An Update From The Desk

Currently, I’m sitting with the items that I have seen more often than my roommate or my friends who live in Williamsburg- a Dell computer that I do my data coding and work on, my laptop that is usually running episodes of Skins and Twin Peaks while I work, and this nice wheeled chair that is probably permanently imprinted with the shape of my body. These items have singlehandedly gotten me through my days, and I think they deserve a special mention for the parts they have played in my work.

Since I’ve come back to Williamsburg and started my project, my days have been mostly the same- get up, eat breakfast, work out, and come to lab, run participants, eat dinner, and run more participants. While my days may sound pretty monotonous, I can assure you that they’re a lot more interesting than it seems. When I’m not running participants, I spend my free time recruiting participants from our database, emailing and creating time slots with them, entering data into our analysis program, or doing miscellaneous tasks for other people’s projects, like coding (which is essentially grading responses on different scales) or data analysis. In addition, my hours are pretty untraditional. Since I have a very flexible schedule (as in I have nothing else to do other than work in lab) I work hours to fit in with when participants are free. While I do set boundaries so I’m not in lab at 8 AM or midnight, my days sometimes start around noon and I’ll run participants till 9 or 10 at night. They’re never the same either, so some days I may work a regular 9 to 5 and then work from 10 to 8 the next. In high school, I used to work in a molecular biology lab where I had the same untraditional hours where I could work later into the evening or have to start early morning.

Because of confidentiality and privacy laws, I can’t discuss in depth a lot of my work with people. But what I can talk about is the variety and diversity you see doing psychology research.While some aspects of psychology research typify people and break them down into averages- ‘the typical college student does this’ or ‘the average white female is more likely to do this,’ running participants for psychology research is more than that. Data coding, as I mentioned before, is the process of coding responses according to established scales, such as analyzing surprise or emotional in a conversation. As I go through each conversation, I’m always surprised and intrigued by the conversations that occur, and each time, they show to me the diversity of the world that we live in. Two people of similar demographic information can have completely different responses and that never ceases to astound me. It’s amazing to see the differences in people, and it’s inspiring.