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Social Development Lab


The Social Development Lab is jointly supervised by Drs. Monisha Pasupathi and Cecilia Wainryb. At our lab, we study how children, adolescents, and adults of various ages make sense of their own and others' moral transgressions, interpersonal conflicts, and other self-relevant experiences. We are interested in the developmental effects of both everyday events and conflicts - for example when friends disagree about what game to play - and more large-scale, societal events and conflicts - for example, when individuals are involved in violent political happenings of their country. We are also interested in understanding how close others, in particular parents, siblings, and friends, either support or hinder individuals' attempts to make sense of and integrate social and self-relevant experiences within their sense of self. We employ both developmental (e.g., narratives, structured interviews, and observations) and experimental designs, with an emphasis on quantitative approaches.

Opportunities for Students

Our lab is currently looking for undergraduate, post-bacc, or post-masters volunteer research assistants (RAs) to assist us with the "Teen Listening" Project. This project is an NIH-funded study of emotion regulation. We're collecting data from participants ages of 12 and 13 and from their mothers and friends.

The RA work consists of helping with data collection (during May only), which involves learning how to wire adolescents for physiology data. We have a particular need for RAs who are interested in helping with the transcription of conversations between teenage friends and between teenagers and their moms. We also need help with “cleaning” physiological and survey data. No previous experience is necessary to apply to work in the lab! We are always happy to train people for more advanced things after they prove to be reliable and do high quality work.

We are recruiting RAs to work during this semester, but we are hoping to work with students who are interested in continuing during the next semester or beyond to work on our -- and perhaps their own -- projects (e.g., honors theses). RAs are asked to commit at least 5 hours a week to the lab for their first semester of service. Any hours that undergraduates volunteer with the lab can be logged and used in future semesters for credit in the department's research experience class and/or cited in a letter of reference. Post-bacc and post-masters students gain research experience and, depending on quality of work, a strong letter of recommendation to graduate school.

If you are interested in volunteering as an RA for this project, please email with the following information:

  1. The number of hours you anticipate you will be available to volunteer each week
  2. An unofficial copy of your transcript
  3. A recent resume/CV
  4. If available, the names of faculty or staff in the department who we can contact as your references
Last Updated: 4/4/23