There are several different volunteering tracks available in our lab for Tufts undergraduate students:
1) Lab experience for Tufts students (Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, research courses Psy 91/92, 191/192)
Time commitment: 12-16 hours/week; must be on weekdays some time from 9am-6pm.
Students start volunteering in the lab by the beginning of their Junior year at the latest and plan on staying with the lab for at least two semesters. The second semester is contingent on their performance during the first semester as well as the needs of the lab. Students who have volunteered for two semesters will be given preference/priority down the road over other student requests for Senior Honors theses or CBS Senior Projects.
2) Senior Honors Thesis
Occasionally, we will have exceptional students who will be invited to carry out a Senior Honors Thesis in the lab. The thesis is a research project that should be discussed with Dr. Kuperberg as well as another researcher in the lab carefully and this discussion needs to take place by the beginning of their Junior year. Students who do an honors thesis have already spent two semesters in the lab prior to the Spring semester of their Senior year, and must be willing to make a major time commitment (4 days/week) to complete an entire research project, write, and defend a thesis. Students will work closely with an experienced researcher in the lab who will provide day-to-day supervision on the project. Projects are closely related to existing work already being carried out in the lab. Please see http://ase.tufts.edu/psychology/undergradTheses.htm
3) Cognitive Brain Science major: Senior Research project
Time commitment: at least 12-16 hours/week and more as necessary
Cognitive Brain Science majors have a graduation requirement to complete a year-long research experience and present their work at a poster session at the end of the year. We get many requests from students and have limited space and resources, so we may not be able to accommodate all requests. We prioritize requests from students who:
- have already worked in the lab
- may not have worked 2 full semesters in the lab but have worked closely with one of the lab’s collaborators from within the Cognitive Brain Science program and have come with a recommendation
- contact Dr. Kuperberg in the Spring semester of their Junior year to plan this well ahead of time.
The research project is something that should be discussed with Dr. Kuperberg as well as another researcher in the lab carefully and this discussion needs to take place in the Spring semester of the junior year. Projects must be closely related to existing work already being carried out in the lab.
4) Summer Volunteers (Tufts students and other students)
Time commitment: at least 4 days/week if you have not worked in the lab before. We welcome summer volunteers in our lab, both from Tufts and other schools. If you are new to the lab and are not planning to continue volunteering over the semester, we require a substantial time commitment of at least four full days per week for at least two full months of the summer. This time commitment is important because it will take time to train and integrate you into the lab, and to prepare the necessary paperwork for you to work with human subjects. Please contact the lab to fill out an application.
Existing lab interns who are interested in continuing to volunteer over the summer should consider the Tufts Summer Scholars program (http://uss.tufts.edu/undergradEducation/research/summer_scholars/about.asp). The application process for this program starts early in spring semester, so please contact Dr. Kuperberg well in advance to discuss this opportunity.
Please read the FAQs below for more information about the requisites for volunteering in the lab.
Prerequisites to working in lab/research program:
The primary requirements are a strong interest in language and the brain, responsibility, reliability, the ability to manage your own time and to work independently. Some psychology courses, particularly statistics courses, are useful but not necessary.
Expectations for working in lab/research program:
Your time commitment in the lab will depend on which volunteering track you choose (see above). In general, hours must be scheduled from 9am-6pm Monday through Friday at 12-16 hours per week (or 1.5 days). These can be divided into a full day and a half day, or three half days. These times should be arranged with the lab ahead of time so we know when to expect you. In addition, we ask that you attend lab meetings (Mondays 4:00pm).
What would I do if I worked in the lab?
You might be involved in making up stimuli for experiments (e.g. sentences and short stories), recruiting and running subjects for rating and behavioral studies, recruiting and running subjects using event-related potentials (once you are trained). More advanced students might also be involved in brain scanning studies (fMRI studies) that take place at the Martinos Center in Charlestown. Moreover, you will be asked to help in general lab duties, such as maintaining callback lists, creating slides, and organizing study materials. Students doing a Senior Research Project or a Senior Thesis will primarily be working on running their own research projects.
What kinds of projects might I be involved with in the lab?
We have a number of ongoing projects in the lab. They mainly revolve around the broad question of how we use language to build up meaning. These projects are mainly led by graduate students and postdocs. You would work primarily with one of these researchers. Check out our abstract list and posters from conferences on our publications page to look at the kinds of projects that are ongoing.
Can I get course credit for carrying out research in the lab?
Yes. You can register for courses Psy 91 and 92 (one per semester) if research is relatively new to you. More experienced students can take Psy 191 and 192.
N.B. No more than two independent study type courses (Psychology 91 & 92, or 191 & 192, or 97 & 98, or 197 & 198, or 199) may be counted toward a Psychology major.
Can I carry out my own independent research project in the lab?
Please see Senior Honors Thesis and Senior Research Project sections for Undergraduate tracks. If you choose to do independent research, your project must be related to work currently being done at the lab.
Will I get direct clinical experience while working in the lab?
Most of the work we do is basic cognitive neuroscience and psycholinguistics. It is not directly clinical. Sometimes we run studies with patients with schizophrenia. This would give an opportunity to interact with such patients. However, it is not a direct clinical experience.
What else should I know before joining the lab?
Please browse this website and look around.
Can I get paid for working in the lab?
Not during the semester. If you are interested in working in the lab during the summer, you can apply for a summer scholarship from Tufts.
For more details, see the Tufts Summer Scholars Program.
Is it possible to conduct clinical research in a clinical research center?
You can arrange your own clinical research internship for Psy 99 (Pass/Fail) credit as described below.
For those students who are Clinical Psychology Majors and who are particularly interested in getting clinical research experience, it may be possible to set up a clinical research placement as part of the Psy 181/182 internship in your Senior Year.
Click here for more details about the Clinical Psychology Major.
Click here for more details about Psy 181/182.
Can I get course credit for carrying out guided reading in the lab?
Yes. You can register for Psy 97 and 98 (one for each semester). If you are more senior, you can register for Psy 197 and 198 (again, one per semester). This is usually possible in our lab if the chosen subject is directly related to a topic that we are investigating in the lab. We will come up with a complete reading list and, at the end, you will be expected to write a full review with references on this subject.
I am interested in organizing my own research or my own internship off campus. Can I get course credit for this?
If you organize your own placement, then you can register for Psy 99. This requires you to spend at least 12 hours per week in your placement. If you want Dr. Kuperberg to approve you for this, you need to provide her with (a) a written statement explaining exactly what you plan to do and how much time you plan to spend in this placement; (b) a letter from your supervisor at your placement confirming that he/she will supervise you; (c) a paper, at the end of your placement, describing the work you did and your experience.
Psy 99 is for Pass/Fail only and does not count towards the Psychology Major.