Research Assistant Overview

Research we do

In this lab we apply principles of cognitive and social psychology to issues related to the criminal justice system.  Specifically we are currently working on projects related to:

1. Deception Detection & Psycho-linguistic cues to deception.

2. Developing an investigative interviewing procedure for interviewing cooperative sources (and     improving our understanding of memory for familiar people).

3. The relationship between our metamemory (our knowledge about how our own memories work) with regard to visual and facial memory.  This research has both a basic theoretical research component as well as a more applied component via eyewitness memory.

*I’m also interested in exploring other research areas relating to areas of investigative interviewing, deception detection, and eyewitness memory.*

Below you will find some of what will be expected of lab members, and some of perks you can expect to receive as a contributor to the research we do. It is not an exhaustive list of either, but should give you sufficient information to serve as a basis for your decision to apply.


Commitment to the lab – regardless of what may or may not be going on outside the lab, when RAs do work in the lab they are focused, professional, and committed to the research they are assigned.

Quality work performance – there are going to be times when this lab might require more of you than you’re used to in classes or your working life thus far. I expect RAs to continually focus on producing the best possible research products whenever and whatever they are assigned to within the lab.

Willingness to give and accept feedback – I certainly make mistakes, and I expect you will too. RAs should not be offended by feedback but embrace it and grow from it. Similarly, I expect RAs to provide me with feedback on a variety of things such as research design, how I run the lab, the quality of lab-snacks, etc. (I promise I won’t bite).

Prompt and consistent attendance – RAs in this lab are expected to be punctual to all lab related activities. In this lab (and in life in general) punctuality communicates a message about your what you value. Communicate to me and to participants that you value your time working here.

Creativity – I welcome and expect your ideas and contributions to the research process. Creative problem solving is absolutely essential to the best research.

Friendliness, & enthusiasm – I get excited by the research I do and genuinely enjoy working with the people in my lab. RAs should similarly be enthusiastic about the work we’re doing and enjoy working with me and their other lab-mates.

Attention to detail – The devil, as they say is in the details. Being detail oriented is of the utmost importance in research for a variety of reasons. For one thing, controlled experimentation requires mindful attention (and accountability) for everything going on so that the variable(s) in question and ONLY the variables in question are being examined. Detail orientation is also important in regard to things like scheduling, data entry (as well as analysis), lit reviews and much more.

Regular lab meeting attendance – I’m happy to work these around your schedule and pick a day/time that is accommodating to most people. That said, I expect that all lab members to attend all lab meetings unless there’s an emergency that comes up. Virtual attendance (e.g. via Skype) is acceptable if physical attendance isn’t possible.


A sense of community – the best labs function like good social networks, I want to foster a sense of comradery with all lab members. You will make friends and gain valuable social connections while here.

Hands on experience with experimental research – many psychology experiments are purely on line, or survey based. In this lab we will conduct hands on research with “live” participants. That will provide you with a much richer experience and better skill set for when you move on.

Make a difference – this research can and will have a substantial impact on how our legal, security, and intelligence systems function. This work will have a direct impact on improving our society and it’s a great feeling being a part of that work.

Course Credit – earn credits toward your degree by actually doing research rather than simply by taking a class in a particular subject.

Candy, assorted baked goods, and beverages 🙂

For experienced RAs:

Conduct your own high quality research – a chance to put your ideas out there and run you own research ideas that I will mentor and work with you on with the ultimate goal being presentation and potentially publication.

Presentation experience – The chance to attend and present your original research at national psychology conference, make connections, and see new parts of the country.

Authorship – Seasoned RAs will have the chance to co-author papers that I submit to peer-reviewed journals