How to join the Arnold lab
UNC Chapel Hill is an ideal place to study psycholinguistics. There is a stimulating community of language researchers, with a lot of contact between graduate students and faculty from numerous programs and departments. The cognitive program includes two professors that investigate the mechanisms of language use and understanding: Jennifer Arnold and Peter Gordon. There are many other language researchers on campus, in departments that include the linguistics department, the Romance studies department , and the division of Speech and Hearing Sciences.
If you are interested in working in Dr. Arnold’s laboratory, click here for more information about the Cognitive Program in the Psychology Department and how to apply.
If you are interested in a career in psychology, linguistics, or a related field, it is an excellent idea to get involved with research as an undergraduate.
There are two primary ways to become involved with research in my lab.
Independent Research (psyc 395 or ling 496)
The Arnold Lab has research assistant positions for undergraduate students every semester. The primary mechanism is through psychology 395 or ling 496, which is research for credit.
Each department has requirements for this position (check the department’s webpage). In addition, research in my lab requires a 2-semester commitment. We accept applications at any time, and make decisions about how any RAs we can include toward the end of each semester.
To apply, fill out this application (the application also contains more information about what it means to be a lab assistant). Members of under-represented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.
The usual scenario is that you do about 9 hours of work in the lab per week, in addition to doing assigned readings on the topic of your research project. At the end of the semester you write a 10-page paper about the project. Typically students spend the first semester helping out with a variety of projects, depending on what needs to be done. You would have the chance to train on tasks like qualtrics survey building, preparing visual stimuli for experiments, ethical training for working with human subjects, running subjects, managing data, and coding verbal responses. Highly motivated students have the opportunity to propose a research project of their own (which would have to happen by the end of their first semester in the lab). Sometimes there are opportunities to join a project as it is just getting started, and to have a greater input into the design and implementation of it.
If you are interested in pursuing an honors project in my lab, I highly recommend doing a 395 beforehand. Often a project begun as a 395 student ends up turning into an honors project. For more information on the department’s policies and application procedure for honors projects, see here.
Occasionally I have funds to hire paid research assistants. Frequently, paid RAs have already worked in the lab through an independent research project.
If you are eligible for Work Study, there are sometimes work study positions available. Please contact Dr. Arnold if you are interested in participating as a work study researcher.