Psychology Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Attention and Word Recognition

To find out about this 499 opportunity contact:

Contact name: Alex White
Telephone: (206) 543-5161
Email: alexlw@uw.edu

Faculty Information

Faculty Advisor: Geoffrey Boynton
Department: Psychology
Office: Guthrie 233A
Telephone: (206) 685-6493
Email: gboynton@uw.edu

Does faculty advisor meet with students?

If yes, how often? Quarterly

Direct supervisor of students:

Alex White
Supervisor Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Will 499 students participate in weekly or biweekly discussions sessions about research or project? Yes

Short Project Description

Can you recognize two words at a time? If not, what makes word recognition so demanding for the brain? These are the questions our research group is investigating. We primarily do psychophysical experiments to investigate the limits of human abilities to extract information from written words. These experiments are combined with eye-tracking, careful control of visual stimulation, and computational modeling of the data. We are also beginning to study the neural bases of word recognition with functional MRI. The results are applicable clinical conditions such as dyslexia, as well as the design of computer displays. Students will learn to run behavioral experiments with custom software in Matlab, to use an eye-tracker, and to analyze data. More advanced students may have the possibility to start their own research projects.

Work Schedule

Min. number of hours/weekstudent must work: 3
Evenings/weekends OK? Yes
Times a student must bepresent/work: Most of our work is between 9 am and 6pm on weekdays
Student commitment: Minimum 2 consecutive quarters.

499 Responsibilities

Working with Data Working with Subjects Working with Animals/physiology
10 % data entry 0 % video taping 0 % animal care
0 % database management 10 % interview subjects 0 % animal observation
0 % encoding data 5 % scheduling appt 0 % surgical techniques
0 % library research 40 % running subjects 0 % histology
30 % data collection 0 % child care 0 % laboratory protocols
    5 % recruiting subjects    

Other:Students may spend some time testing themselves in the experiments to get started. In weekly or biweekly meetings they will also discuss research articles, the theoretical motivations of our research, and principles of data analysis.

Skills / Experience Preferred

We prefer students who have taken a prior course in perception and have some computer programming experience, but that is not required. We encourage participation for multiple quarters.