Emotion and Memory

Faculty Sponsor: 
Clewett, David
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Jamie Greer
Room Number: 
5567 Pritzker Hall
Description of Research Project: 
Throughout our lives, we are bombarded by a continuous stream of sensory information. Yet because our mental resources are limited, we cannot process or remember everything we encounter. How, then, does the brain prioritize and store important information in memory? What cognitive and neural factors help transform our experiences into lasting memories? The goal of our research is to promote a deeper understanding of how stressful, emotional, or salient circumstances shape the content and structure of memory. We take a diverse, multimodal approach that includes a combination of neurophysiological (eye-tracking, skin conductance) and neuroimaging (fMRI/MRI), and behavioral techniques to study. We are currently seeking students who can assist with online behavioral studies. However, opportunities to assist on other techniques may become available once in-person research resumes.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants would help in the collection of data by running subjects, data entry, and general office work for at least 7 hours per week. They will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of research, including literature search, study design, experimental design, stimulus preparation, data analysis, and potential manuscript preparation. Experience with programming is a plus, but not required. Psych 120A and/or Psych 120B are highly recommended but also not required. A CV and/or transcript may be requested after the faculty mentor is contacted.

Adipose Tissue Segmentation in Children using Deep Neural Networks

Faculty Sponsor: 
Wu, Holden
Department: 
Radiological Sciences; Bioengineering
Contact Name: 
Holden Wu
Description of Research Project: 
Obese children have larger amounts of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue (SAT, VAT) and are at high risk for cardiometabolic disease. SAT and VAT can be quantified using free-breathing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in children. However, the reference standard for SAT and VAT analysis requires manual annotation, which depends on expert knowledge and is time consuming. In our lab, we are developing deep neural networks to automatically segment SAT and VAT on MRI and quantify their fat content and volume in children. Our neural networks will only take seconds to accurately segment the desired tissues.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
(1) Create reference manual annotations for adipose tissue on MR images. (2) Perform literature survey, especially in the areas of machine and deep learning tools for adipose tissue segmentation. (3) Train/test neural networks for adipose tissue segmentation and report the performance metrics.

Culture and Contact Lab (CCL) Research Group

Faculty Sponsor: 
Brannon, Tiffany
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Tiffany Brannon
Room Number: 
Pritzker 5522
Description of Research Project: 
The UCLA Culture and Contact Lab studies social inequalities tied to systemic oppression and discrimination including disparities related to academic achievement and well-being. Theories and approaches tied to cultural psychology and intergroup relations are integrated to investigate psychological interventions.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students in the research group participate in a variety of tasks that are designed to further exposure and experiences with research methods and opportunities for mentorship. In particular, students help with all stages of the research process including providing feedback on study materials, working as an experimenter for studies, assisting with literature reviews and data coding for research reporting and dissemination.

Cognitive load and phonological grammar

Faculty Sponsor: 
Claire Moore-Cantwell
Department: 
Linguistics
Contact Name: 
Claire Moore-Cantwell
Description of Research Project: 
We will develop an online experiment to study how people perform in nonce-word probe tests when they are distracted, or under ‘cognitive load’ This project will help us understand the connection between speakers’ intuitive knowledge of their phonological grammar and other cognitive systems, especially short-term memory. Work will be done remotely.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Student responsibilities include development of experimental items, testing and developing the online experiment, and analyzing and interpreting results.

Evaluate Retinal Neural Circuits for Visual Processing

Faculty Sponsor: 
Yi-Rong Peng
Department: 
Ophthalmology
Contact Name: 
Yi-Rong Peng
Room Number: 
Jules Stein Building B-200
Phone: 
310-825-883
Description of Research Project: 
The visual system operates in over 12 orders of magnitude of light intensity and allows for robust discrimination of color, movement, and fine detail. The complex neural processing originates from the circuitry of the retina. In the retina, over 100 types of cells are selectively wired together to form multiple processing circuits, within which achieved parallel processing of visual information. This project is to dissect the functions of individual retinal circuits and understand their roles in processing visual information.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
During the quarter, the student will learn about the morphological and functional features of retinal circuits. Under the supervision of the PI, the student will assist in rodent maintenance, eye-tracking experiments, visual behavior assays, data analysis. She/he will also attend relevant seminars and conduct literature search to better understand the process of visual perception and high-acuity vision. In addition, the student will learn and perform basic bioinformatics using R and python, and histological and molecular techniques, and flow-cytometry, in order to participate in the project.

Learning by Research - HCI

Faculty Sponsor: 
Chen, Xiang
Department: 
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Contact Name: 
Professor Xiang 'Anthony' Chen
E-mail: 
Room Number: 
1538 Boelter Hall, 580 Portola Plaza
Description of Research Project: 
Learning by Research program (LbR) is a quarter long program for UCLA students created by the HCI (human computer interaction) research group in UCLA. It is a quarter-long program for UCLA-wide undergraduate students to pragmatically participate in research with specific learning objectives with a specific focus in HCI related research.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students are responsible to either partake as a expeditionist or a specialist in the research projects, either taking on specific roles in programming, hardware building, designing user interfaces for specific roles or exploring a new research projects that lay the groundwork for future development. The student need to utilizes skills in cognitive science such as psychology and programming to undergo extensive user research and build a functional physical or digital prototype related to HCI at the end of the quarter in order to complete the research project.

Classroom Attention Tracking (CAT) Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Grammer, Jennie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Sarah Jo Torgrimson
Room Number: 
3302
Phone: 
3108258348
Description of Research Project: 
We are beginning a new project assessing attentional processes and engagement for students in early elementary school. Using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods, we examine the correlates of executive functions (e.g., attention, response inhibition, and working memory) and self-regulation behaviors during a mock-classroom lesson. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand the ways in which children regulate their attention during varying activities in the hopes of furthering our knowledge of how children with different levels of attentional skills maintain engagement in the classroom.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for students to fill three different research position teams. Due to training demands, students are required to commit to at least 1-year with the lab. Interested students please email transcript, resume/CV, and 2 references. Commitment involves 6-10 hours/week. Students are also expected to attend weekly lab meetings. Data Collection Team: Primary responsibilities will include participant recruitment and data collection. Research assists will learn wireless EEG methods and assist with one-on-one and group sessions with students in K-2nd grade. Must be available during afterschool hours (2:30 PM – 4:30 PM) at least two days during school week. Preference given to those available to assist with collection during summer session A. Experience with children (camp counselor, tutoring, babysitting, etc.) required. Behavioral Coding Team: Primary responsibilities include coding videotapes of student sessions. Must be proficient in Microsoft Office and comfortable learning new video coding software. Preference given to those with strong organization and time management skills. Additional responsibilities may include input of questionnaire data and participant reports/notes. EEG Processing Team: Primary responsibilities include processing electrophysiological (EEG) data. Must be proficient in Microsoft Office and comfortable learning processing software. Students will receive training in physics of EEG activity and will be required to read literature regarding EEG data collection and processing. Preference given to those with strong organization and time management skills. Additional responsibilities may include input of questionnaire data and participant reports/notes.

Understanding the attention system through neuroimaging

Faculty Sponsor: 
Lenartowicz, Agatha
Department: 
Neuroscience
Contact Name: 
Agatha Lenartowicz
Description of Research Project: 
Our laboratory examines the attention system of the brain in both healthy individuals and in those with ADHD. We use electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in measuring brain activity of the attention system, with the goal of understanding how it works and what goes wrong in ADHD. The lab provides unique opportunities to work with multiple neuroimaging (EEG,fMRI, concurrent EEG-fMRI) modalities, eye tracking, behavioral and neuropsychological data.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
As part of this research position, the student will be involved in a combination of the following activities: processing of neuroimaging data, acquisition of EEG or MRI data, data entry.

Schemes and Means: A social-relational theory of incentives

Faculty Sponsor: 
Gallus, Jana
Department: 
Anderson School of Management
Contact Name: 
Jana Gallus
Description of Research Project: 
How do social relationships influence the choice and the effects of incentives? In the current line of research, we plan to run lab and field experiments where we will vary the pre-existing social relationship between the reward giver and recipient and the types of incentives used. We will then measure the effects on motivation. Our ultimate goal is to test a new theory of incentives that can explain why the same incentives can be effective in some social contexts but backfire in other contexts. The research will incorporate insights from economics, social psychology, and anthropology and will be directly actionable for managers, policy-makers, and anyone that needs a hand from a friend. This project will also relate to topics in Social Cognition including Attribution Theory. Alan Fiske (Distinguished Professor, Psychological Anthropologist) will be actively collaborating on the research. His research aims to understand what enables humans to coordinate in often cooperative, complex, culturally and historically varying systems of social relations. He studies social and moral cognition, motives and emotions; relationship-constitutive actions, experiences, and communications; motivations for violence; interpretations of misfortune and death; and links between psychopathology and social relationships.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Job responsibilities: - Design experiments in Qualtrics - Administer and implement experiments (lab and possibly field) - Help with data analysis - Conduct a literature review - Contribute to the idea generation process - Join our “lab” meetings at Profeta Desired qualifications/skills: - Experience managing and analyzing data (using R code) - Interest in pursuing research in graduate school (in economics, psychology, or business) - Interest in behavioral economics and social psychology

Probabilistic Model of Social Commonsense

Faculty Sponsor: 
Gao, Taoc
Department: 
Statistics; Communication; Psychology
Contact Name: 
Tao Gao
Description of Research Project: 
My lab explores human social perception and cognition, with a special focus on aspects of human mind that can inspire the development of artificial intelligence that is communicative and trustworthy. Research in my lab is highly inter-disciplinary, drawing tools from cognitive science, statistics, artificial intelligence, and robotics. The goals of my lab are to (a) reveal the nature of human social commonsense through cognitive modeling and psychophysical experiments; (b) implement human-like social commonsense in artificial intelligence, so that it can seamlessly communicate to and collaborate with humans in safe and trustworthy ways.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students should be motivated to build computational models of human minds. Specific responsibilities include: (1) reading cognitive modeling papers and book chapters under my guidance; (2) implementing cognitive models with python; (3) designing and running human psychophysics experiments.

Dissection of nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex neural dynamics underlying social interactions

Faculty Sponsor: 
Peyman Golshani
Department: 
Neurology
Contact Name: 
Pingping Zhao
Room Number: 
CHS-77100B
Description of Research Project: 
This project is about circuit mechanism of social behavior. We're working on neural dynamics of nucleus accumbens (NAc) and its connected brain regions during social interaction (test mice interacting with conspecifics). Combined with different virus expressing calcium indicator GCaMP6f, we are using V3 miniscopes (UCLA Miniscope) to record neural activity in different brain regions when imaged mice are doing freely moving behavior test. Then we would process calcium images and extract neuronal activity. Behavioral movies will be analyzed using custom-written deep-learning based algorithms (DeepBehavior) that can track the position and orientation of each animal and quantitate interaction time, velocity and any other information we need. With the imaging data we collect, we are able to use decoder to predict animal behavior with high performance.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We're looking for students to join the project. The main responsibilities include: 1 Image processing using Matlab or Python. 2 Use DeepBehavior to analyze behavior data. 3 Help writing/modifying code for different data analysis (ROC, PCA, TCA). 4 Work on decoder to predict animal behavior Qualification: Strong background in Matlab or Python programming Experience in data analysis Creative problem-solving skills A desire to apply for graduate school (not required) Have interest in Neuroscience

Mathematical and Statistical Cognition

Faculty Sponsor: 
Liu, Zili
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Lucy Cui
Description of Research Project: 
Mathematics and Statistics are topics that many students struggle to learn. We hope to better understand how students process mathematical structure and map between representations, and how they represent and process statistical information both visually and conceptually.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants will help with data collection by running participants through experiments and will help pilot-test those experiments. Opportunities will be available to get involved in data analysis and experiment development/material creation. Having completed psych 100A and 100B is expected and 120A/120B is recommended. Applicants with experience in data analysis (e.g., Excel, SPSS, R) and programming (e.g., python, matlab, javascript) are preferred and will be given priority. Students must be able to commit a minimum of 8 hours a week for a minimum of 2 quarters. If interested, please email Lucy (lucy.cui@ucla.edu) your resume or CV, unofficial transcript, quarter availability and planned graduation date.

Perceptual Learning: Teaching with Computers

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kellman, Philip
Department: 
Psychology - Cognitive Science
Contact Name: 
Rachel Older
Room Number: 
2349
Phone: 
(310) 825-4202
Description of Research Project: 
How do learners get better at searching, organizing and interpreting their visual world? Do the same processes that underlie perception of movement in sport, discovery in art, facility with puzzles and other forms of visual expertise also underly such practical skills as fluency in mathematics or proficiency in medical diagnosis? The current study is concerned with basic research in perceptual learning and object recognition. In addition we attempt to isolate and train visual skills using computer software that dynamically adapts to a learner's mental state.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants would help in the collection of data by running subjects at least 7 hours per week. Opportunities would be provided for assistants to collaborate in the generation of new experiments, analysis of data, and independent research. Experience with programming is a plus, but not required. Psych 120A or B are highly recommended.

Cognitive processes in language comprehension

Faculty Sponsor: 
Harris, Jesse
Department: 
Linguistics
Contact Name: 
Jesse Harris
Room Number: 
Campbell Hall 2226
Description of Research Project: 
Research in the Language Processing Lab addresses how adults interpret sentences using a variety of information sources during online sentence comprehension, using methods such as eye-tracking, pupillometry, self-paced reading, memory probe tasks, and other response time methods.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants will help administer experiments to subjects using a wide range of methods, and should feel comfortable explaining experimental directions. They may also be asked to help create or review test stimuli, or annotate corpus materials, depending on experience. Depending on background and interest, assistants may also assist in data analysis. Students should have completed prior coursework in linguistics, and cognitive science or psychology. Winter 2019: The winter project will investigate how the similarity of items in an extrinsic memory load interfere with the online interpretation of sentences in a pupil dilation study. Results will correlated with individual measures of memory capacity. Students will help prepare the materials for a study based on Gordon et al. 2002, administer the experiment to subjects, and assist in data analysis. They will also read and summarize the essential literature on pupillometry and memory, as well as write a short report on the findings.

Research in Behavioral Science, Behavioral Economics, and Judgment & Decision Making

Faculty Sponsor: 
Fox, Craig
Department: 
Psychology & Business (Anderson)
Contact Name: 
Jon Bogard
Description of Research Project: 
In our lab, we are investigating several different projects related to judgment, decision making, and human behavior. We take on political psychology (e.g., how people think about inequality), persuasion (e.g., tactics to convince people to adopt new behaviors), basic psychology (e.g., perceptions of uncertainty), and response to incentives (e.g., pay-for-performance in the context of non-profit organizations). We use a variety of methods in our work, including online and in-lab survey-based experiments, field studies, natural language processing, and eye-tracking devices.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will be doing a variety of research-related tasks, from literature reviews to study design to study administration. Students should be extremely reliable, fast, and clear communicators, eager to take on challenges and solve them independently. We want RAs who are not only talented and fastidious but also passionate and intrigued by the cognitive process underneath human decision making. Students who are exceptionally hard working, organized, detail-oriented, curious, and thoughtful should apply. Those with extensive coding skills (especially in JavaScript) will be given preference.

Neural mechanisms of decision making

Faculty Sponsor: 
Wikenheiser, Andrew
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Wikenheiser, Andrew
Room Number: 
LSB 5833
Description of Research Project: 
Our lab is interested in understanding how the brain controls behavior. We approach this question by recording the electrical activity of neurons as subjects perform carefully-designed behavioral tasks, and electrophysiological techniques are augmented with optogenetics and computational analyses. Specifically, much of our work focuses on decision making tasks inspired by a wide-ranging set of models from psychology, neuroscience, economics, and ethology. Our primary focus is on how interactions between the hippocampus and cortical regions mediate these behaviors.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants can contribute to a variety of projects currently underway in the lab. We have a several projects that revolve around designing, fabricating, and testing custom behavioral equipment that allow us to ask new experimental questions. This work involves learning to use CAD software to design and fabricate behavioral devices using in-house 3D printers. These projects will give students hands on experience with 3D printing and electronic sensor design for data collection in experimental settings. Completed behavioral devices will be validated experimentally, and then incorporated into new experiments that research assistants will help design and execute. We also interested in applying novel computational analyses to previously-collected data. This work will give students experience with state of the art deep neural network methods for analyzing behavioral and neural data. The results of these analyses will serve as preliminary data to aid the design of new experiments. Research assistants can help in the design and execution of new experiments that result from these exploratory data analysis projects.

Motor cortex network dynamics during skilled motor behavior

Faculty Sponsor: 
Arac, Ahmet
Department: 
Neurology
Contact Name: 
Ahmet Arac
Description of Research Project: 
The primary goal of this research is to understand the relationship between learned behaviors and neuron activity in the M1 region of the cerebral cortex. We are interested in capturing the changes in neuron activity as the mouse increases skill in the learned motor behavior. The lab measures learned behaviors and neuron activity simultaneously using two separate observations. The learned behavior is observed through deep learning computer vision applications and is used to calculate kinematic movements of paws of the mice. Neuronal activity is recorded in-vivo using two-photon calcium imaging.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The student research assistance will be responsible in conducting experiments, handling the mice, and fine-tuning deep learning neural networks for optimized computer vision applications. The assistance will aid in the process of training subjects for the experiments. The assistance must be comfortable or be willing to learn how to handle rodents as well as gone through the necessary animal and safety training mandated by UCLA. It is preferred that the assistant is familiar with machine learning methods as well as python programming to aid in the behavioral analysis.

QRClab: Open Science Practices

Faculty Sponsor: 
Montoya, Amanda
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Amanda Montoya
Room Number: 
LSB 5324
Phone: 
3107945069
Description of Research Project: 
WINTER 2020 PROJECT: We are looking for students to help with a large literature review examining sample size for specific types of statistical models, moderated mediation models. We hope to evaluate whether the samples sizes researchers are currently collecting are sufficient to be well-powered to detect the effects they're looking for. In particular, students will work in a team to pull information from publications and meet weekly with the team and discuss difficult cases. Students will gain experience with reading scientific articles, understanding statistical models, data entry in Excel, and articulating the role of sample size in statistical modeling.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants will help with tasks to help examine how specific statistical methods are being used in psychology and other social science fields. Expansion of the research assistant’s tasks will be based on both commitment and interest. There may be opportunities to analyze data, ask your own research question, and/or assist with computer programming tasks. Because of the training involved, we prefer candidates who can commit to working in the lab for at least three quarters. You can read more about the current research projects on the lab webpage: akmontoya.com Day to day tasks will involve coding journal policy pages, working with data in Excel, literature searches, and reading/editing manuscript drafts. Students often come to the lab from a wide range of backgrounds, but the most important qualifications are an eagerness to learn, interest in quantitative psychology, and confidence in your analytical and mathematical skills.

Adaptive Learning: Teaching with Computers

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kellman, Philip
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Rachel Older
Room Number: 
2349
Phone: 
(310) 825-4202
Description of Research Project: 
Computer-based learning activities offer great potential to adapt the flow of learning events to optimize progress for each individual. Can adaptive learning algorithms that dynamically sequence learning items result in improved efficiency for factual learning and pattern recognition? The current study is concerned with basic research in adaptive learning and will examine if adaptive sequencing based on accuracy, speed, and retirement criteria, produce learning outcomes superior to traditional classroom methods.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants would help in the collection of data by grading assessments, data entry, and general office work for at least 7 hours per week and will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of research, including literature search, study design, experimental design, and data analysis. Experience with programming is a plus, but not required. Psych 120A&B are highly recommended.

Human action perception

Faculty Sponsor: 
Lu, Hongjing
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Lu, Hongjing
Room Number: 
6552 Franz Hall
Phone: 
(310) 2062587
Description of Research Project: 
We are interested in how the visual system represents and identifies human action in a motion sequence. It is crucial to perceive and interpret human body movements to be able to interact with other people well. This research explores the underlying information use of visual input in a series of psychophysical experiments.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will be involved in conducting experiments, data collection and organization. Students also have the opportunity to aid in the design of new experiments and the development of computational modeling. Students are encouraged to be involved in the new experiments for the preparation for the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) at UCLA.

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