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:
Table of Contents
(good experience, elective (not PSYCH) credit available)
Opportunities in this section are open only to World Campus students.
Online Social Perception Laboratory
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Anthony Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lab duties: The Online Social Perception Laboratory is seeking students interested in gaining research experience to serve as research assistants. This experience is especially geared toward preparing students for research in graduate school. Instead of assisting on an existing project, students are encouraged to pursue their own research projects (or group research projects) under the guidance of Dr. Nelson. To get the most out of this experience, students should be prepared to participate across multiple semesters. In the first semester, students will be expected to conduct a comprehensive literature review on a topic of their choice to develop an understanding of the existing literature in the field. Additionally, students are expected to learn a new statistical program (JASP, SPSS, or R).
After the first semester, students are encouraged to develop their own studies once they have demonstrated that they have enough background knowledge in their topic of choice to develop a novel hypothesis. This experience would allow the student to learn all aspects of the research process from start to finish, including submitting an IRB, preregistering hypotheses, programming study materials, recruiting participants, analyzing the data, and preparing the results for dissemination, either via conference presentation and/or journal submission.
In addition to the above-mentioned duties, students are expected to participate in weekly discussions where one member of the lab will provide a research article to be read and discussed. Each member of the lab will be expected to assign the weekly reading at least once each semester.
Who should apply: Students who are interested in pursuing graduate education in psychology, especially PhD programs, where research will be a major component of the program. Generally, students should have already taken (or are currently taking) PSYCH 301, however this is not a strict requirement. Students with PSYCH 301 experience will be given priority if there are more applicants than there are available positions.
Students who apply to the lab must be self-motivated. This is NOT a typical course where students will be graded on frequent assignment submissions. Students must take the initiative to do the work, and to reach out to Dr. Nelson when they need guidance. Dr. Nelson will be checking in occasionally and offering feedback, but the students are ultimately responsible for their own progress. Students who have the most success in this lab are not afraid to reach out to Dr. Nelson frequently.
How we meet: The lab is asynchronous, meaning that there are currently no set meeting times. We use Canvas for all lab correspondence. If a live meeting is desired with Dr. Nelson, this can be scheduled.
Credits: Students are expected to sign up for 3 credits of PSYCH 494, which consists of 9 hours of work per week. Exceptions will be made for lower amounts of credits on a case-by-case basis. Students may also volunteer for this experience. Please note that PSYCH 494 credits can be earned each semester, however, only the first 3 credits will count toward your 400-level course requirements.
Other benefits: In addition to earning credits and learning valuable research skills, students can request a letter of recommendation from Dr. Nelson. Getting letters of recommendation from faculty members you have worked on research with outside of a classroom is essential for getting into research-oriented graduate programs.
Neuropsychology of Multiple Sclerosis Research Lab (Not accepting applications)
Description of Research: Our research looks at changes in cognitive, affective, and behavioral functioning that result from brain injury or disease. Specifically, we investigate the effects of multiple sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease. Undergraduate research assistants will be trained to score standardized measurements, enter data, and use statistical software. They will also attend lab meetings and, depending upon interest and ability, participate in other lab projects. Experience in a research lab exposes students to research design and implementation, allows students to understand the clinical applications of such research, and provides students with advice and training that enhance their applications to graduate and medical school programs.
Requirements/Qualifications: We are looking for motivated, conscientious, 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, 6-9 hours per week during the semester. Preference is given to students with interests in pursuing graduate training in the mental health field or medical school.
Methods of Compensation: Undergraduate research assistants receive 1 Research Project (Psy 494) credit for every 3 hours worked. Students can earn up to 3 course credits for 9 hours of work per week. Opportunities to continue work in the lab may be available over summers and beyond the current academic year. Honors options for Psy 496 Independent Studies or Senior Thesis Research projects may be available after 2 semesters of participation and satisfactory performance in the lab.
Sports Concussion Research Lab (Not accepting applications)
Description of Research: Our research looks at changes in cognitive, affective, and behavioral functioning that result from brain injury or disease. We investigate brain injury in college athletes who have suffered mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) due to concussion. Undergraduate research assistants will be trained to score standardized measurements, enter data, and use statistical software. They will also attend lab meetings and, depending upon interest and ability, participate in other lab projects. Experience in a research lab exposes students to research design and implementation, allows students to understand the clinical applications of such research, and provides students with advice and training that enhance their applications to graduate and medical school programs.
Requirements/Qualifications: We are looking for motivated, conscientious, 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, 6-9 hours per week during the semester. Preference is given to students with interests in pursuing graduate training in the mental health field or medical school.
Methods of Compensation: Undergraduate research assistants receive 1 Research Project (Psy 494) credit for every 3 hours worked. Students can earn up to 3 course credits for 9 hours of work per week. Opportunities to continue work in the lab may be available over summers and beyond the current academic year. Honors options for Psy 496 Independent Studies or Senior Thesis Research projects may be available after 2 semesters of participation and satisfactory performance in the lab. Please contact the Concussion Program Coordinator, Garrett Thomas (email@example.com) or Megan Bradson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details and to schedule an interview. In your email, include your current year of schooling, your major or academic interests, your GPA, and any prior research experience.
Please complete and submit the Research Assistant Application.
Pamela Cole (Not accepting applications)
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 Tawni Stoop email: email@example.com. You can find our applications and more information on line at https://sites.psu.edu/coleerlab/
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!
Research Assistant Positions in the Dismantling Racial inEquities Around Mental health (DREAM) Lab
Description of Lab: The Dismantling Racial inEquities Around Mental Health (DREAM) Lab at Penn State is recruiting volunteer research assistants! The DREAM Lab is directed by Dr. Chardée Galán, an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Child Clinical Area (https://galanlab.org/). Our lab aims to: 1) advance research on the mental health effects of racism on youth and families of color, including work on racial trauma; 2) develop and test interventions that leverage cultural strengths to promote resilience and mitigate the detrimental effects of racism on youth and families of color; and 3) address key drivers of racial inequities in mental health, including the lack of culturally humble mental health providers and the perpetration of racism by dominant racial groups.
This position would be an excellent fit for applicants interested in pursuing graduate study in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, or related disciplines or interested in attending medical school. However, our lab is highly interdisciplinary, and we have also had students from other fields in our lab, including students with training in graphic design, computer science, and statistics (e.g., students with graphic design background have assisted with creating promotional materials for our research studies; students with statistics training have assisted with data management).
Start Date: The position would begin at the start of the Fall 2023 semester.
Responsibilities: Research assistants will assist with an exciting new project in which we are piloting a novel intervention (One Talk at a Time – AntiRacism) that seeks to equip White parents with the knowledge and skills to promote anti-racism in their children. Responsibilities will include:
– Recruiting and screening families
– Conducting study assessments
– Administering survey, observational, and interview assessments
– Managing data collection
– Transcribing and coding interviews and parent-child interaction tasks
There are select opportunities to take on more of a leadership role on this project for exceptional applicants
Requirements: We are looking for students who share our commitment to social justice and demonstrate strong organizational, leadership, and time-management skills with an exceptional attention to detail.
Essential for this role is the adeptness to work independently as well as part of a team with a collaborative approach to problem solving. Other requirements include:
– Minimum 3.2 GPA
– Commit a minimum of 10 hours a week of volunteer work
– Commit to two consecutive semesters of service
– Attend weekly lab meetings
– With the exception of religious observances, we expect volunteers to commit to assisting with weekend assessments
Method 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. Work study positions are available for qualified students. Volunteers are also welcome.
How To Apply: If you are interested in this research internship, please complete the application found here and email it, along with any requested materials (e.g., your transcript, resume), to Dr. Galàn (firstname.lastname@example.org). Preference will be given to students who apply by August 25th. Select applicants will be invited for an interview. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the positions are filled.
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.
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 the lab have been accepted into prestigious and competitive doctoral programs.
Contact Info: If you are interested in a position please visit the laboratory website at: https://levylab.la.psu.edu/ to complete the application for prospective undergraduate students listed under the “Apply” section.
Amy D. Marshall (accepting applications)
Relationships and Stress Research Lab
Description of Research: The mission of the research program in the Relationships and Stress Research Lab is to understand how posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) interacts with social information processing (e.g., attention to threat, recognition of emotions) to lead to relationship dysfunction and aggression. This model includes the study of interpersonal processes (e.g., reciprocal and multiplicative communication patterns) and contextual factors (e.g., emotional arousal) that may contribute to changes in information processing skills that are particularly important to the maintenance of adaptive close relationships. Additional foci of the lab include the study of hormones (e.g., estrogen, oxytocin, arginine vasopressin) that may explain the sex difference in PTSD prevalence, as well as explaining the link between PTSD and relationship dysfunction. We also study predictors of the co-occurrence and within-incident spillover of intimate partner violence and child abuse. Undergraduate research assistants may be trained to code couples’ and families’ videotaped interactions, run participants through study protocols, conduct recruitment interviews, search relevant literature, manage databases, and generally use your skills and creativity to assist in the development of new studies. In addition, lab meetings provide a forum to learn more about the topic under study and future opportunities in the field.
Method of Compensation: It is preferred that undergraduate research assistants earn independent research credit. Research assistants will gain valuable research experience and mentoring, especially helpful for those interested in pursuing graduate education.
Requirements/Qualifications: Highly motivated and responsible undergraduate students with an interest in clinical research are encouraged to apply. Students must have a 3.2 GPA. Preference is given to technologically competent students who are able to commit at least six hours per week to the lab (three hours of work for each hour of credit), as well as those who may be interested in continuing in the lab beyond the current semester.
Contact Information: Interested students should contact Angie Morrison for more information and to schedule an interview.
Aaron Pincus (accepting applications)
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.
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
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.
Sandra Testa Michelson (not accepting applications)
The Penn State Psychological Clinic is looking for Research Assistants!
The Pennsylvania State University Psychological Clinic is a community mental health clinic (CMHC) that also serves as a Practice Research Network (PRN) that fully and seamlessly integrates research and clinical practice. We are currently looking to expand our team of motivated, conscientious, and responsible individuals, and this position is especially well-suited for undergraduates who would like to pursue graduate training in clinical psychology since it will help to gain valuable experience with clinical research that is being conducted within a large-scale CMHC.
As an RA, you will
- Learn data entry and management techniques for large-scale, longitudinal data
- Gain experience with how to structure, clean, and work with cross-sectional as well as longitudinal data
- Gain experience with reviewing project proposals and assisting with the oversight of research projects that are being conducted within PSU’s Psych Clinic
- Gain exposure to Electronic Health Records systems, common assessment batteries, and routine outcome monitoring techniques
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 from week to week though never exceed the agreed upon amount. Work hours contain both data management and didactic components. This is currently a remote position.
Contact: Sandra Testa Michelson, PhD (email@example.com) to apply.
Martha Wadsworth (not accepting applications)
Coping and Regulation of Environmental Stress Lab
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, Allison Pequet, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and applications.Chardée Galán
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.
Language and Aging Lab/Michele Diaz
Not accepting applications
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 (http://sites.psu.edu/mdiazlab/prospectivestudents/) to email@example.com. Questions can also be directed to the same email address.
Janet van Hell
Bilingualism and Language Development Lab
414 Moore Building
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: https://bild.la.psu.edu/. If you are interested, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Rina D. Eiden
Accepting applications for Fall 2021
Description of Research: At the Development, Risk & Resilience Lab, we are trying to understand when and under what circumstances developmental trajectories of children begin to diverge from normative trajectories among families who are struggling with substance abuse and related issues (e.g., mental health symptoms; caregiving unpredictability). We are interested in how prenatal and early adversities shape the development of children’s self-regulation; how these associations may be mediated or moderated by parenting quality; and in applying this understanding to prevention. We are also working to understand protective factors that promote resilience in children in the face of early adversities.
Description of Position: Potential duties include video coding, conducting literature reviews, and recruitment and data collection involving study participants. Various tasks related to project start up may also be assigned.
Method of Compensation: Research Credit (Psych 494 or other). Volunteer opportunities exist as well. Opportunities to use data for thesis and capstone projects available.
Requirements: Students must be able to work out a schedule with our lab staff and be consistent in their work hours and must be available for 3-9 hours per week. Students who can commit at least two consecutive semesters will be given first priority acceptance.
Interested Students: Please email email@example.com your availability for the upcoming term, desired number of credits/hours, and a copy of your resume.
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.
Now Accepting Applications
Parent-Child Dynamics Lab
Research Assistant Position(s)
Title of position: Undergraduate Research Assistant, Parent-Child Dynamics Lab
Summary of position: In Dr. Erika Lunkenheimer’s Parent-Child Dynamics Lab, we study the ways that parenting and parent-child interaction patterns influence child development. We use dynamic time series analysis to examine how parents and children coordinate their emotions, behaviors, and physiology, and how this coordination is related to the development of children’s self-regulation and behavior problems. We also examine how parent-child interaction patterns relate to resilience and risk in the family, such as risk for child maltreatment, and how a better understanding of these patterns can inform the development and improvement of preventive interventions for stressed and overburdened families. Undergraduate Research Assistants will work both independently and as a team to support a broad range of research efforts, such as data collection with families and data processing of videos, biological data, and questionnaires.
Website URL: www.pcd.la.psu.edu
Number of opportunities: 1-2
Start posting date: Immediate – to start Fall 2022
End posting date: Ongoing – until positions filled
Responsibilities: Potential responsibilities include project preparation, recruiting families for research involvement, conducting study visits with families on Zoom or in the lab, recruiting families, coding behavior and affect in videotaped parent-child interaction tasks, entering questionnaire data, and/or processing physiological (breathing and heart rate) data. Training is provided. Undergraduate Research Assistants attend a regular group meeting which includes professional development topics, presentation of lab research, and discussion of relevant literature.
Qualifications: Strong candidates will be enthusiastic, committed to the project, communicative, detail-oriented, and responsible. Comfort with learning and utilizing computer software and/or lab equipment is required. Prior experience in research is desired but not required. Prior experience working with children and/or families is also desired.
Position Type: Course credit
Work setting: In-person research lab in Moore Building on UP campus
Application procedure: Email your CV or Resume to Alexa Nordine at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online application form:
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 email@example.com for more information.
Accepting Applications for Fall 2024
Description of Research:
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.
Gene-Environment Interplay Throughout the Lifespan
Accepting applications for spring 2021
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.
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 Tong Chung firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
*No longer recruiting for Spring 2024*
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: https://contextlab.la.psu.edu/) and email it to Dr. Witherspoon, email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject: Context and Development Lab Undergraduate RA application.
Social Vision and Interpersonal Perception lab (social VIPs)
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.
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.
To Apply for this position please visit: https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6lOXCSylfhvlVzv
Contact Information: email@example.com.
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 http://gisp.la.psu.edu
How do you join?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
518 Moore, email@example.com
Not accepting applications
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: http://fbiplab.weebly.com/
Morality and Social Cognition Laboratory (MASC Lab)
Contact Information: Contact Dr. Sean Laurent (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. See the lab webpage for more information about the lab and what we do. If you decide to apply, fill out the form on this page and email it to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Description of Research Projects: We are looking to recruit a few motivated and conscientious students to assist us in the morality and social cognition laboratory (MASC Lab). Our studies focus on “how people understand other people,” which includes things like how information about others’ minds influences the way they and their behaviors are evaluated, how information about others’ behaviors influences beliefs about their minds and character, how information about people’s attitudes, behaviors, or backgrounds contextualize how people evaluate their minds and behaviors, and how all of these pieces of information intersect to guide how people think about other people. See the MASC Lab website for more information.
Responsibilities: Students will gain a wide understanding of different aspects of research in social psychology and have the opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills. Students are expected to complete all assigned duties in a timely fashion, show up on time for research sessions, and if at all possible, attend weekly lab meetings where they will have opportunities to collaborate with others about research ideas and provide input on ongoing and future projects. Highly motivated students who have shown their commitment to the lab and to learning more about research might have opportunities to collaborate on a research project, present work at a professional conference, or be included as an author on a scientific publication.
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 294 or 494. Students can also volunteer.
Requirements/Qualifications: To join the lab, students must be willing to commit to working in the lab for at least 2 semesters. Given the time and energy it takes to train new assistants well, longer participation is preferred. In addition, students must commit to working at least 6 hours in the lab (2 credits) during their first year. Students can apply during any year of their program (1st-4th) although first and second year students are preferred and last year students (i.e., seniors) are unlikely to be recruited except in special circumstances. Although we will also consider students who are interested in any career, we are particularly interested in students who are at least considering studying social psychology in graduate school.
Not accepting applications
Contact Information: Contact Dr. Jes Matsick (email@example.com) if you have any questions. Interested students should submit an application by completing the following questionnaire: https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bOOkcLHGCBwRDE1
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: https://wgss.la.psu.edu/undergraduate/internships-and-opportunities/
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.
Janet K. Swim (last update 6-21-16)
Contact Information: Please fill out an application at https://swimlab.weebly.com/application-to-be-the-pact-lab.html. For further information contact the lab manager, Mike Lengiezia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 http://swimlab.weebly.com/research.html. 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 publicly 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
“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: https://berenbaumlabpsu.wixsite.com/cah-info
Contact Information: Interested students should email (email@example.com) for more information and to get an application.