My name is Logan, and this summer I will be working at Daniel Gilbert’s Psychology Laboratory at Harvard as a research assistant. I’m a rising senior studying cognitive science, and I hope to pursue a PhD in the general field!
Now that the introduction is out of the way, my first day in the Gilbert Lab was fantastic! In the upcoming weeks, there will be around 15 other students in the same position as me, but I arrived a little early and was ultimately accompanied by only one other research assistant. Although the thought of only two people may seem anxiety inducing, it ultimately created a laid-back environment where I got to meet not only my graduate student advisor, but all 5 graduate students in the lab and Dr. Daniel Gilbert himself! Everyone was extremely welcoming and excited for the summer. After introductions, Adam, my graduate student advisor, led me through the current projects I’ll be working on, as well as my role within them. One of the projects is more involved with the psychology of social interactions, and the other is more about how we perceive speed. Although both are very different from one another, both are of great interest to me, and hopefully they’ll help me narrow down my interests within the field. From the sounds of it, I’ll have a strong role in every facet of the scientific process: from brain-storming ideas, to creating stimuli, to coding, to data analysis.
After a general introduction to both the lab and the projects, Adam took me out to a local sandwich shop, as is lab tradition, to chat about life, goals, and french bread.
With full stomachs, we then got right to work. I helped create videos for participants, analyze some older data, and finalize a survey! I felt both prepared with all of the tasks I was assigned, as well as ready to refine them and augment them. Lastly, we talked about the importance of becoming a great researcher, but even more importantly, a great thinker. The University of Michigan undoubtedly supplied me with the relevant research qualities, and I’m excited to transcribe them into my thought process as well.
PS: Cambridge, MA is beautiful