Crockett Lab RA Positions Available
The Crockett Lab currently has openings for Yale undergraduates to help us study human morality, altruism and decision-making and its neural basis. Undergraduate RAs attend our weekly lab meetings and gain experience in all aspects of our research, including experimental design, data collection, data analysis, and communicating our findings to the scientific community and general public. Current questions we are investigating include:
- What makes someone a hypocrite?
- How does social media affect our moral emotions?
- How do people evaluate the artwork of immoral artists?
- How do we learn whether someone is trustworthy?
- How do we deceive others – and ourselves?
- Can we predict moral choices from brain activity?
We address these questions and more using a variety of methods, including behavioral experiments in the lab and online, brain imaging, and field experiments (studying human behavior “in the wild”, e.g. at museums and festivals like Burning Man). To learn more about our research, take a look at our publications. If this sounds interesting to you, please read on!
As well as participating in ongoing research, Crockett Lab RAs are encouraged to develop their own projects. In recent years, our RAs have co-authored papers in scientific journals and presented their research at international meetings. These positions are ideal for students who eventually wish to do a senior thesis with the lab, as well as students who are considering pursuing research careers after graduation. Past RAs have gone on to gain positions as paid lab managers and top PhD programs in psychology and neuroscience.
As a general rule (with some exceptions for advanced computer programmers), RA positions begin on a volunteer basis for at least one semester. These positions involve ~5-10 hours per week on average, although this can vary from week to week depending on the project. After demonstrating a commitment to the lab, RAs can earn academic credit for their research via Directed Research courses. Paid summer RA positions may also become available, depending on funding.
Ideal candidates for these positions:
- Are enthusiastic about studying the social mind and brain using a variety of methods, and have a deep curiosity about human nature;
- Are familiar with research methods in psychology and/or neuroscience, either through coursework or past research experience;
- Enjoy working in teams;
- Are well organized with a high level of attention to detail;
- Are familiar and comfortable working with computers (including word processors, spreadsheets, graphics programs, etc.). Fluency in scientific computing languages (e.g. Matlab, Python, Java, R, shell scripting) would be a plus, but certainly isn't required.
If you would like to apply for an RA position in our lab, please attend our first lab meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4th, 11-12:30 (Location: Kirtland Hall 207) where we will showcase all of our current projects. (This will be our regular lab meeting time; if you are not able to attend this first meeting, please email Prof Crockett to arrange a separate introductory meeting). After the meeting, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Crockett Lab RA application: Lastname” and containing the following information by Monday, Sept. 10:
- What is your name, email address, major (if you have one), and class year at Yale?
- Are you able to attend lab meetings on Tuesdays 11-12:30?
- Why are you interested in gaining research experience?
- What specific lab projects are you especially excited about, and why? Do you have any past experiences that make you particularly qualified for these projects?
- What relevant courses have you taken?
- Please describe any prior research experience you've had, including your specific responsibilities in the projects you’ve assisted with.
- Do you have experience with any form of computer programming? If so, please describe what languages you are comfortable with and your level of experience. If not, are you interested in learning?
- Do you have any ideas for follow-up studies based on our lab’s published research?
Please note that we are looking for students with all levels of experience, particularly underclassmen, so please do consider applying if you are excited about our research, even if you are a first-year student and don’t have any prior research experience!
If you are considering attending our first lab meeting on 9/4, please let us know here so we can get a rough idea of numbers.