During my time at the Spelke Lab, I’ve seen the concepts learned from my Brandeis classes in a research setting. As an intern in a psychology lab, it’s been eye-opening to see the inner workings and realities of conducting research. As mentioned in my first blog, I’m working closely with a graduate student who works with children who have different levels of recognizing number words. We mostly work with preschoolers, and although we’ve had a variety of participants who have different levels of subset and cardinal principle knowers, we have had some difficulties recruiting children from a narrow and specific age range. Therefore, my mentor and I have been working to problem solve this gap in the data results. We are looking to recruit more children and follow up with families as there is no exact age for when children transition from being subset knowers to cardinal principle knowers. Additionally, a large majority of the families signed up for study recruitments come from a high socioeconomic background, which could explain why these children seem to be cardinal principle knowers at an early age. This summer internship has definitely given me a different perspective on how to work through these difficulties by consulting with others and exploring other methods of recruiting participants for studies.
In my psychology classes at Brandeis, we often discussed research papers, however, it often seemed like we skimmed through the methods section and focused more on the results and conclusions. However, now that I’m working more on the early development of research, I’ve seen firsthand the process that goes behind recruiting participants, consent forms and actually running the studies. It’s definitely been eye-opening as I get to see a different view of research and the work and time that goes into it.
Through my experience in the Harvard Developmental Psychology Labs, I have been able to build skills that will useful for me in the near future. Through book clubs, I have gotten used to reading published articles and am able to have meaningful conversations about the results and data that was found from previous studies. These weekly meetings have helped me to get comfortable with dissecting and understanding these articles that I will most likely encounter during my upper-level courses at Brandeis and graduate school. In addition, by learning more about the early development of these projects I feel much more prepared and equipped to begin thinking about how I will conduct my own projects when I pursue graduate studies.