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Research Opportunities

research

Take advantage of the different kinds of academic experiences the Department offers by becoming an active member of our intellectual community.

  • Get to know the faculty. Our faculty is accessible to undergraduates, but you must seek them out. Doing so is worth the effort. Professors often serve as unofficial advisors and provide letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate programs.
  • One of the best ways to get to know the faculty is get involved in one of our research labs early in your undergraduate career.
  • Work with a faculty member as a research assistant, or take an independent study course.
  • Get to know some of the graduate students, many of whom you will meet as Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows or by taking advanced courses. Graduate students can give you advice about applying to graduate school.
  • Undergraduates are welcome at our colloquia; see the calendar of invited speakers.

Earn Money or Research Credits

Interested in contributing to scientific research and earning money at the same time? The Psychology Department at Boston College frequently conducts research studies on a variety of topics. Find a list of active studies or read about our research credit system through the Research Participation Credits page, or visit a lab page to see current studies.

Lab Positions


Dr. Sara Cordes’ Infant and Child Cognition Lab is looking for undergraduates who are interested in a work study position in our cognition lab on the Chestnut Hill Campus in McGuinn Hall. The lab’s main focus is examining how infants and children keep track of numbers and other quantities. Work study students focus on recruiting new subjects to participate in studies and come into the lab.  Responsibilities include finding contact information for local families, sending out mailings, posting flyers in nearby communities, contacting off-site locations such as preschools and after-school camps, and potentially attending local recruiting events such as fairs and festivals. There is an 8 hour a week minimum time commitment, but more time is preferred. If you would like to join our lab or have any questions, feel free to contact Emma Lazaroff at emma.lazaroff@bc.edu. If you want to become part of our team, please include a resume and an idea of what hours you can work along with your email. Psychology majors preferred.

The Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory (CANLAB; PI: Dr. Elizabeth Kensinger) is seeking a motivated, dedicated, and passionate psychology student (thesis student or volunteer) interested in studying the effects of psychophysiological arousal on long-term emotional memory (after a week or month, for example). The project involves collecting psychophysiological data (heart rate, sweating on the palms) while participants view emotional and neutral video clips. Participants will later retrieve details of the videos and rate their subjective sense of memory. Students will have the opportunity to tailor the project their individual interests. The research would take place during the 2016-2017 academic year (2 semesters required for data collection and analysis). To apply and learn more, please fill out the general CANLAB online application (https://www2.bc.edu/elizabeth-kensinger/RA_application.htm) and email Sarah Kark (kark@bc.edu) to indicate that you are interested in the project outlined above.

Dr. Larisa Heiphetz, a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Liane Young’s Morality Lab, is looking for motivated and enthusiastic volunteers interested in social, cognitive, and/or developmental psychology who would like to be research assistants in our lab for Spring 2016. Our lab is located on the Chestnut Hill Campus in McGuinn Hall. Research assistants volunteer for the first semester and then become eligible to receive Independent Study credit. This is a great opportunity for people looking to gain valuable research experience and to expand their knowledge in the fields of morality, religious cognition, and/or child development. Research assistants will work on projects investigating questions such as: How do children learn to reason about morality and religion? and, How is morality similar to and different from other kinds of beliefs that people have? We are looking for assistance with all aspects of the research process, including study design; data collection, coding, and entry; literature review; and much more. Research assistants will also have the opportunity to collect data off-site at the Boston Children’s Museum and/or the Acton Discovery Museums. The position is for 10 hours per week. If you would like to join our lab or have questions, feel free to contact Larisa Heiphetz at larisa.heiphetz@bc.edu. Please include a CV or resume, a brief paragraph about why you would like to work in the Morality Lab, and your likely schedule for the spring semester. Because there will be opportunities for data collection in Acton, please also indicate whether you would be willing and able to drive and/or take the commuter rail there once a week (the lab will reimburse travel expenses).

Dr. Elizabeth Kensinger’s Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab is looking for two or three undergraduate volunteers who are interested in sleep research, highly motivated and independent, and night owls. These research assistants would be involved in assisting in electrode placement on a participant for sleep monitoring and then working as a team to monitor polysomnography (records brain waves during sleep) on an overnight participant for the sleep portion of a research project starting next semester, Spring 2016. The time commitment would be an overnight approximately once week in the sleep lab on the 4th floor of McGuinn; the overnight hours would be approximately 10 pm until 8:30 am. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable independent research experience for those who have busy schedules during the day that prevent them from participating fully in a research laboratory. Because students will be handling the overnight sessions in teams, there will be the opportunity for each student to get some sleep during the night. If the student is interested in pursuing additional research using the sleep recordings, this position could also fulfill an independent study. There will also be an opportunity to work in the lab during the day, scoring and analyzing collected data from the project, if the applicant so desires, though this is not a requirement of the position. If you are interested in the position or have questions, please contact canlab@bc.edu and please include OVERNIGHT SLEEP RESEARCH in the email subject.

Dr. Ellen Winner's Arts and Mind Lab is looking for one or two highly motivated undergraduate research assistants to assist with research in the psychology of the arts. We are investigating many topics in the field including child and adult intuitions and judgments about visual art, effects of intensive musical training on children's executive functioning, development of complex theory of mind as measured through fairy tale understanding, adult judgments and attitudes about actors, and habits of mind in music and art education. Research assistants begin as volunteers and gain valuable experience by running experiments, helping with data scoring and analysis, discussing experiment design and theory in our meetings, and reviewing relevant literature. This experience is incredibly important for future graduate work in psychology, and research assistants have the option to do thesis projects. Some experience working with children is helpful; fluency in Mandarin or Spanish and/or access to a car are pluses. To apply, please visit http://www.ellenwinner.com/join-the-lab.html.