or 494) credits or Work Study opportunities. Summer opportunities are also available.

Requirements/Qualifications: We are looking for motivated and responsible undergraduate students. A 2-semester commitment (minimum) is preferred, for 6-9 hours per week (2-3 credits a semester). Students must have a 3.0 GPA or above. In your email please include: your year at Penn State, your major or academic interests, your GPA, and any prior research experience.

Contact Information: If you are interested, please contact Giorgia Picci ( for more information.


Sheri Berenbaum 

"Are you interested in gaining research experience? Interested in biological influences on behavior? Want to learn about the ways hormones affect sex differences in development and cognition?

The Berenbaum Lab is currently seeking motivated and responsible undergraduate research assistants. Students will be involved with the collection and analysis of data for several ongoing studies, one of which involves neuroimaging. Students may also have the opportunity to utilize lab materials and data for honors theses and independent study projects. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in learning more about human neuroscience or developmental psychology in preparation for graduate school.

Ideal candidates are sophomores or juniors with a strong interest in research and a desire to attend graduate school in the future. Eligible candidates must be willing to commit 10 hours/week for at least 3 semesters. Preference is given to students who will be available to work in the summer. Assistants will be given credits for PSYCH 494.
Apply on-line at: "

Contact Information
: Interested students should email ( for more information and to get an application.

Kristin Buss 

Description of Research: Research interests in the lab involve developmental affective neuroscience, individual differences in emotional reactivity, regulation, and temperament, the dynamics of behavioral and biological 
expression of emotion, and the effects of context on emotional behavior and physiological reactivity during the toddler and Kindergarten years. The current longitudinal project is designed to explore the roles of temperament in social-emotional development and contains elements that probe maternal awareness and parental influence during toddler development. 

We first saw our toddlers and their mothers at the Child Study Center when they were 2 years old. The children then came in to lab as they were entering Kindergarten, three years after their first visit. Undergraduate research assistants will be involved in assisting families during visits to the Child Study Center, aiding in data collection, and preparing materials for these visits. Research assistants will also be trained to discriminate affective behaviors, code,  and enter data. 

Method of Compensation: Research assistants may apply for PSY 494 course credit or on a volunteer basis. Students eligible for work-study may be able to work in the lab for compensation after having worked in the lab for at least one semester. Participation provides a valuable experience and reference base for those considering graduate studies. 

Requirements/Qualifications: Because of the nature and training involved with the study, we ask for a minimum overall GPA of 3.3 and a minimum commitment of at least 2 semesters (although the majority of our undergraduates stay on the project longer than the minimum requirement). Students should plan to spend 10 hours per week involved in lab-related activities, including a weekly lab/coding meeting which research assistants are required to attend. 

Contact Information: To apply or for more information, please contact Connor Destafney at or Interested students may also visit our website at

Jenae Neiderhiser 

Gene-Environment Interplay Throughout the Lifespan

Description of Research: Our lab is interested in understanding the interplay between genes and the environment in development. We are currently looking for undergraduates to work with us on one two different projects:

Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS):
EGDS is a longitudinal adoption study interested in disentangling the effects of genes, prenatal drug exposure, and parenting on child outcomes and family adjustment. Opportunities for undergraduate research assistants include:

  • Ordering, de-identifying and coding medical records of birth mothers (prenatal and delivery) and child medical records (0-10yrs).
  • Other varied opportunities for data management/analysis and literature reviews.

Minimum qualifications: We are looking for undergraduate students (with a minimum GPA of 3.0) to work at least 10 hours per week. A commitment of 2 semesters is required. Accepted applicants will have to complete IRB human subjects training.

If interested, please contact Jenae Neiderhiser ( or Allison Mitchell (

Pennsylvania Twin Registry

The Departments of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies are seeking volunteers to work on the Pennsylvania Twin Registry. The PA Twin Registry is currently recruiting adolescent twins in the state of Pennsylvania to register for and participate in future studies. Volunteers' tasks include recruiting school administrators for participation, sending out mailings to participants, and managing databases.

Minimum Qualifications: Volunteers must have a GPA of 3.0 or above, have excellent interpersonal skills, and be willing to commit to 10 hours a week in the lab for a minimum of 2 semesters. Accepted applicants will also be expected to complete IRB human subjects training, Child Abuse Reporting Training, and will have to have a full background check.

Please send a resume to .

Method of Compensation: Research assistants may work on a volunteer basis or receive credit for PSY 494. Our lab provides an excellent opportunity for students interested in developmental or clinical psychology, human development,biology, or medicine.


Dawn Witherspoon 

Context and Development Lab (CDL) – Undergraduate Research Assistant position

Description of Research: Research interests in the lab involve understanding how context shapes adolescents’ development and how race, ethnicity, and other cultural attributes interact with contextual characteristics to influence adolescent outcomes. Past projects in the lab (FAN-C: Families, Adolescents, and Neighborhoods in Context) have explored the roles of different contexts such as residential neighborhood, school, family, etc. on African American and Latino adolescent’s academic outcomes, beliefs, and behavior. Our current project (PLACES/LUGARES) is designed to explore the roles of residential neighborhoods and youth’s activities spaces on Latino and African American adolescents’ problem behavior, substance use, and affiliation with deviant peers as well as parents’ monitoring strategies. PLACES/LUGARES is a collaborative project with Dr. Mayra Bámaca and her IMPACT lab.

Undergraduate research assistants will be involved in preparing research materials, interacting with adolescents, and assisting with data collection. Research assistants will also be trained to enter and code data, conduct literature searches, and complete annotated bibliographies. Other lab tasks may be assigned as needed. Publication possibilities exist.

Method of Compensation: Research assistants may apply for PSY 494 or HDFS 496 course credit or work on a volunteer basis. Participation provides a valuable experience and reference base for those considering graduate studies.

Requirements/Qualifications: Because of the nature and training involved with the study, we ask for a minimum overall GPA of 3.3 and a minimum commitment of at least 2 semesters. Students are required to spend 10 hours per week involved in lab-related activities, including a one-hour weekly lab/coding meeting which research assistants are required to attend.

Bilingualism (i.e., Spanish) is desired but not required.

Summer opportunities are available.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Context and Development lab, please complete the Undergraduate Research Application (available online: and email it to Dr. Witherspoon, OR, with the subject: Context and Development Lab Undergraduate RA application. 


Back to top

None currently listed


Back to top


Reg Adams

Social Perception and Emotion Lab


Contact information: Please contact Dr. Reginald Adams ( for more information. You can also go directly to our online application:

Description of research project: Our lab focuses on the study of social vision—the intersection of social psychology and vision science. In our work, we recognize the interplay of visual and social processes both in terms of those that are innately prepared (via evolution), and those that have emerged as the product of individual variation and cultural learning. Our focus is on the study of Compound Social Cues. More specifically, we study how social and emotional meaning is extracted from the human face given the multiple social messages it conveys (e.g., emotion, gender, race, etc.). We utilize behavioral, neuroscientific, and cross-cultural methods to accomplish this work. We are currently seeking RAs who are interested in helping examine: 1) threat perception and individual differences, 2) emotion perception in the face and its interaction with social categories (e.g., race, age, gender), 3) social humor, 4) face perception in sub-clinical populations, and 5) perception of the self and others. Our goal is for RAs to experience all phases of the research process from idea generation to stimulus and program preparation, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation. All interested students are encouraged to apply.

Compensation: Students will earn 3 hours of course credit by enrolling in Psych 494 (independent study). Working in a research lab is invaluable to those seeking to pursue graduate work in research psychology. Gaining early experience in a lab is also helpful for those who anticipate doing an honors thesis. 

Requirements/Qualifications: We are looking for motivated, reliable, detail-oriented students with a strong work ethic and creative instinct. 

Daryl Cameron 

Now Recruiting for Fall/Spring 2016-2017

Description of research project: The Empathy and Moral Psychology (EMP) Lab focuses on the psychological processes involved in empathy and moral decision-making.  We use models and methods from affective science and social cognition to understand empathy and morality.  These include examining variation in empathic emotions and behaviors across different social contexts—for instance, why do people feel less empathy and help less when confronted with large-scale events (e.g., natural disasters, genocides) and with victims who are dissimilar (e.g., racial out-groups)?  In other work, we use cognitive tasks and mathematical modeling to understand the nature of moral judgment—i.e., how people decide whether an action or person is morally wrong and should be punished—in student, clinical, and incarcerated populations.

Research assistants are involved in every step of the research process.  This includes attending regular lab meetings; conducting literature searches; programming tasks and online surveys; administering studies; compiling and coding data; learning basic statistical analyses; and assisting with brainstorming and providing feedback.  Overall, this experience will provide an overview of psychological research and an opportunity to learn more about empathy and morality.  This experience is well suited for students who are interested in graduate study in psychology, as research assistants have the opportunity to contribute to creative discussions through all phases of the research process.

Method of compensation: Research assistants receive course credit (PSYCH 494).  Working in the EMP Lab will provide useful research experience and be good preparation for graduate school.

Requirements/qualifications: We are looking for interested, motivated, and highly conscientious students who want to learn more about psychological research.  No prior experience is required, but the minimal GPA to apply is 3.0.  We prefer students who can commit to 10 hours per week, and who can commit to work in the lab for multiple semesters.  Students with dual interests/majors in relevant fields (e.g., psychology & philosophy) are especially encouraged to apply.

Contact Information: Please contact me at


Dr. Jonathan Cook

Group Identity and Social Perception Lab (GISP)


What do we research?

Our research investigates how group identities (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, chronic illness, religion, being a student) can affect social perceptions. Much of our current research seeks to understand how people manage stress that can arise from important social identities. This phenomenon is called social identity threat. Our lab seeks to understand how social identity threat affects motivation, behavior, and basic biological processes and ultimately contributes to intergroup disparities in education, employment, and health. Additionally, we study how psychological interventions – such as brief writing and reflection exercises – can be used to mitigate the negative consequences of social identity threat.

More information about our research is available at

How do you join?

If interested, please fill out this form and email it to Please note that your unofficial transcript should be included with your application.

We welcome research assistants from all demographic backgrounds and aim to create a work environment that is inclusive and respectful.

What would be your role?

Research assistants play an integral role in the lab and participate at all stages, from designing and running studies to organizing and analyzing participant responses. Past research assistants have also presented their work at national psychology research conferences. In some circumstances, research assistants can be co-authors on publications.

Can you volunteer, work for course credit, or apply your work-study hours in our lab?

Research positions are available on a volunteer basis or in exchange for course credit (PSYCH 494). Eligible students can also get involved for work-study.

Please note that for applicants who seek course credit, we expect a minimum of a 2-credit commitment, which corresponds to about 6 hours per week. Because of the time involved to get people trained, we ask for a minimum of a two-semester commitment. While we consider GPA and relevant experience in the application process, all are welcome to apply.

Contact information:

Karen Gasper 

518 Moore,


Description of Research Project : Our lab is searching for a couple of motivated students who are interested in learning about how moods and emotions influence everyday activities. Some questions under investigation will be:

  • How do people differ in their understanding of emotional experiences? Are some individuals more aware of their experiences than others?
  • How do feelings influence judgment? For instance, do sad individuals always view the world more negatively than those who are happy? Under what circumstances does this change?
  • How do our feelings influence information processing? For instance, are happy individuals more creative than sad individuals?

You will gain some valuable experience in using appropriate scientific methods, in running and conducting experimental sessions, and in analyzing and interpreting data. 

Method of compensation: Independent Study Opportunity. 

Requirements/Qualifications: Knowledge of computers would be a plus, but it is not required. We are looking for responsible, creative, and articulate people with an interest in psychology. For more information and an application form, please go to:


Jes Matsick 

Recruiting new students on a rolling basis.

Contact Information:  Contact Dr. Jes Matsick ( if you have any questions. Interested students should submit an application by completing the following questionnaire:

Description of Research Projects:  Our lab is focused on prejudice, sexuality, and diversity:  we are committed to conducting research that highlights the perspectives and experiences of women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ people.  In one area of research, we study how members of marginalized groups view dominant groups (e.g., men/white people/heterosexual people). For example, what are LGBTQ people’s thoughts and feelings about heterosexuals?  Similarly, how might minority groups’ attitudes toward dominant groups predict their well-being?  We also study how to promote diversity and inclusion in male-dominated STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and the experiences of underrepresented groups in those fields. These interests include multiple projects that are at various stages of the research process (e.g., from being “just an idea” to being a nearly published article).

Responsibilities:  Students are expected to attend weekly lab meetings and their scheduled lab hours.  Students will learn how to collect online data, to conduct reviews of scientific articles, to design surveys on Qualtrics Survey Software, to organize data in Excel and SPSS (statistical software), to properly format APA references and data tables, and to collaborate with others during the brainstorming process. Students who have demonstrated a commitment to the lab and to learning more about research may have the opportunity to present at professional conferences in the future. 

Methods of Compensation:  In addition to gaining research skills and learning about professional development and career opportunities, students can earn course credit by registering in PSY 494 or WMNST 494. Enrollment in WMNST 494 requires formal approval from Dr. Matsick and the department’s undergraduate director. Please see here for more information about WMNST 494:

Requirements/Qualifications:  Students must be willing to work either 6 hours (2 credits) or 9 hours (3 credits) per week in the lab.  Given the time and energy it takes to become a well-trained research assistant, students must be willing to make a 2-semester commitment to working in the lab. Preference will be given to students who have taken courses in Psychology and/or Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and to students who display interest in thinking critically about gender, race, and sexual orientation.

Stephanie Shields 

517 Moore Building,

Contact information: Please contact Stephanie Shields ( or Kaitlin McCormick ().

Description of research project: Our lab focuses on the intersection between gender and emotion, especially as relevant to interpersonal settings. We draw from the psychology of emotion, the psychology of gender, and feminist psychology. We are currently conducting a range of studies on evaluations of others’ emotions and emotion displays.

In addition, we are working on an intervention to help raise people's awareness of how bias affects women in the workplace. Information about the project can be found at

Our undergrad RAs are involved in all phases of the research process. Undergraduate roles include attending regular lab meetings, data collection, developing stimulus materials, conducting literature searches, assisting us with individual projects, and providing their own creative voices throughout this process!

Method of compensation:
Students can earn course credit by registering for independent study research (PSY 494). This is a great way to gain research experience for people interested in the psychology of emotion and gender.

Requirements/Qualifications: For the 2016-2017 academic year we are looking for 2 or 3 motivated, reliable, and detail-oriented undergraduates who are willing to work 6 to 9 hours a week. Most of our RAs continue to work with us for two or more semesters.

Janet K. Swim (last update 6-21-16)

Contact Information: Please fill out an application at  For further information contact the lab manager, Nathan Geiger, at .

Description of Research Project: Janet Swim researches the psychology of environmental sustainability. More specifically, she is examining individual, situational, and cultural barriers and facilitators to behaviors that influence engaging in sustainable practices. Projects range from small scale (a single experiment or survey on college students) to large scale (examining climate change conversations at recreational sights such as zoos and aquariums or tourist destinations). For more information see We are looking for several students and most work will be done at University Park.  However, we are looking for a student who can spend a few weekends each semester in Philadelphia collecting data to work on a new project this year with Mount Cuba Botanical garden near Philadelphia collecting baseline data on homeowners’ reactions to and use of natural landscaping. 

Compensation: Research assistants receive course credit (PSYCH 494) that may count towards the 400 level credit requirements for psychology majors. Additionally, working in our lab will provide you with valuable experience in conducting research, which is excellent preparation for graduate school.

Qualifications: We are looking for motivated, detail oriented students who can give thoughtful feedback on data coding, survey development, and experimentation. Our research assistants typically learn how to: create online surveys, design experiments, enter and code data, manage both the subject pool and publically available on-line samples, and conduct basic statistical analyses.  Some years, students learn computer game programing and how to run focus groups.  We prefer students who are able to commit for 9 hours/week.

Return to Top