In this lab, we conduct a combination of experimental and survey research on how individuals are affected by negative stereotypes. In one line of studies, we have been looking at how group stereotypes affect academic learning and performance performance. Our research shows that simply reminding people about ways in which they are negatively stereotyped can lead them to do perform more poorly on a test than they would otherwise. We are examining the cognitive and affective variables that account for this effect.
In another line of research, we are examining conditions under which people feel ashamed or guilty for the negative actions of others. For example, we have been looking at the extent to which White university students feel a sense of shame or guilt when they observe another White student act prejudicially. We are interested in testing what specific types of behaviors this emotional response elicits.
These are just some of the questions that we are exploring in our lab. We wouldn’t be able to do any of our research without the help of undergraduate students who volunteer their time in our lab to work as Research Assistants (RA’s). Each semester, we have about 12-15 RA’s in the lab who are supervised by graduate students. Some of these RA’s are invited to oversee projects for Directed Studies credit. RA’s are involved in many different aspects of the studies we run. Typical responsibilities include running experimental sessions, phone/email recruitment of experimental participants, debriefing participants about the purpose of our research, acting out a role in an experimental paradigm, data entry, data analysis, and training in ethical research. We require an 6 – 10 hour a week time commitment, but all of this is hands-on activity. Because most of the work is done Mon – Fri between 9 and 6 pm., we look for people with flexible daytime schedules.
RA’s work in small project groups and meet with the supervising graduate student to learn about the goals of the research and give periodic updates on the progress of the study. Because the completion of a study involves a high degree of coordination and efficiency, we look for students who have great communication skills, work well as team, are responsible and prompt, and are willing to learn new things. Research experience is the most important qualification for graduate school, and we can offer lots of advice in choosing a graduate program that’s right for you.
The strongest applicants are those who are 2nd or 3rd year students interested in more than one semester working in the lab, who have flexible daytime schedules, have at least a B average, and are interested in going to graduate school. However, because these aren’t the only criteria we use, I encourage you to apply even if you don’t fit this profile. We typically make our decision just before the semester begins.
Here’s the application: RA Application
If you have any further questions or want to check on the progress of your application, you can contact the lab manager at SIlab_admin@psych.ubc.ca