Summer research offer insights into psychology lab work

Having worked as a research assistant in Michael Goldstein’s Behavioral Analysis of Beginning Years (B.A.B.Y.) lab at Cornell, Kathryn Garrisi ‘19 was eager to learn how other labs approach the study of the infant mind.

With the help of an Arts & Sciences Summer Experience Grant, Garrisi is spending the summer at the Yale Infant Cognition Center, where she is helping with their research as well as designing her own study to investigate how infants learn about the world around them.

“The B.A.B.Y lab gave me all of the fundamental skills necessary for pursuing research in another lab,” Garrisi said. Goldstein is an associate professor of psychology.

Led by psychology professor Karen Wynn, the Yale lab focuses on developmental and social psychology, with projects contributing to the understanding of the psychology behind stereotypes and prejudice. Lab staff study how young children view others as either like themselves or as “other” using many factors, such as race, gender and ethnicity.

“I am involved with everything during a research appointment,” Garrisi said, “from greeting families, getting the children comfortable and explaining what our studies are researching to running the studies themselves.”

Garrisi works closely with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, analyzing videos of past participants and recruiting and scheduling new families. She also presents current research papers at weekly lab meetings and will be presenting a conference poster during a lecture to Yale psychology faculty and staff later this summer.

“I have been excited to meet more people in my field and learn how different research questions and styles of conducting a lab influence the work that is done,” she said. “I have also been fortunate to be taking a statistics course at Yale, which will help me analyze my own data in the future.”

After graduation, Garrisi intends on pursuing a doctoral degree in child psychology.

“My time at Yale has broadened my understanding of the field of developmental psychology and will be an asset to me as I pursue my honors thesis project in the B.A.B.Y Lab this year.”

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Science.

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