Students interested in Cognitive Science and Perception:
RA Positions Available for Spring 2024 and Fall 2024

Looking for research experience? We currently have openings for Yale undergraduates, to help study the nature of seeing and thinking in the Yale Perception and Cognition Laboratory run by Professor Brian Scholl. Our RA collaborators gain experience in all aspects of our laboratory; in particular, most RAs help us design, run, and analyze our various experiments exploring the nature of visual perception, attention, and cognition. Specific topics include visual consciousness, subjective time dilation, vision and art, social perception, and how seeing and thinking interact. For more information on the precise nature of these projects, please see the brief descriptions, papers, and demonstrations listed via the links in the banner above. If after doing so you find that you are interested in this position, please read the rest of this note and then email Prof. Scholl with the information below.  
In addition to participating in several ongoing projects, all RAs in our laboratory are strongly encouraged to develop their own projects. As such, these positions are ideal for students considering senior theses on such topics, and/or students looking for research experience in general. Undergraduate RAs who have worked in our group in recent years have published their own studies in leading scientific journals while still in college, have received funding to present their research at international meetings, have gone on to some of the most prestigous graduate schools in psychology and cognitive science, and have won awards including Fulbright and Rhodes Scholarships (as well as Yale awards such as the Alpheus Henry Snow Prize). RAs also attend our weekly lab meetings, to discuss current research topics with a wide variety of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.  
As a rule (with some exceptions for advanced computer programmers), research positions begin on a volunteer basis during the academic year. Later, after getting their feet wet and demonstrating a commitment to this type of research, many RAs earn academic credit for their research via Directed Research courses, and/or are paid for their work during subsequent semesters. We also typically pay some RAs for additional focused research help during the summer. (These summer RAs are typically paid about $5000 for 2.5 months of work -- at roughly 8 hours/day, though on a very flexible schedule -- and are typically chosen from the pool of RAs already working in the lab during the academic year.)  
The ideal candidates for these positions ...  
  • will be excited by the prospect of studying the nature of visual perception and attention, and more generally will have a keen interest in the study of how the mind works;  
  • will have some familiarity with cognitive science and/or with research methods in psychology; and  
  • will be familiar and comfortable working with Macintosh computers (including word processors, spreadsheets, graphics programs, etc.). Fluency in computer programming (especially using Python or Javascript) would also be a plus, though it certainly isn't required.
If you would like to join our research group, please send a note to Prof. Scholl. In your note, it would also be helpful to provide the following information:  
  1. What is your name, email address, major (if you have one), and class year here at Yale?  
  2. Why are you interested in getting research experience? What specific research topics (however vague) are you especially excited by?  
  3. What relevant courses have you taken? Also, please describe any prior research experience you've had.  
  4. Some RAs, in addition to helping design, run, and analyze studies, also help us actually construct the studies. Since some of our experiments involve rather complex and dynamic visual displays, this sometimes involves computer programming. (We program largely in Python and Javascript on Macintosh computers, using libraries from the Psychophysics Toolbox and PsychoPy packages.) Do you have experience with any form of computer programming? Are you interested in learning?  
  5. Finally, we are always especially interested in RAs who have a keen interest in bootstrapping up to independent research, and who are interested in helping to extend our existing studies. To make an especially good impression, you might read several of our research papers and send along an idea for an extention or a related study that you think would be fun to explore ...
Please note that we're interested in getting a balance of students at all levels of experience in the lab, so don't be shy about stopping by just because you're a first-year student, because you haven't had any prior research experience, etc.