Departmental Research Opportunities

Biopsychology

Project Director:  Robert A. Zucker Ph.D. & Brian M. Hicks Ph.D.
Alternate Contact: Cynthia Leacock
Email: cleacock@med.umich.edu

Title of Project: fMRI Study of Impulse Control and Emotion Regulation in Youth

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Biopsychology

Project Description:

Michigan Longitudinal Neuroimaging Lab
This lab researches how addiction, specifically alcohol, is passed down through families and the genetic/familial/environmental risk of developing substance use disorder. The study administers a long survey to a cohort of substance abusing men, their partners, and their children, and their grandchildren each year. fMRI studies are being carried out on children, adolescents, and young adults. Students are responsible for entering the data from these studies into a database. This is a good lab for students interested in neuroscience.

Location: Rachel Upjohn Building, East Medical Center, 4250 Plymouth Rd.

Time commitment requested:
Students should be doing 7.5 hours of lab work a week (97.5 total for the semester).

Qualifications of student:
We only accept students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, who are committed to learning about research. Helpful prerequisites (not required but suggested) are Intro to Psychopathology, Stats 250, and Psych 303 - Research Methods in Psychology (you may take these at the same time as the lab). An interview is required.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only?
no
Money Offered?:
no
Work-Study Employment Offered?
no

 


 

Project Director:Barbara Smuts
Email: bsmuts@umich.edu

Title of Project:Social Behavior in Domestic Dogs

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:   Biopsychology

Project Description:
Students will code specific behaviors while watching video (on computers) of social interactions among domestic dogs. The interactions occur mainly during play and greetings. The videos are filmed locally (in back yards or dog parks, etc.) as part of an ongoing study of dog social behavior. Students will use slow motion and frame-by-frame viewing to recognize and code subtle or rapid behaviors difficult to identify in real time. Through this experience, students will develop an excellent eye for complex behavioral sequences. Since these observational skills will generalize to other species, this training is useful for any student interested in studying naturally occurring behavior in animals, including humans. Students will work for a pre-agreed, average number of hours each week at a video laboratory in East Hall. Work hours are flexible but a minimum of 6 hours/week is required. Students can take the course as Psych 322 (credit/no credit) or Psych 326. The latter involves writing a 6-8 page paper in scientific format that describes the coding, analysis, and interpretation of some aspect of dog behavior. Students highly motivated to continue with research may participate further in subsequent terms. Advanced students may have opportunities to design their own research projects in collaboration with Dr. Smuts and other experienced students.

Time commitment requested:  Minimum 6 hrs/week

Qualifications of student:
At least one previous class in animal behavior, such as Psych 335 or Psych 338 (same as Anthro 368) and Psych 530, "Behavior of wolves & dogs" taught by Dr. Smuts.

Experience Only? No
Credit Offered? Yes
Money Offered? No
Work-Study Employment Offered? No

Clinical

Project Director: Robert A. Zucker Ph.D.
Contact: Cynthia Leacock
Email: cleacock@med.umich.edu

Title of Project:  Cognitive Behavior Techniques

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Project Description:  
Our lab researches using Cognitive Behavioral techniques to improve the functioning of individuals with chronic pain, psychiatric disorders, and/or substance use disorders.  More specifically, our projects include: 

1) examining whether a tailored telephone monitoring intervention with those with both substance use and psychiatric disorders increases utilization of outpatient substance disorder services following an episode of inpatient psychiatric treatment;

2) testing the effect of a CBT intervention for patients with chronic pain who are already engaged in VA outpatient treatment for substance use disorders compared to an attention control condition on measures of pain intensity, pain-related disability and pain-tolerance;

3) conducting a randomized control trial that is designed to determine the efficacy of a group based cognitive-behavioral pain management intervention in comparison to a Supportive Psycho-education Control (SPC) group in individuals with co-occurring pain and substance use disorders recruited at the start of residential treatment program;

4) Identifying and following a cohort of 800 individuals who are seeking to obtain medical marijuana and examine their substance use, pain, HIV risk profile, functioning, and health service use over the course of two years.

Research assistants participate in readings, discussion and daily research tasks which may include (but are not limited to):  scheduling participants, locating participants, data entry, gathering and creation of research materials, creating tracking systems, assisting with assessments, etc. Research assistants may also have an opportunity to assist in the grant/funding process.  These studies relate to psychology in both topic (ex. mental health disorders and treatments) and research tasks/experiences.

**This lab may require orientation, paperwork and forms to fill out, and training with the Veteran’s Administration prior to starting on study specific work**

Location: Ann Arbor Veteran’s Administration

Time commitment requested: 
Students should be doing 7.5 hours of lab work a week (97.5 total for the semester).

Qualifications of student: 
We only accept students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, who are committed to learning about research. Helpful prerequisites (not required but suggested) are Intro to Psychopathology, Stats 250, and Psych 303 - Research Methods in Psychology (you may take these at the same time as the lab). An interview is required.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only?
no
Money Offered?
no
Work-Study Employment Offered?
no

 


 

Project Director: Robert A. Zucker Ph.D. & Brian M. Hicks Ph.D.
Contact: Cynthia Leacock
Email: cleacock@med.umich.edu

Title of Project: Michigan Longitudinal Study

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Project Description:
Michigan Longitudinal Study
This lab researches how addiction, specifically alcohol, is passed down through families and the genetic/familial/environmental risk of developing substance use disorder. The study administers a long survey to a cohort of substance abusing men, their partners, and their children, and their grandchildren each year. Students are responsible for entering the data from these studies into a database. This is a good lab for students interested experience with data.

Location: Rachel Upjohn Building, East Medical Center, 4250 Plymouth Rd.

Time commitment requested: 
Students should be doing 7.5 hours of lab work a week (97.5 total for the semester).

Qualifications of student:
We only accept students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, who are committed to learning about research. Helpful prerequisites (not required but suggested) are Intro to Psychopathology, Stats 250, and Psych 303 - Research Methods in Psychology (you may take these at the same time as the lab). An interview is required.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only?
no
Money Offered?
no
Work-Study Employment Offered?
no

 



Project Director: Maria Muzik, Kate Rosenblum 
Contact: Nicole Miller 
Email: psych-macy-team@med.umich.edu
Phone: (734) 232-0205

 

Title of Project:   MACY (Maternal Anxiety during the Childbearing Years)

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:   Clinical, Developmental

 

Project Description:
Dr. Maria Muzik's research team coordinates several projects related to depression and trauma in high-risk mothers and young children. We are looking for students to assist with a variety of research tasks, such as data entry and verification, transcribing narrative interviews, conducting phone interviews, helping with home and lab assessments, and assisting with interventions targeting high-risk families. In addition, this position offers the opportunity for hands-on experience with data analysis and presentation, learning about developmental and clinical research, interventions for parents of young children, and administrative aspects of running longitudinal and intervention studies.

 

If you are interested please contact Nicole Miller at nicojorg@umich.edu

 

Time commitment requested: 8-10 hours/week 

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes

Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? no

 


 

Project Director: Linas A. Bieliauskas, Ph.D.
Email: linas@umich.edu

Title of Project:Neuropsychological Changes with Normal and Abnormal Aging, Chronic Disease, and Head Injuries

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Biopsychology, Cognition and Perception

Project Description:
This description covers ongoing projects in the areas of aging, chronic disease, and head injuries which are conducted primarily at the associated Veterans Administration Hospital. Students will be involved in testing patients for cognitive and emotional status on admission to the nursing home care unit, veterans returning from the Gulf Wars area, patients with cardiovascular and liver disease, and normal aging subjects. Students will learn clinical skills associated with administering psychological tests, learn to administer and score various clinical test instruments, get experience with data entry, and learn the application of medical and psychological test data to research protocols. Team members meet weekly to coordinate activities, learn about relevant neuropsychological syndromes, and track progress of research projects. Honors theses are sponsored and encouraged, as well as participation in ongoing research protocols which result in national and international presentation and peer-reviewed publication. Travel to national sites for data collection and for meeting presentations is supported as resources are available.

Time commitment requested:  
Minimum of ½ day per week plus weekly meeting of 1 hour.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered?
no
Work-Study Employment Offered?
no

 


 

Project Director: Michelle Kees
Email: mkees@umich.edu
Phone: 734.764.7328

Title of Project:Resilient Military Families

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Developmental

Project Description:
Through M-SPAN (Military Support Programs and Networks; www.m-span.org), we have a number of family-based programs developed to build resiliency and promote positive adjustment across the deployment cycle. Activities within our military family programs include therapeutic intervention groups for parenting young children and for building spouse resiliency, military family support and education groups, community service and outreach, and an extensive research component with surveys, focus groups, and program evaluation.

Students will have an opportunity to be involved in all phases of the various projects including team meetings, outreach activities with military families, collecting data from adults and children, co-leading child intervention groups, entering and analyzing data, and writing up results for presentation/publication. Students will gain in-depth knowledge and experience about how to conduct clinical research and opportunities for direct interaction with children.

Time commitment requested:
6-12 hours per week. Some evening time required. Potential weekend time.

Qualifications of student:
Research Assistants must have an interest and experience in working with children. Prefer someone with an interest and/or background in the military. Upper-level psychology majors with 3.0 GPA or higher preferred. Students must be reliable, detail-oriented, professional, and organized. Skills/experience with data entry and analyses is a plus. Individual interviews with project director and transcripts will be required.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? no

 


 

Project Director: Dr. Cynthia Ewell Foster, Department of Psychiatry
Email:cjfoster@med.umich.edu
Alternative Contact: Gigi Colombini: Adolescent Suicide Prevention Specialist, Macomb County Community Mental Health

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Community

Project Description:
A research assistant is needed to follow up with participants in a suicide prevention program via phone. The RA will receive crisis intervention training, gain clinical experience and assist with the research project.

Time commitment requested:8 hours/week

Qualifications of student:
Undergraduate majoring in psychology or a related field Evening work hours available Transportation to Chesterfield, MI required Previous research experience preferred, but not necessary

Credit Offered? no
Experience Only?
yes
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered?
no

 


 

Project Director:Dr. Cynthia Ewell Foster, Department of Psychiatry
Email:cjfoster@med.umich.edu
Alternate Contact:Amanda Burnside
Email:amaburns@med.umich.edu

Title of Project:  SAMSHA Transforming Youth Suicide Program

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:   Clinical

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located:   Community

Project Description:
What is the best way to reach adolescents at risk for suicide? How can so-called gatekeepers (teachers, school counselors and others) recognize adolescents at risk for suicide and link them to the appropriate resources? Our SAMSHA-funded project is looking to answer these questions, after providing these gatekeepers with a suicide prevention training. A research assistant is needed for data entry and data organization. The research assistant should be self-motivated and energetic with attention to detail.

Time commitment requested:  5-10 hours/week (flexible)

Qualifications of student:
Undergraduate coursework in psychology; Transportation to the Rachel Upjohn Building; Previous work experience (with references)

Credit Offered? no
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered?
no
Work-Study Employment Offered?
no

 


 

Project Director: Dr. James Swain
Alternate Contact: Robert Varney
Email: rvarney@med.umich.edu

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Developmental, Cognitive, and Biopsychology

Project Description:
Our lab is focused on understanding the psychological and neural changes that take place during the transition to parenthood. More specifically, we are deeply interested in exploring how underlying brain mechanisms affect how parents think and act in regards to their role as caregivers. To carry out our research we use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to take pictures of the brain while parents look at pictures of their own children or listen to baby cries, for example.

We have a large amount of older data that need to be deciphered and entered into our database. Experience with Microsoft Access and Visual Basic strongly preferred. The student will assist in the design and maintenance of the database. Students must be organized, reliable, motivated, and able to work independently.

Optional experiences for those who have interest in learning about psychology at the level of the brain include: learning how to analyze functional and/or structural brain-imaging data and to learning to program fMRI tasks. The computer programs we use to do these things are SPSS, Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM), and E-Prime.

Time commitment requested: 8-10 hours/week

Qualifications of student:
Availability of at least 2 semesters. Looking for spring/summer availability. Students MUST be motivated, organized, personable, and self-directed. If interested in this position, please email Rob (rvarney@med.umich.edu) with a recent resume attached.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered?
no

 


 

Project Director:Zarina Kraal
Email:azkraal@umich.edu

Title of Project:  Written Emotional Expression, Working Memory, Depression, and Rumination

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:   Clinical

Project Description:
This study examines whether difficulties in manipulating emotional information in working memory is associated with depression and rumination, and whether a writing task can improve the ability to manipulate emotional information in working memory. Research assistants will be involved in data entry, data organization, compiling annotated bibliographies and literature reviews, participating in lab meetings, and other lab-related tasks

Applicants should send their CV and an unofficial copy of their transcript to Zarina Kraal at azkraal@umich.edu.

Time commitment requested:  8-10 hours per week.

Qualifications of student:
Undergraduates majoring in Psychology, BCN, or Neuroscience who are interested in research. Students must be organized, reliable, motivated, and able to work independently. Students in good academic standing and with experience in research are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to students who are interested in the cognitive aspects of depression.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? no

 


 

Project Director:Tyler Grove
Email:tylerg@umich.edu

Title of Project:Emotion and Auditory Processing in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Project Description:
This study examines whether difficulties in localizing emotional and neutral auditory information is associated with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, social cognition, and social functioning. Research assistants will be involved in scheduling and running participants for the study, data entry, data organization, participating in lab meetings, and other lab-related tasks.

Applicants should send their CV and an unofficial copy of their transcript to Tyler Grove at tylerg@umich.edu.

Time commitment requested:10 Hours Per Week

Qualifications of student:
Undergraduates majoring in Psychology, BCN, or Neuroscience who are interested in research. Students must be organized, reliable, motivated, and able to work independently. Students in good academic standing and with experience in research are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to students who are interested in schizophrenia and, if possible, able to help during the spring and summer.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? no

 


 

Project Director:Dr. Rich Tolman
Email:rtolman@umich.edu

Title of Project:First-Time Fathers’ Prenatal Behaviors, Motivation to Parent and Partner, and Their Pregnant Partner's Perceived Support

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Developmental, Health

Project Description:
This project aims to fill a gap in knowledge about the prenatal experience of fathers, make an important contribution to the still very limited body of research on men's transition to fatherhood, and test a preventive intervention based on positive psychology principles to strengthen fathers’ parenting and partnering in the postnatal period. A research assistant is needed to assist with data management. SPSS proficiency and data management skills are a prerequisite.

Time commitment requested: 9-12 hours per week, April-June.

Qualifications of student:
The key requirement of this position is SPSS proficiency. Specifically, you must be adept at: -writing syntax in SPSS -variable creation -cleaning and merging datasets Additional qualifications include motivated, independent, responsive, reliable, and organized.

Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

Project Director: Alex Hall-Ruiz
Alternate Contact: Thea Senger
Email: thears@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project: Cognitive and motivational processes involved in ADHD
Major area of psychology: Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

Project Description: 
We are interested in investigating how ADHD affects performance on cognitive tasks and whether there are additional factors that mediate the relationship between an ADHD diagnosis and impaired task performance. We utilize behavioral measures and in the future may incorporate neuroimaging and/or pharmacological manipulations in our research.

Students will be expected to assist with subject recruitment and testing as well as data entry, and may have the opportunity to assist with data processing and analysis. Through these experiences, students will have the chance to gain familiarity with software commonly used in the field (SPSS, E-Prime, etc.).

Qualifications of student:
Psychology, BBCS, and Neuroscience majors are especially encouraged to apply. An interest in pursuing a career in psychological and behavioral research is a plus. Students must be proficient with Microsoft Excel and other basic computer programs. Experience working with human participants in a research setting is desirable, but not required. Students should be hard-working, detail-oriented, reliable, and organized. A desire to learn as well as good communication and interpersonal skills are also important.

Students with availability on Mondays, Fridays, and weekday evenings during the Fall 2014 semester are especially encouraged to apply.

Interested students should submit a resume, unofficial transcript, and schedule for the Fall 2014 semester to Thea Senger, thears@umich.edu.

Time commitment requested: 9-15 hours/week; 2 semester minimum commitment.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? yes



Project Director: Daniel Weissman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology
Email: danweiss@umich.edu

Title of Project: Minimizing Distraction

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

Project Description: Since selective attention is far from perfect, we are often distracted by irrelevant stimuli. Our main objective is to understand the psychological and neural mechanisms that minimize distraction and how these mechanisms operate differently in special populations. To this end, we are employing both behavioral and functional neuroimaging approaches to investigate how humans minimize distraction.

Undergraduate researchers will gain valuable research skills including learning to (1) read and understand real scientific journal articles, (2) design cognitive psychology experiments in the fields of attention and cognitive control, (3) conduct basic statistical analyses of data using Microsoft Excel and SPSS, (4) give effective and well-organized oral presentations with PowerPoint, and, possibly, (5) write a scientific paper for an academic journal. Undergraduates will also gain valuable teamwork skills including learning to (1) interact appropriately with human subjects, (2) work effectively in a lab group as a cooperative and responsible colleague, and (3) pass on knowledge and skills to other members of the team.

Time Commitment Requested: Approximately 9 hours per week

Qualifications of student: This opportunity is for highly motivated students who are interested in how humans minimize distraction and who want to begin a research experience in September, 2014. Students should be dependable, hard-working, and enthusiastic about the research topic. If accepted, students will be expected to enroll in Psych 326 (independent study) for two semesters. If things go well after one semester, then, at the discretion of the professor, students may conduct research toward an Honors Thesis. Interested students should e-mail Professor Weissman (danweiss@umich.edu) a resume, which lists their computer skills (computer programming, SPSS, Microsoft Office, etc.), GPA, and major. The body of the e-mail message should explain how the student’s interests fit with Professor Weissman’s research investigating the mechanisms that enable humans to minimize distraction (https://www.lsa.umich.edu/psych/people/faculty/ci.weissmandaniel_ci.detail).

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? no
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? no


Project Director: Amira Ibrahim

Email: ibrahiam@umich.edu

 

Title of Project: The Role of Working Memory in Mathematics Learning

 

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Developmental Psychology

 

Project Description:

Working memory is a limited resource, and sometimes learning new information can overload our working memory making it more difficult for us to learn. Our main objective is to study the role of working memory in mathematics learning.  Utilizing two different learning procedures, we will assess the benefits of each procedure under different conditions. We will also be exploring the effects of individual differences on mathematics learning. The initial study is currently in its beginning stages and future directions may include fMRI or EEG approaches to assess this topic. This is a great opportunity for undergraduates to gain experience in study design and procedures. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about the background and underlying theories related to various topics currently being explored in the lab.

 

Time Commitment Requested: 8+ hours per week

 

Qualifications of student:

We are looking for students who are highly motivated to learn about the research process.  Students are expected to be dependable, hard working, pay close attention to detail, and able to work independently.  Also it is crucial that students are organized and have strong interpersonal skills.  Past research experience in cognitive psychology would be great, but just an interest in the field and enthusiasm to learn is most important.  A minimum of a two-semester commitment is preferred. Interested applications should send their resume/CV and a copy of their unofficial transcript to Amira Ibrahim at ibrahiam@umich.edu

 

Credit Offered? yes

Experience Only? no

Money Offered? no

Work-Study Employment Offered? no

 


 

Project Director: Jun Zhang

Email: junz@umich.edu

 

Title of Project: Theory-of-Mind Reasoning and Application

 

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

 

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology

 

Project Description:

Theory-of-mind (ToM) reasoning involves reasoning about desire, belief, and motivation of others and of oneself, and is often recursive in nature (“I think you think I think …”). In Hedden and Zhang (2002), we developed an experimental paradigm to probe the depth of ToM reasoning in a two-person, three-step sequential game. Follow-up studies (Zhang et al, 2012) investigated the role of perspective taking in ToM recursion. This line of investigation is now evolving into new two directions: 1) strategic inter-personal reasoning with mis-information and deception; 2) theological reasoning about the existence of a “superior being”. Undergraduate students interested in either direction are invited to participate in this project, starting with an early research experience (Psych 326) or faculty directed tutorial reading (Psych 420), which in limited situation can be substituted by a field practicum course (Psych 322/404/405), and continue as faculty-directed research lab (Psych 328) or advanced research (Psych 422), with possibility of pursing an Honors thesis (Psych 424/426). Exceptional students will be considered for sponsorship into the Accelerated Degree Program (ADP).

 

Time commitment requested: Approx. 3 hrs/week

 

Qualifications of student:

  1. Strong interest and potential career in psychological research;
  2. Highly motivated, detail-oriented, and insatious intellectual curiosity;
  3. Interdisciplinary background (outside psychology) in economics, mathematics, computer science, evolution biology, anthropology, etc
  4. GPA 3.3 and higher;
  5. Cross-cultural experience and/or religious exposure may offer unique perspectives to this project.   


Credit Offered? yes

Experience Only? yes
Money Offered? no

Work-Study Employment Offered? no

 

 


 

Project Director: Patricia Reuter-Lorenz
Email: parl@umich.edu

Title of Project: Memory and Cognitive Training Across the Lifespan

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Cognitive and Affective Neuropsychology

Project Description:
Distractions can distort our memory, or cause us to forget. Our lab investigates how and why our memories are vulnerable to interference. We are also working on interventions to improve memory. We use both behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques to understand how executive functions such as attention allocation and interference resolution can trained. We are especially interested in how these abilities may be affected by normal aging. Students in our lab are involved in screening, scheduling, and running participants in experiments programmed using E-Prime software. Students exhibiting exceptional performance may also be involved in running fMRI experiments and analyzing data.

Time commitment requested: Approx. 9 hrs/week

Qualifications of student:
Interested students should possess good knowledge of Microsoft Excel and other basic computer programs. Experience working with human participants in a research setting is desirable. Students should be highly motivated, detail-oriented, organized, and dependable. They should also have a pleasant telephone manner and possess very good interpersonal skills. An interest in pursuing a career in psychological and behavioral research is a plus.

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? yes
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? no

Developmental, Education and Psychology

 

Project Director: Kate Rosenblum, Ph.D.
Contact: Lauren Rosenberg
Email: 
lbrosenb@med.umich.edu


Title of Project: STRoNG Military Families: Support to Restore, Repair, Nurture and Grow Military Families

 

Major area(s) of Psychology in which these projects are located: Clinical, Developmental

 

Project Description:
A program of M-SPAN (Military Support Programs and Networks; m-span.org), STRoNG Military Families is a 10-week program for military families with young children, and is designed to support and enhance the resilience of military families.  This weekly group helps parents learn how to help their kids during or following a deployment, with an emphasis on parenting preschool aged children. Groups starting this fall/winter will be in Jackson, Warren, and Lansing Michigan. Current work on this project also includes a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of the STRoNG Military Families program.

 

Students are needed to attend pre and post in-home assessments, complete data entry in SPSS, transcribe clinical interviews, and staff the group’s Child Team. Child Team members will work closely with the children of military families participating in the Parent Group by engaging in child-directed play and age-appropriate skill building activities. Coding of qualitative observational data is also an opportunity available on this project. Interested students will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the project including research tasks and clinical tasks. 

Time commitment requested: 
6-12 hours per week. Evening availability is required. Potential weekend time. 

Qualifications of student: 
Students must be reliable, detail-oriented, professional, and organized. Skills/experience with data entry and working with children is preferred. Someone with an interest and/or background in the military is a plus.

 

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? 
no
Money Offered? 
no
Work-Study Employment Offered? 
no

 


 

Project Directors:  Susan Gelman

Alternate Contact:Natalie Davidson

Emailnsdavid@umich.edu

 

Overall Title of Project: Maternal conversations about biological processes

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental, Cognitive

 

Project Description:

This research examines mother-child conversations about biological processes in children ages 3-5 years.  The study will take place in our on-campus laboratory.  Tasks involve videotaping, transcribing, and coding parent-child interactions. Research assistants will have the opportunity to test participants (young children and mothers), enter data into Excel, code dialogue between a parent and child, and be involved in the day-to-day lab activities in the Conceptual Development Lab. For more information, you can view our lab website:http://umconceptlab.com.

 

Time commitment requested: 6 - 8 hours per week, possibly some evenings (after 4pm) and/or weekends. 

 

Qualifications of student: 

  • Students who are psychology majors, or majors in other related fields.
  • A GPA of 3.5 or greater.
  • Basic computer knowledge including MS Office is required.
  • Knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator desirable
  • Available for at least two semesters.
  • Prior research experience is not required; training will be provided. 

 

Credit Offered: yes

Money: no

Experience only: maybe

Workstudy: no

 


 

Project Director:  Susan Gelman

Alternate Contact: Natalie Davidson

Email: nsdavid@umich.edu

 

Overall Title of Project: Language and Conceptual Development in Children

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental, Cognitive

 

Project Description:

Our research examines concept and language development in young children, 2-10 years of age.  Many of our studies take place in our on-campus laboratory; some research is conducted in local preschools.  Ongoing topics include ownership, authenticity, social categories, and value.  Some tasks are brief, game-like experiments with young children. Other tasks involve videotaping, transcribing, and coding parent-child interactions. Research assistants will have the opportunity to test participants (young children and undergraduates), enter data into Excel, code dialogue between a parent and child, and be involved in the day-to-day lab activities in the Conceptual Development Lab. For more information, you can view our lab website: http://umconceptlab.com.

 

Time commitment requested: 6 - 12 hours per week.

 

Qualifications of student: 

  • Students who are psychology majors, or majors in other related fields.
  • A GPA of 3.5 or greater.
  • Basic computer knowledge including MS Office is required.
  • Knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and web design desirable, but not required.
  • Available for at least two semesters.
  • Prior research experience is not required; training will be provided. 

 

Credit Offered: yes

Money: no

Experience only: maybe

Workstudy: no

 

 


 

Project Director:Brenda Volling
Alternate Contact:Lauren Rosenberg
Email:lbrosenb@umich.edu
Phone: (734) 647-9748

Overall Title of Project:Family Relationships Project

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental

Project Description:
The goal of the Family Relationships Project is to examine changes occurring in the family before and after the birth of a second child. We want to learn more from families about what changes occur, what things they worry about, and how the older sibling adjusts when the baby is brought home. To do this, we have recruited 241 families that have had a second child. We collected data from these families from before the second child was born until they were three years old. Data collection is now complete and coding and analysis of the data is underway.
The first few weeks of the semester will be spent coding parental narratives for implicit personality motivation. The longer project will train students to code behavioral observations of parent-infant interactions when children are 12 months old. The overall project is unique in that fathers are included and a target of study, so students will be exposed to both early mother- and father-child interactions. The focus of this project is on "activative" parenting that includes parent behaviors that are challenging, destabilizing, and stimulating of the child. Students interested in attachment theory, early child development, and parenting will likely find this work of interest.

Time commitment requested:6-9 hours per week

Qualifications of student:
Students must be responsible, reliable, and have an interest in research. Scheduling flexibility is required, especially during normal business hours, as students will meet with full-time staff members for coding meetings. Students are asked to commit for two consecutive semesters.

Credit Offered: yes      
Money: no
Experience only: no     
Workstudy: no

 


 

Project Director:Twila Tardif
Email: twila@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:Language Development in English and Chinese

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental, Psycholinguistics

Project Description:
How do children learn language? What factors influence language development, and do these factors change over time? How do language skills shape other aspects of development? Does the language learning process differ for children learning different languages? What mechanisms in this process are universal, and which vary based on linguistic or cultural differences? Our laboratory collaborates with other laboratories in China and Singapore to examine these and related questions.

Our studies look longitudinally at English-learning and Chinese-learning children, assessing various linguistic skills, as well as information about the childrenfs backgrounds, their language learning environment, literacy skills, IQ, visual spatial skills, and processing speed. We hope to use this information to develop a comprehensive model of language development.

Research assistants will gain valuable experience in the domains of language development, cross-cultural and longitudinal methodologies, statistical methods, and general research practices. This includes some data analysis (primarily in Excel and SPSS), transcribing, coding, and translating. Hours are fairly flexible, and training will be provided.

Time commitment requested:   8-12 hours per week

Qualifications of student:

We are looking for people who are Native Mandarin speakers ipreferably from the Beijing area or other areas of northern Chinaj, majoring in psychology or linguistics. Some basic knowledge of statistics is preferred, but not required. Familiarity with Microsoft Excel and SPSS are strongly recommended.

Credit Offered:yes      
Money: no
Experience only: no
Workstudy: no

 


 

Project Director: Richard Nisbett
Email: nisbett@umich.edu

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Cognitive, Cultural, Social

Time commitment requested:9-12 hours per week for at least one semester.

Qualifications of student:
Motivated, independent, reliable, and organized. Students should also be humble and willing to learn. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are required, as is general computer proficiency in MS office. Additional computer skills (programming, SPSS, etc) are preferred but not required. Psychology majors who would like to learn about research on intelligence, wisdom, and culture.

Credit Offered: Yes
Money: No
Experience only: Yes
Workstudy: Yes

 


 

Project Director:Rick Price
Email:ricprice@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:Innovators and Entrepreneurs: Psychology and Strategy

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Personality and Social Context ; Social Psychology

Project Description:
This project is about innovators and entrepreneurs. Are they different from the rest of us? Do they think and act in distinctive ways? Innovators and entrepreneurs are people who put their new ideas to use in the world. Their dream may be to create a new business, help a disadvantaged group or save the environment, but beneath the surface they share a common set of strategies. We will study how they frame problems, marshal persuasive tactics and manage cooperation as they turn their vision into a new enterprise.

We are looking for students who are passionate about doing research to gain a deeper understanding of the psychology and strategies used by innovators and entrepreneurs. Students will have a chance to interview innovators and entrepreneurs, work in teams, review the popular and scholarly literature, analyze interviews, write case studies and analyze existing data sets. Students interested in doing undergraduate honors theses or applying to graduate school will find this project especially useful.

You will learn: How to conduct interviews, do observational and archival research, design and write case studies, and the practical skills for doing research at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Time commitment requested:8-12 hours per week [2-4 credits; negotiable]

Qualifications of student:

Students should be majors in psychology or majors relevant to the content of this project who are highly motivated, organized and reliable, detail-oriented, hard-working, passionate about the topic, genuinely interested in gaining research experience, and capable of working as a part of a team of researchers. Students who want to make a 2-semester commitment are especially encouraged to apply. Some previous research experience and writing skills preferred.

Credit Offered:yes
Money: yes (negotiable)
Experience only: no     
Workstudy: no

 



Project Director:Julie Lumeng, MD, Katherine Rosenblum, PhD, Alison Miller, PhD
Alternate Contact: Sara Johnson
Email:MaternalFeeding@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:The Maternal Feeding Study

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental

Project Description:
The current longitudinal study examines maternal feeding styles, parenting behavior, and childhood obesity in mothers and their preschool-aged children. The goal of the study is to characterize maternal feeding styles in families of low socioeconomic status and address gaps in the current literature surrounding childhood obesity. Participating families agree to a series of semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, recorded mealtimes, and a food experiment located both on campus and in the field. These protocols occur during the day and/or into the later afternoon in communities up to 1.5 hours from Ann Arbor, and this position therefore requires availability in the evening. Data collection occurs in a family's home and in child care settings. Undergraduate students are needed to work in the field as aides to the research assistants conducting protocol. Duties may include helping with preparation of research materials (weighing food, setting up protocols), engaging with the mothers and their children, providing activities for the children while their mothers participate in research, and other office tasks (phone calls).

Time commitment requested:   4-10 hours per week, more if interested; most times will be during the evening between the hours of 3-7pm. Must be willing to accompany research assistant into the field (transportation provided).

Qualifications of student:
Interested students must show initiative, be professional, motivated, personable, and comfortable around small children. Psychology and outside majors applicable. Competition of a background check will be performed before student can go into field.

Credit Offered:   no
Money: no
Experience only: yes
Workstudy:yes

 

 

Health Organizational

Project Director: Robert A. Zucker Ph.D. and Brian M. Hicks Ph.D.
Alternate Contact: Cynthia Leacock Email: cleacock@med.umich.edu


Overall Title of Project: Brief Intervention Lab

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Health Organizational

Project Description:  Brief Intervention Lab

Studies in this lab research the effectiveness of a brief intervention for younger patients in Primary Care or in the Emergency Room. The research examines whether or not a 10-15 minutes psycho-educational intervention change or prevent behaviors such as risky behaviors, violence, and substance abuse.  Some of the work compares outcomes of a brief intervention delivered by a clinician to a brief intervention delivered by a computer-based module. Students help with participant recruitment, completing follow up surveys by phone, maintaining participant contact, data entry, and filing.

Location: North Campus Research Complex


Time commitment requested: Students should be doing 7.5 hours of lab work a week

(97.5 total for the semester).


Qualifications of student: We only accept students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, who are committed to learning about research. Helpful prerequisites (not required but suggested) are Intro to Psychopathology, Stats 250, and Psych 303 - Research Methods in Psychology (you may take these at the same time as the lab). An interview is required.

Credit Offered: yes
Experience only:
no
Money:
no
Work-study:
no

 

Personality

Project Director: Ben Blankenship (Graduate Student)
Email: btblanke@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project: Race and Sexuality in Context Lab

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Personality & Social Context, Race & Sexuality

 

Project Description: 

This project is looking at the intersection between race and sexuality and how these two identities intersect to impact outcomes, such as personality, academics, and motivation. The current goal of the lab is to gather data on LGB (Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual) Asian/Asian-American individuals. We seeks to understand how these identities interact to impact academic outcomes. Future research interests may include other sexual/racial identity combinations and/or other outcomes, including personality, sexual behavior, and other motivational/performance outcomes.     

Time commitment requested: Under 6hrs/week   

Qualifications of student: 

Motivated, detail-oriented, and hard-working students in psychology, women's studies, or education are encouraged to apply, although all students with interest are encouraged to apply. Students are requested to make a 1 semester trial commitment, after which a longer commitment (for research credit) may be offered. Interested applicants should complete the online application at:

 

Credit Offered: Not in first semester. 
Money: No
Experience only: No
Workstudy: No

 


 

Project Director:Adena Rottenstein
Email: adena@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:Psychology of Disability Research Lab

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Personality

Major area of Psychology in which this project is located: Social, Health, Education and Psychology

Project Description:
Psychologists have long viewed the experience of disability from a medical/clinical perspective focusing on perceived losses or limitations, and seeking to “help” people to adjust to their conditions. The Psychology of Disability research lab runs counter to that perspective, and utilizes what is known as the Social Model of Disability to argue that people with disabilities should be seen as a minority group united not by their particular impairments, but by their shared experiences in navigating a physical, social, and political environment which, in general, is not suited to their needs. We have a number of projects which explore the experience of disability from this perspective, including work on disability identity, disability stigma & prejudice, and disability activism. We also collaborate with a number of different research labs in psychology and with other on and off campus groups. If you are interested in joining the lab, please check out our webpage and click on the "Join Our Lab!" link. It will review in more details the responsibilities of URAs as well as provide instructions for how to formally apply for a position.

Time commitment requested:5-15 hours of independent work + 1 hour mandatory lab meeting per week. Course credit is available to students who remain in the lab for more than one semester.

Qualifications of student:
Interested students must be self-motivated, organized, and able to effectively communicate with others. Familiarity with disability studies in addition to psychology research methods is preferred, but not required – if you’re willing to work, we will teach you!

Credit Offered:Maybe
Money: No
Experience only: No
Workstudy: No

Social

Project Director:

Felecia Webb (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)

Email: frwebb@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:  Mood, Heart Rate, and Blood Pressure 

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:  Social

Major area of Psychology in which this project is located:  Social

Project Description:

This study will examine how stress related to racial discrimination impacts mental and physical health. Students will assist in data collection for a research experiment that examines the relationships among stress, emotions, and physiological arousal (e.g., blood pressure). Students will assist in data collection and data entry, and receive training in the measurement of heart rate/skin conductance.

Time commitment requested:

6-9 hours per week for Fall 2014 and Winter 2015.

Qualifications of student:

Students must be highly motivated, reliable, willing to learn, have a flexible schedule, and feel comfortable interacting with people. Preference will be given to students who are available for both Fall and Winter semesters. Female students are especially encouraged to apply.

Credit offered: yes

Money: no

Experience only: yes

Workstudy: no

________________________________________________________________________

Project Director: Dr. Joshua Ackerman

Contact: Elizabeth Kovan, Lab Manager (epkovan@umich.edu)

Overall Title of Project: Evolutionary Social Psychology: Confronting Ancestral Problems

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social

Throughout the whole of human history, people have faced a number of fundamental problems and been influenced by a wide variety of thoughts, emotions, and environments, often in ways they don’t consciously consider or understand. In this lab, we will conduct experimental research that investigates how our evolutionary history and mental processes affect impressions and decisions. Specifically, we will study issues and behaviors relating to concerns about contagious disease, personal self-control, and attraction between people. Our primary focus will be on the role that disease threats and personal germ sensitivities play on social psychological outcomes ranging from visual attention and memory to group attitudes and behaviors.

Students will be involved with developing research hypotheses, learning specific theories, and (especially) collecting experimental data. RAs will work on multiple studies over the semester. This is a great opportunity for students with a background in psychology and ideally suited for people interested in graduate school for social or evolutionary psychology.

Prerequisites: Basic computer knowledge (PC/Windows). Experience with research software (such as Qualtrics, Medialab, DirectRT) and website design is helpful, but not required. Must be dependable, conscientious, have an outgoing personality and strong public speaking skills. Also, you should be comfortable with memorizing and reciting scripts, as some studies require this.

Time: Approx 7-10 hours per week. Time will be scheduled in multi-hour blocks during the week. Weekly meetings will be held on Mondays from 3:30-4:30, and attendance at these is required.

 

Credit Offered: Yes

Money: No

Experience Only: Possibly

Workstudy: No

________________________________________________________________________

Project Director:
Denise Sekaquaptewa
Email: dsekaqua@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:
Microaggressions in engineering student group project teams

Major area of Psychology in which this project is located:
Social

Project Description:
A RESEARCH ASSISTANT is needed for a project involving
microaggressions in engineering student group project teams. The
project examines microaggressions, defined as brief, everyday
exchanges that send negative messages to certain individuals because
of their social identity such as their gender or race. Examples of
everyday microaggressions include people expressing surprise that a
woman is a surgeon or a man is a nurse;  when a Black student is
assumed to have an athletic scholarship; when an Asian American person
hears “Your English is very good”; when children playing sports are
warned not to “throw like a girl”; and people making stereotypic jokes
about race or gender.  Our goal is to examine what types of
microaggressions emerge among students in science and engineering
fields, and how they affect students' performance and persistence in
these fields.
The Research Assistant will view and code videotaped footage of mixed
gender teams working on an engineering project, as well help develop
materials for an experiment on this topic.  Because the project
involves videotaped experimental interactions, familiarity with
computer video applications such as iMovie or Quicktime is a plus.

Time commitment requested:
Six to ten hours per week for up to two semesters beginning January 2015.

Qualifications of student:
The ideal candidate for this position will have research experience
(e.g., working in a faculty member’s lab, UROP, or completing a
research methods lab course), and will have excellent organizational
and communication skills.  We seek a person who can multi-task, pays
attention to detail, and who has a professional demeanor and high
personal standards. Experience with computer video applications (e.g.,
iMovie, Quicktime) as well other computer programs (including Excel,
SPSS, and Qualtrics) is preferred.  Applicants should have strong
interest in the topic of the research.  This position is offered for
course credit, hourly pay, or volunteer.

Credit offered: yes
Money: yes
Experience only: yes
Workstudy: yes

 

_________________________________________________________________________

 

Project Directors: Dr. Allison Earl and Michael Hall

Email: mikeph@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project: Social Attitudes and Influence: Selective Exposure and Attention

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social

 

Project Description: Are you interested in why people have specific attitudes and beliefs? Do you want to know why people pay attention to certain messages while ignoring others? In the Health, Attitudes, and Influence Lab, we examine when, why, and how people pay attention to certain messages, particularly when related to contentious issues or information—we also look at when, why, and how these messages may be ignored entirely. This project examines how individuals process both agreeable and disagreeable information about political and social issues. In a recent study that was conducted for this project, we collected data from many participants about their reactions to specific arguments that they read, and now we’d like to be able to aggregate those responses and understand how individuals reacted to these different kinds of arguments. Therefore, this project for the Spring and Summer terms of 2014 is focused on coding this free response data so that it is ready for data analysis. This project will involve learning a fairly simple coding system for participant responses, reading those responses, and making decisions about how to categorize those responses. If interested in continuing to work on research into the Fall 2014 semester, further research work on this project would involve running additional human subjects through new studies.

 

Time commitment requested: 9-12 hours per week

 

Qualifications of student:

Students should be considering or declared Psychology, Neuroscience, or BCN majors (although students from all backgrounds will be evaluated on a case by case basis) who are extremely motivated, hard-working, detail oriented, punctual, and comfortable interacting with others. Applicants should have basic computer skills, and experience with Excel and Qualtrics is preferred. Students who are interested in continuing to work as a research assistant through the 2014-2015 academic school year are especially encouraged to apply. Prior research experience is preferred but not required. Strong written and oral communication skills are essential.

  

Credit Offered: Yes (2-4 credits negotiable)
Money: No
Experience only: Negotiable
Workstudy: No

 

 


Project Directors:  Dr. Rona Carter
Alternate Contact: Ariel Britt
Email
carter.lab@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project: Adolescents and Interpersonal Relationships Research
Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Developmental, Social

Project Description:Our research is devoted to understanding how pubertal development is related to and transforms interpersonal relationships.  We use this understanding to improve adolescent girls’ well-being (mental health and sexual decision making).   Special attention is devoted to the experiences of culturally diverse girls. Our research has importance for understanding the relational and social contexts of girls’ development and adjustment such as how girls negotiate aspects of their interpersonal relationships when making their sexual decisions.  

Time commitment requested: 6 hours per week 

Qualifications of student: 

  1. Dependable, motivated, and interested in research;
  2. Interested in social science (and have taken some social science classes);
  3. Comfortable working with people;
  4. Very detail-oriented and good at multi-tasking;
  5. Good written and verbal communication skills;
  6. Able to work in a team environment but also show leadership;
  7. Available for at least two semesters

 

Credit Offered: yes
Money: no
Experience only: maybe
Workstudy: no

 


 

Project Director: Daniel Porter
Email: djoepo@umich.edu

Title of Project: Altruistic Help Rejection

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social Psychology
Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

Project Description:
We reject help for many reasons. The current project is examining potential prosocial or altruistic motivations underlying this decision making process. For example, you might turn down a ride from a friend so that they don’t have to go out of their way to drop you off. We are particularly interested in how the recipient’s current emotional state, and whether the recipient takes the perspective of the helper, influences whether he or she accepts or rejects and offer of assistance.

Time commitment requested: Approx. 9hrs/week

Qualifications of student:
Student should be available to work over this summer. Interested students should possess good knowledge of Microsoft Excel and other basic computer programs. Experience working with human participants in a research setting is desirable, but not required. Students should be highly motivated, detail-oriented, organized, and dependable. They should also have a pleasant telephone manner and possess very good interpersonal skills. An interest in pursuing a career in psychological and behavioral research is a plus. Interested candidates should e-mail a resume or CV to djoepo@umich.edu

Credit Offered? yes
Experience Only? no
Money Offered? no
Work-Study Employment Offered? no

 


 

Project Director:

Denise Sekaquaptewa

Email: dsekaqua@umich.edu

 

Overall Title of Project:

Stereotypic Attribution Bias among Women in Science & Engineering

 

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:

Social

Major area of Psychology in which this project is located:

Social

 

Project Description:

A RESEARCH ASSISTANT is needed for a project involving stereotypes and women in science and engineering. The project examines an unintended tendency for women in male-dominated domains such as science & engineering to implicitly discount their successes to external factors such as luck, but to attribute their set-backs to ability, as a result of stereotypes about women’s lower achievement and ability in these fields.  The Research Assistant will help with coding and entering data, recruiting participants, running experiments, and will also attend lab meetings.

 

Time commitment requested:

6-9 hours per week for Winter 2014.

 

Qualifications of student:

The ideal candidate for this position will have research experience (e.g., working in a faculty member’s lab, or on an undergraduate thesis project), and will have excellent organizational and communication skills.  We seek a person who can multi-task, pays attention to detail, and who has a professional demeanor and high personal standards.  The research assistant must also be able to work independently.  Experience with computer programs (including Powerpoint, Qualtrics, Excel, SPSS) is preferred.  Applicants should have strong interest in the topic of the research.

 

Credit offered: yes

Money: no

Experience only: yes

Workstudy: no

 


 

Project Director:

Denise Sekaquaptewa

Email: dsekaqua@umich.edu

 

Overall Title of Project:

Developing strategies to reduce stereotyping in engineering student group project teams

 

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:

Social

Major area of Psychology in which this project is located:

Social

 

Project Description:

A RESEARCH ASSISTANT is needed for a project involving gender stereotypes in science and engineering. The project examines a tendency for students in engineering group project teams to adopt gender stereotypic roles (men as “experts”, women as “supporters”), and will test interventions to reduce stereotyping in these teams.  The Research Assistant will help to recruit participants, run experiments, code and enter data, and attend lab meetings.  Because the project involves videotaped experimental sessions, familiarity with computer video applications such as iMovie or Quicktime is a plus. 

 

Time commitment requested:

Up to ten hours per week for up to two semesters beginning January 2014.

 

Qualifications of student:

The ideal candidate for this position will have research experience (e.g., working in a faculty member’s lab, UROP, or completing a research methods lab course), and will have excellent organizational and communication skills.  We seek a person who can multi-task, pays attention to detail, and who has a professional demeanor and high personal standards. Experience with computer video applications (e.g., iMovie, Quicktime) as well other computer programs (including Excel, SPSS, and Qualtrics) is preferred.  Applicants should have strong interest in the topic of the research.  

 

Credit offered: yes

Money: yes

Experience only: yes

Workstudy: yes

 


 

Project Director: Sheida Novin

Email: sheidanf@umich.edu

Project title: Cultural influence on cognitive processes in college students and children

Major area in which the project is located: Social Psychology

Project Description:

The aim of the project is to examine the consequences of culture on cognitive processes by using experimental methodology.  In the lab we will run studies among college students and in the field we will run studies among 9 to 13-year old children to examine how cultural mindsets influence cognitive strategies.

 

The responsibilities of the research assistants are assisting in data collection and in the lab on campus and at the children’s schools. The research assistants will have the responsibility to run a lab study independently, which involves setting up the experiment in the lab rooms, instructing the participants, answering questions when needed, and providing participants their credits. At schools, the research assistants will have the responsibility to interact with the children and administrating questionnaires. Once data collection is completed, research assistants will assist in data entry in statistical programs and are given the opportunity to perform statistical analyses with help from the supervisor. We ask that research assistants are available for a 4-hour block every week in order to assist data collection at the schools. The research group will meet every week for one or two hours.

 

Time commitment requested: 6-8 hours per week

 

Qualifications of research assistants

Research assistants (preferably enrolled in Social Sciences) applying should be socially skilled, patient when working with participants (including children!), verbally strong for explaining the project, and have a positive attitude when running a study in the lab and interviewing children independently. A general sense of responsibility (e.g., showing up at appointments on time and not cancelling at the last minute) is highly required. We prefer research assistants with an Arabic background and who are able to speak Arabic, given that children’s background will be Arabic. Must commit for the Fall semester.

 

Credit offered: yes

Money: no

Experience only: yes

Workstudy: no

 

 


 

Project Director:Brian Vickers and Stephanie Carpenter
Email: EmotionDM@umich.edu
Alternate Contact:Phoebe Ellsworth & Ethan Kross

Overall Title of Project:The illusion of choice: Emotions influence your decisions without your knowledge!

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social and cognitive.

Related area(s) of Psychology in which this project is located: Affective sciences, judgment and decision making.

Project Description: Have you ever noticed that your friends sometimes make strange, inconsistent choices? Why are some people terrified of flying even though they can tell you that there's a very low risk of them being harmed? Why does the cupcake in the pastry case look so good on some days but not others? We investigate how choices are significantly impacted by influences we don't even notice. Economists have long believed that people are ultimately rational, weighing the pros and cons of our classes, friends, and jobs. Our research shows just the opposite, in the vein of "Freakonomics", "Blink", and "Gut Feelings". We have shown that where you go to lunch can change the kind of camera you want, that a visit to the doctor's office can make you choose the train to Chicago over the Megabus, and that being impulsive can sometimes be the same as self-controlled. In our experiments we're trying to understand the many ways in which emotions and seemingly small experiences change the way people feel and decide. On one end we try to see how far we can push people's choices in ways they don't notice, and on the other we're trying to figure out how people regulate their emotions and overcome these problematic biases. With your help we can understand and improve how people make choices both in the real world and in the clinic, where emotions go awry and affective regulation is more important than ever. Motivated students with or without experience are encouraged to apply. Students on the project will primarily be involved in running participants through experimental paradigms, creating and organizing spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel and SPSS, and performing literature reviews. If interested, research assistants can take the initiative to help with statistical analysis and interpretation, programming, drafting write-ups, and learning to develop new research questions and experimental paradigms based on your interests. We build in the flexibility to allow you to take on as much or as little responsibility as you would like.

Time commitment requested:8 - 12 hours

Qualifications of student:Motivated, detail-oriented, and hard-working students in psychology, neuroscience, or business are encouraged to apply, although all students with interest are encouraged to apply. Students are requested to make a 2 semester or longer commitment. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter describing why you are interested in the research described here, a resume and unofficial transcripts to EmotionDM@umich.edu.

Credit offered:Yes (2 - 4 credits; negotiable)
Money: Work-study only
Experience only:Yes
Workstudy: Yes

 


 

Project Director:Patricia Gurin
Email: pgurin@umich.edu
Overall Title of Project:A Multi-University Evaluation of the Educational Benefits of Intergroup Dialogue

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social

Project Description:
Ever wondered whether intergroup dialogue really works? Does interacting with members of different race, ethnic or gender groups actually change the way we think about the world? The Program on Intergroup Relations is seeking research assistance during the fall term for a 10-university intergroup dialogue research project. This large-scale randomized-controlled evaluation utilizes both quantitative and qualitative assessments to examine not only whether intergroup dialogue really works but also which psychological processes are most influential in producing positive intergroup outcomes. Research assistants will work closely with Professor Patricia Gurin (Principal Investigator) and her research team on the qualitative coding of student final papers and videotaped dialogue sessions and/or the quantitative analysis of longitudinal survey data obtained from intergroup dialogue participants across 9 universities. For a brief description of the research project, please see our webpage: http://www.igr.umich.edu/experiments.html.

Time commitment requested:6-9 hours per week throughout the term, for 2-3 credits. Must also attend a two-hour seminar on intergroup relations

Qualifications of student:
Interested students must be motivated, punctual, organized and possess a genuine interest in intergroup dialogue or intergroup relations more generally. No previous research experience is required.

Credit Offered: Yes
Money: No
Experience only: No     
Workstudy: Yes

 


 

Project Director:David Lee
Email:dsjlee@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:   Seeing Friendliness in Negative Feedback

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located:  Social

Project Description:
When people meet a stranger, they need to quickly distinguish whether that person is going to be a friend or an enemy, as connecting with an enemy can be disastrous. Because of this, we frequently try to obtain information about others to predict what they might be like. In this project, we investigate what kind of cues people use to assess friendliness in others. The experiments will include interacting with participants, administering paper-based surveys, and behavioral measures. Research assistants will be responsible for preparing experimental materials, running subjects, and entering and coding data.

Time commitment requested:   6-9 hours per week

Qualifications of student:
We are looking for students who are reliable, punctual, detail-oriented, and motivated to gain research experience. Good communication and organization skills and knowledge of some basic computer skills are also required.

Credit Offered:Yes     
Money: No
Experience only: No    
Workstudy: No

 


 

Project Director:Oscar Ybarra
Email:oybarra@umich.edu
Alternate Contact:David Lee
Email:dsjlee@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:Social Factors in Decision Making

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social

Project Description:
Standard economic perspectives tend to assume that people are always rational. However, research in social psychology has shown in many studies that people at times make decisions that do not make perfect economic sense, for example, forgoing large long-term benefits for smaller short-term ones. At times people run into this kind of trouble because of the involvement of other people – other people have a way of influencing us to make less than optimal decisions because they can trigger motives such as competition, altruism, or a veritable buffet of emotions that affect thinking. In this study, we are exploring the idea that social factors, in particular secure and supportive social relations, can make people more “rational.” The experiments will include interacting with participants, administering computer-based surveys, and behavioral measures. Research assistants will be responsible for preparing experimental materials, running subjects, and entering and coding data.

Time commitment requested:   6-9 hours per week

Qualifications of student:
We are looking for students who are reliable, punctual, detail-oriented, and motivated to gain research experience. Good communication and organization skills and knowledge of some basic computer skills are also required.

Credit Offered:Yes     
Money: No
Experience only: No    
Workstudy: No

 


 

Project Director:Ed O'Brien
Email:obrieneh@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:Emotions: Experiencing and Thinking

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social

Project Description:
Don't believe everything you think! The Beatles famously sang that their troubles of yesterday seemed so far away - but were they right? Is the grass from the past really greener than today? In my lab, I examine the ways in which people think about emotions versus how their emotions are actually experienced. Whenever people remove themselves from the "here and now" - whether imagining their pasts and futures, taking the perspectives of other people, or contemplating decisions they should (or shouldn't) make - they tend to misremember and mispredict how these experiences actually feel. This is a problem: inaccurately thinking about emotional experiences can often lead to maladaptive psychological consequences. Will you really regret not asking your lab partner on a date? Was high school really as great as you think it was? Does time really fly when you have fun? Do other people really feel the same way you do? More than you might realize, the answers to these questions largely depend on situational factors outside of your own control - like the people you're with, your current mood, and your cultural background

This intersection of thinking and feeling - specifically, the causes and consequences of how we often inaccurately think about how we feel - is the major theme of my research. I aim to test these issues with laboratory experiments - with your help! Motivated students with or without experience are encouraged to apply. Working in the lab will provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to conduct research, summarize literature, interact with participants, and analyze data using statistics. I also am interested in your own opinions and insights into the various questions we will address, and I am happy to guide your own projects as well as supervise an Honors Thesis on your road to graduate school.

Time commitment requested:8-12 hours per week

Qualifications of student:

Students should be psychology majors (although students from all backgrounds are eligible) who are highly motivated, hard-working, care about even the smallest details, and passionate about discussing and researching the topics listed above. Students who want to make a 2-semester (or more) commitment are especially encouraged to apply. Prior research experience is preferred, but not required - you will be able to gain all the necessary skills from scratch.

Credit Offered:Yes (2-4 credits negotiable)
Money:       No
Experience only: No
Workstudy: No

 


 

Project Director:Shinobu Kitayama
Alternate Contact:Steven Tompson
Email:tompson@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:Cultural Neuroscience: Investigating the Social and Neural Bases of Social Cognition and Behavior

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social

Project Description:
Our research focuses on how culture and the brain dynamically interact to influence how people think and behave, as well as how the social environment influences neural processes. In order to investigate these issues, we employ a variety of neuroscience methodologies, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and genotyping. The goal of the current series of studies is to investigate how and why cultural and subcultural differences in cognition and behavior might occur. We focus on Eastern and Western cultures, as well as social class differences within the US. Effects we investigate include attribution of social behavior, self-referential processing, conflict detection and error monitoring, and emotion regulation.

Students will have the opportunity to be involved in some aspects of the project, based on experience and personal fit: data analysis, design and programming of new experiments, and literature review. Additionally, students will learn how to use an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain waves, help to schedule and run participants using EEG, analyze the EEG and behavioral data using MATLAB, EEGLab, and SPSS, and attend weekly lab meetings. Students will learn how to conduct research using behavioral and neuroscience methodology, work as part of a team, and will be encouraged to think creatively and independently. Those working for course credit will receive guidance on writing a paper and/or preparing a poster presenting the results.

Time commitment requested:   7-10 hours per week

Qualifications of student:

Students must be motivated, independent, reliable, and organized. Students should be willing to learn. The most successful students will be those interested in the project and in learning social psychological as well as neuroscience methods. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are required, as is advanced computer proficiency (e.g., programming, MATLAB, SPSS, etc.).

Credit Offered:Yes
Money: No
Experience only: No
Workstudy: Yes

 


 

Project Director:Patricia Chen
Email:patchen@umich.edu

Overall Title of Project:You Are What You Assume!

Major area of Psychology in which these projects are located: Social

Project Description:
Looking at these project descriptions, are you most drawn in by the ones that fit most closely with your personal interests, or the ones that promise the greatest developmental experience? When you encounter a difficulty at school, how do you react to it? Is it always better to persist in the face of an obstacle or to know when to cut your losses and focus on things that you are naturally better at? In romantic relationships, would you prefer to look for your perfect soulmate, or for someone who is complementary enough, but will weather the ups and downs with you?

Across multiple domains, from education to relationships, our research pits the “practice makes perfect” stance against “finding your perfect match.” We look at not only how people view themselves as fixed or malleable, but also what their views about the environment are, and how the environment shapes these fundamental assumptions they hold. We are also interested in how culture may play a role in shaping different beliefs and assumptions about human nature and the environmental context.

If you’re someone who fits well with us because you care about these issues, or if you’d like to develop your research experience with a team of dedicated people, we welcome you to apply to the Ideas Lab! We are looking for capable, responsible, and highly motivated students to join our journey. As part of the team, you can expect to be involved in various stages of the research process. This includes experience in (1) research design (2) gaining expertise in the relevant literature (3) research methodology, possibly including online surveys, field research, and computer-based lab studies (4) collating and analyzing data (5) presenting your findings. If you make a commitment to us, and take the initiative to develop yourself through this process, we will make an equal commitment to you to facilitate that development.

Time commitment requested:6-9 hours per week (2-3 credits or Pass/Fail lab courses).

Qualifications of student:
We are looking for highly driven individuals who show responsibility and care in their work. You should be excited about the research process, and take initiative to learn as much as you can from this opportunity. Students with strong interest in social psychological topics and how they apply to daily life are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to those who are keen to commit for more than one semester, because this is the optimal period of time to develop the necessary skills for research. The lab is also very active during the summer months, and although we do not expect you to commit to those terms, we would love it if you can be a part of the process then. Previous research experience is preferred but not required, as I am more than happy to guide you through the learning process. There is ample room for people who work well in teams and for those who are more efficient working individually.