Teaching & Research Assistant Internships

Teaching Assistants

Upper level undergraduates have the opportunity to serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs) for our introductory course, Principles of Psychology 101 and/ or 102. The TA is to be present at all lectures and assists the instructor by grading exams, taking attendance, and is responsible for teaching one recitation section of the course. In addition to receiving four credits for your first TA experience, this is an ideal opportunity for prospective teachers and serves as a good review for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Applications are available in the Main Office or downloadable from our website.
Note: A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 is preferred.
Teaching Assitant Application Form

Research Assistants

Psychology is a truly interdisciplinary field. Our research focuses upon intriguing topics such the perception of lightness/darkness, motion, and pain; human memory and neural networks, cognitive development, romantic attachments, language, bird song, and the role of emotions in social judgement. Eligibility: Any registered Rutgers 3rd and 4th year student. The most important requirements are dedication and personal responsibility. Some computer experience may be required. Purpose of Research: Learn what research is about first-hand and on a one-to-one basis. The experience may enhance admission to graduate or professional schools or industry. Academic Incentive: Earn credits by arrangement with a faculty member that count toward your elective requirement for the major in psychology. Additionally, funds for student stipends and travel are available on a highly competitive basis from the Office of the Vice President for Undergraduate Education, Rutgers Undergraduate Research Fellows Program.

How to apply

Look through the list of labs to decide which lab best suits your interests. Speak to the individual faculty member about your intention and obtain his or her approval.

Available Research Opportunities

Dr. Paul Boxer
My program of research involves both lab-based and field-based work centering on the development and prevention of aggression, violence, and related risky behaviors (e.g., substance abuse). We will be conducting several new studies on a few different topics: 1) the effects of exposure to violence in the media and in the community; 2) the effects of school-based interventions for reducing aggressive and disruptive behavior; and 3) the development of aggression in very high-risk populations such as psychiatric inpatients and juvenile delinquents. Students who join my lab will be expected to participate in lab meetings, to assist in the coding and management of data, and to assist in the execution of various research projects. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with me as well as my graduate students and post-doctoral fellow. My goal is to provide students with a very active and engaging research experience.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Mei-Fang Cheng
Contrary to the long standing view, we now have evidence that the mature brain is capable of producing new neurons. We have recently documented that injury actually causes the mature brain to recapitulate embryonic development, namely, making new neurons to repair the damaged brain areas. Do these new neurons actually replace the lost ones. In other words, do new neurons help behavioral recovery. We are particularly interested in the role that social environments play in the recovery of brain functions. To address these questions and the underlying cellular mechanisms, we use the ring dove as the model. Our research methods include behavioral observation and a wide range of neuroscience bench techniques. Specific projects are tailored to the interests and background of each individual student, within the general scope of the ongoing research.*.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Mauricio Delgado
Research in the lab focuses on understanding the intrinsic relationship between rewards, punishments and human behavior. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in conjunction with physiological and behavioral measures to investigate how every day behavior can be shaped by different types of rewards and punishments. Studies range from simple processes that can be mapped on to current animal studies (e.g., learning that a stimulus predicts a reward), to more complex processes displayed during social interaction (e.g., learning to trust someone during an economic exchange). We welcome eager students interested in pursuing a career in the sciences. Computer experience is preferred.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Alan Gilchrist
Surface Lightness Perception: In our lab we study how the human visual system determines the color (specifically the gray level between white and black) of surfaces it sees. The eye has no detectors for the whiteness or blackness of a surface so it must make a computation based on the relative intensity of the various regions in the field of view. Undergraduate research assistants are needed to help create the stimulus displays,schedule subjects, test subjects, and analyze the data.
Prerequisite: Psy.372: Perception. Computer skills desirable.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Stephen Hanson
Categorization and Similarity: In our lab, we are studying basic processes of how humans categorize familiar stimuli such as faces. We have opportunities in this project for students interested in learning about computer creation and display of stimuli, basic issues in categorization and cognition. Students would learn relevant statistical analysis and help in running of subjects. Neural network models of learning: In our lab we are studying how sets of simplified neural networks could emulate human learning of concepts. We have opportunities in this project for students who would like to run simulations of neural networks, and do statistical analysis of their performance. Some familiarity with computers and computer languages (C, Splus, Matlab) would be desirable.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Dr. Kent Harber
I am interested in how people's emotions affect their perceptions and judgments, and am conducting three lines of research related to this theme. Social Support and the Perception of Threat: Disturbing things can appear larger, louder, and more long-lasting due to the strong emotions that they evoke. I am interested in how social support can help correct for these exaggerated perceptions. Disclosure and Forgiveness : People hold grudges because of the strong emotions evoked by an offence. I am exploring how disclosing or suppressing emotions about an offender can respectively promote or impede forgiveness. Interracial Feedback: White feedback suppliers sometimes give more praise and less criticism to Blacks than to fellow Whites for work of equal merit. I am investigating the extent and causes of this positive feedback bias.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Barry Komisaruk
Research in my laboratory analyzes the neural bases of responses to vaginal stimulation in rats. These studies provide the basis for related research in humans. In rats, we analyze the neural pathways and neurotransmitters that mediate sexual behavior, pain blockage ( = analgesia), autonomic responses, and hormonal responses. We use a variety of methods that include functional brain imaging, surgery, drug administration, neurotransmitter measurement, and behavioral observation and measurement. In parallel studies in humans, we analyze functional brain images generated by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Positron Emission Tomography in response to vaginal and cervical self-stimulation.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Kenneth Kressel
Interpersonal conflict: Currently I am focusing on two areas -- conflict in health care settings and conflicts arising in the course of scientific research. In both areas the focus is on understanding the factors that promote destrucitve conflicts and the types of interventions that can be used to constructively resolve differences. Students will have an opportunity to conduct interviews with relevant persons about their experiences with conflict (e.g. in health care conflict with patients, and health care professionals; in scientific disputes with researchers and administrators) and to review the relevant literature in these areas.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Luis Rivera
Why do people express stereotypes and prejudice? What are the consequences of such negative attitudes on the self-images of stigmatized individuals? Finally, how can we reduce stereotypes and prejudice and their detrimental consequences? These questions guide the research projects in the Rutgers Implicit Social Cognition (RISC) lab, headed by Dr. Luis M. Rivera (new faculty, fall 2010). The RISC lab identifies and examines the implicit (and explicit) social cognitive processes that underlie attitudes toward stigmatized groups and the self (e.g., self-stereotyping, self-esteem), and the role that such attitudes play in important outcomes such as mental and physical health (e.g., anxiety, obesity), discriminatory acts, and performance. The RISC lab research starts with the assumption that people's perceptions of stigmatized groups are influenced by factors that lie outside their awareness and cannot be fully understood by intuitive methods such as self-report surveys. Therefore, we experimentally investigate how social cognitive processes shape attitudes toward stigmatized groups without people's awareness or control.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Maggie Shiffrar
Object Perception & Body Language: In our lab, we try to understand how humans recognize moving objects and people. To investigate the human visual system, we construct graphics displays on computers and examine how people interpret those displays. Undergraduate research assistants play an important role in these experiments by helping us to design and program displays, to run subjects in experiments, and to conduct literature reviews. In previous years, several undergraduate research assistants from our lab have gone onto graduate studies in experimental psychology, clinical psychology, social work, law school, and human factors. Undergraduates in our lab have won awards for their work and have attended and presented their findings at international conferences. We are looking for serious students who plan to go to graduate school. Some computer experience with either Macintosh or PC machines is preferred. Maturity is a must.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Michael Shiflett
Research in the lab focuses on animal learning and decision-making. We use behavioral observations to understand how rats learn about events in their environment and how they make use of information they've learned to make decisions and plan for future events. In combination with these studies, we examine how exposure to different types of drugs alters an animal's ability to learn and make decisions. We are also beginning to study how different brain areas are involved in learning and decision-making by observing behavior after inactivating specific brain regions. Participants in the lab will gain experience in basic behavioral neuroscience techniques. They will be involved in training the rats through operant conditioning, so a willingness to handle live animals is required.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Harold Siegel
Attachement Theory Research In one sentence, Attachment Theory states that the way in which we were raised has influences on our romantic and non-romantic relationships, various cognitive abilities, how we mourn the death of those important to us, our view of religion, coping styles, how we deal with stress, the kind of student/employee we are, etc., etc.
Our Attachment Lab is currently investigating a number of interesting topics and we would appreciate the help of several good undergraduate students who are also conscientious and responsible. For 2008-2010 we need help in conducting the following studies:
1- An intervention program to help college students to develop a more secure (and less insecure) attachment.
2- A study designed to determine the effects of attachment issues on how college students decide guilt, innocence, and degree of punishment in court cases.
3- A study that is examining the effects of attachment on health and illness including headaches, stomach problems, anxiety, and depression.
4- A large investigation of the role of attachment history as well as many other variables on men convicted of sexual offenses including rape and child molestation.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr Elizabeth Tricomi
My research involves behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments on learning and decision making. The goal of this research is to understand how the brain processes information provided by outcome of one's actions in order to shape future behavior. Students interested in gaining research experience in the lab will be involved in testing subjects, analyzing data, and contributing to experimental design. Students will also participate in lab meetings where empirical papers and lab research projects are discussed. Computer experience is desirable.
Contact Information: Available Here

Dr. Gretchen Van de Walle
Infant conceptual development. In our lab, we are interested in how babies understand the world around them and how they learn about objects, people, and language. How does the visual information infants take in interact with their newly emerging conceptual skills? What effect does learning words have on infants' thought processes? To answer these questions, we present infants with visual displays or small objects they can manipulate. We use infants' looking or reaching behaviors to infer how they are representing the situation we have presented. Students' responsibilities include scheduling parent appointments, interacting with parents and their infants when they visit the lab, and coding and analyzing data. Motivated students are also trained to run infant subjects and even to design and conduct their own research projects. In addition, students participate in a weekly lab meeting during which we read and discuss cutting edge research in conceptual development.
Contact Information: Available Here

* For those who will be working with animals, there will be a short session about safety and animal welfare administered by Mr. Larry Barbour, the manager for animal research facilities and laboratory animal services.