"My summer of researching was unforgettable. At first, I was intimidated taking on 25+ hours of work a week at the lab. However, I quickly gained confidence in my tasks and the work turned into fun as my interest in our studies grew. Located at the Institute for Social Research (ISR), Biosocial Methods Collaborative is an interdisciplinary lab focused around cognitive and behavioral psychology. We always have multiples studies being worked on at once. This summer, I got to dig into five different studies, each offering its own unique challenges.

One study I was highly involved in was called Eye Tracking of Self-Objectification and Empowerment (ETSOE). In this study, we use eye tracking technology to determine how women view advertisements of objectified women under various conditions. We recruited an additional 50 participants to add to our existing data from the previous semester. Learning how to properly consent participants and work the equipment required some practice, but over time, I became extremely comfortable guiding participants through the study.

Not only did I get face-to-face experience with participants in research, but I got to do a lot of behind the scenes work as well. We designed two brand new studies this summer. One is called Sniff Study and its goal is to determine how our body physiologically reacts to good and bad scents. The other is called Project Reach and studies how people diagnosed with arthritis physiologically respond to doing simple household tasks. Designing and programming each of these studies required a variety of new and exciting skills. I got to code surveys using Qualtrics, organize data through MetricWire, and learn how to use different sensors such as fEMG, ECG, and AED. We also conducted hours of literature review to determine the best design for each study. Both studies involved lots of trial-and-error and determination to complete.

I am so grateful that I got to research this past summer. Without this opportunity from MRADS, I wouldn’t have had the chance to gain such valuable skills and experience. I look forward to continuing my work at ISR into the fall semester." -JJ Wright