Welcome! Please read the application requirements, criteria, and project descriptions completely before applying. Once you know which project you would like to apply for (and it's ok if it's more than one), please fill out a URAP application here, as well as a lab application here .

Fall 2019 Research Assistant Applications

This is an unpaid volunteer position for the Fall semester (September-December). Research Assistants will be expected to work at least 10 hours per week. Research Assistants will work with graduate students on multiple ongoing research projects and with the lab manager on administrative tasks. Research Assistants will be responsible for coding data, recruiting and testing child and/or adult participants, and reading and discussing relevant theoretical and empirical papers. There will be biweekly lab meetings. Research Assistants should be comfortable working independently and managing their time effectively.  URAP Research Assistant applications will be accepted from now until Tuesday, September 3rd at 9am.

Application Requirements and Criteria

Accepting applications Now - Tuesday, September 3rd 9am

Please only apply if you are willing to make a commitment to work in our lab:

* 10 hours per week for 2 semesters

* Five hour blocks of availability, particularly 1) Weekdays 9:00AM-1:00PM; 2) Weekdays 1:00PM-5:00PM; and 3) Weekends 9:00AM-5:00PM

Requirements for
All Applicants

All research in the Gopnik Cognitive Development and Learning Lab is broadly focused on children's development of cause and effect reasoning and how they learn from and about other people. We are looking for dedicated and motivated undergraduate students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in developmental psychology or a related field. RAs will work closely with a graduate student assisting them on all aspects of the research process. RAs will help with experimental and stimuli design; recruiting participants 3 - 14 years old and adults; and collecting, organizing, coding, and analyzing data. RAs will meet regularly with their mentors to discuss the theoretical motivations of the studies they are working on as well as the findings of other empirical papers both related to the studies in the lab and important to the field in general.

What We Are Looking For in an Applicant

* Must be excited about Cognitive Development research
* Organized, self-motivated, independent, and hard working
* Prior experience with children (both formal and informal experience is great) 
* Comfort acting silly around children (a bit of acting or improv experience is helpful but not essential)
* Prior research experience is not required (though it is a plus) 
* Artistic, mechanical, electrical engineering or programming experience is not necessary, but would be great!


Please do not contact us about your application. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive an email.

Project Descriptions

Cognitive Development Research on Causal Reasoning, Relational Understanding, Imitation, and Imaginative Play

Project Description:
The first project is part of ongoing research on how children learn cause and effect relationships from observing others actions. How do they decide which actions lead to which outcomes? How do they decide which of those actions to imitate in order to bring about an effect?

The second project investigates how children use different types of evidence to form theories about causal relationships. How do children build theories about the world around them and what evidence causes them to revise these theories? How do children simultaneously form theories that explain the relationships between concepts and the concepts that make up those theories?

Supervisor: Katie Kimura, Graduate Student

Cognitive Development and Artificial Intelligence

Project Description:
I am focused on intrinsic curiosity, why are kids so naturally curious, how does this change when goals are involved? I am also focused on learning to write/recognize new letters. This is important to investigate so we can help kids learn as quickly and efficiently as possible! Also results from studies like these are paving the way for artificial intelligence to be able to learn quickly and efficiently!

Supervisor: Eliza Kosoy, Graduate Student 

Project Description:
IThe big question that motivates my research is, "Where do new ideas come from?" In other words: how do we come to entertain novel possibilities when we are acting on the world (making causal interventions) or explaining something about the world (making causal explanations)? This question is closely tied to questions about understanding the problem of variable selection--how we isolate variables that are relevant and important in a given context--as well as to understanding "conceptual change," or the process by which we radically restructure our knowledge to achieve a new kind of understanding (e.g., as in many cases of scientific revolution). In my research, I work with both children and adults. 

Supervisor: Mariel Goddu, Graduate Student

Cognitive Precursors to Scientific Reasoning in Young Children