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:
1.5 days per week (Monday – Friday) is the minimum amount of time required to volunteer in our lab. This 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 4.30pm). It is also important that you commit to working in the lab for at least two semesters.
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.
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?
Yes. In your Senior year, a Senior Honors Thesis (Psy 199) is an ideal opportunity to conduct your own independent research project. It is a big commitment in time. It is recommended if you are interested in applying for PhD graduate programs after you leave school. In order to be eligible to conduct a senior honors thesis in our lab, you need to have worked for at least 2 semesters in 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 volunteer in the lab over the summer?
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 the full three months of the summer. This is 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. If you are willing to make this commitment, then please e-mail Dr. Kuperberg with a cover letter, explaining why you are interested in working in our lab, and a CV. Please include the names and contact details of three references. Your application will be reviewed by Dr. Kuperberg and other members of the lab.
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 get 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.