Joining Our Lab
Joining our lab as a graduate student will offer you a strong cognitive neuroscience and psycholinguistic training, and will give you insights into the use of multimodal neuroimaging methods to address fundamental questions of how the brain builds up meaning. Depending on a student’s interest during his/her graduate career, he/she may focus on developing ERP projects in healthy individuals, may apply these paradigms to learn how language processing goes awry in schizophrenia, and/or may complement his or her training in ERPs with training in fMRI at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.
The types of studies that our graduate students and post-docs undertake in our lab often use novel and exciting experimental designs to examine the neural basis of verbal and non-verbal comprehension in the ‘real-world’. Here are some examples of recent projects:
- Pitting semantic associations between individual words against sentence meaning as a whole (e.g. “Every morning for breakfast the eggs would eat toast and jam”). Question: when, where and how does semantic memory structure interact with the build-up of sentence meaning?
- Reading mini-stories requiring the generation of ‘bridging inferences’ to link sentences together (e.g. “John got very angry. The next day Jack was covered in bruises”). Question: when, where and how is information retrieved from long-term memory to build coherence across sentences?
- Reading emotionally salient mini-stories (e.g. “Jane waited in the hotel room. The man entered with a gun/rose/tray”). Question: how do we use language to comprehend and make predictions about emotional and social situations?
- Examining relationships between time and space and causation in language (e.g., "The professor distributed/discussed the exam. After one second/minute/year, the exam began in the classroom"). Question: how do we track dynamic information as a story unfolds?
- Watching short, silent video-clips of every-day events (e.g. click here). Question: how to we build up meaning during real-world visual comprehension?
Graduate students who have some research experience in experimental psychology, psycholinguistics or cognitive neuroscience, particularly those who have worked as a research assistant, are encouraged to apply to the program. In addition to applying to the psychology graduate program at Tufts University, please e-mail Dr. Kuperberg if you are interested in joining the lab.
Postdocs and fellows who have a strong PhD graduate training and research experience in language, semantic and discourse processing are encouraged to contact Dr. Kuperberg about open post-doc positions. We are particularly interested in applications from PhDs with research experience in higher-level language processing, including those who have carried out psycholinguistic work examining the semantic-syntactic interface, figurative language, and mechanisms of establishing discourse cohesion and coherence across sentences. Although it can be a plus, it is not necessary to have a training in ERPs and fMRI or to know about language in schizophrenia. One of the advantages of joining the lab is that it will give you training in these methodologies and will give you insights into how questions about the neural basis of normal language processing can have important implications for understanding the neurocognitive basis of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Post-docs and fellows from the US or other countries who are interested in applying for independent grants to join the lab are also encouraged to contact Dr. Kuperberg.
Residents in psychiatry and medical students who are interested in the cognitive neuroscience of schizophrenia are also welcome to join the lab. There are generally two paths that residents and medical students generally take. The first is to be primarily involved in clinical aspects of studies including patient recruitment, patient clinical assessment and coordination of studies in patients with schizophrenia. The second is to be primarily involved in cognitive neuroscience aspects of the work we are conducting. Please contact Dr. Kuperberg if you are interested in joining the lab.
The responsibilities of an RA are very varied and involve the coordination of all aspects of research projects, ranging from neuroimaging (fMRI) and electrophysiology data acquisition (EEG) to administrative and lab coordination responsibilities. In addition to the intellectual reward, the position offers experience of research in experimental psychology, clinical applications and cognitive neuroscience. This is an ideal research opportunity for someone bound for Graduate School in Cognitive Neuroscience or Psycholinguistics.
(1) B.A., B.Sc. or M.Sc. degree in Experimental Psychology, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, or a closely related field
(2) Comfort with programs such as Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop and SPSS
(3) Some programming skills would be a plus, in C, MATLAB, and UNIX
(4) Must be self-motivated, resourceful, be able to multi-task, prioritize, be a team player and have strong communication (verbal and written) and interpersonal skills.
(5) A two-year time commitment is requested.