Undergraduate Research Internship Program
General topic of the research
This research studies the nature of visual attention and assesses people's ability to split their visual attention and to track multiple independently moving objects, displayed on a screen.In this laboratory we have shown that people can normally track 4 moving objects even when they are mixed in with 4 other identical moving objects that they are to ignore.The basicMultiple Object Tracking(MOT) technique has proved useful for exploring a range of questions concerning human visual information processing.Over 20 papers have been published using this paradigm.In the present series of studies we will examine certain factors that affect this ability.In particular we will test a number of ideas concerning what limits the number of objects that can be tracked (to about 4 or 5).
Objective of the Internship
- To familiarize students with the steps involved in developing a research project, from initial motivating ideas to a rough design, design of materials, pilot studies, draft final design, tuning of parameters, and execution of the experiment.
- To familiarize students with methods used to study human information processing – including the use of reaction time and error measures.
- To familiarize students with the problems of discovering patterns in the data.This will involve learning about the various data summarization and statistical analysis tools of human research.
- To provide practical experience in carrying out research projects, analyzing data, and writing up and presenting results in meetings (including experience in using specialized tools at each stage of this process).
Steps toward achieving these objectives
The Internships involve training in the use of laboratory techniques and methods as well as practice in the use of these techniques in the course of helping to run an already designed study as well as to design and execute at least one original experiment using the computational tools already developed in this laboratory.
Evaluation of student’s work as an intern
Every intern is expected to take an active part in the regular lab meetings and to present his or her ideas on ongoing research projects. Interns are also required to submit a final report that would form the basis for a paper or a poster or talk submitted to a national conference, such as the cognitive Science Society.Evaluation of this work will be included in any letters of reference requested of the laboratory head.
- Recruiting and running subjects
- Putting up signs, visiting classes with sign up forms.
- Dealing with subjects
- Informed consent forms
- Talking with the subjects and answering questions.Formal feedback.
- Handling subject payments when appropriate
- Attending Lab meetings
- General lab meetings are held weekly.Individual meetings between people involved in particular projects and the principle investigator are held weekly on a different day from the general lab meetings.All members of the laboratory, including staff and interns, are expected to attend all scheduled meetings.
- Presentations at general lab meetings.Each lab member is expected to present a summary of a relevant research article at least once per semester.The presentation will summarize the main points of the article and its relevance to the work the student is conducting in the laboratory.Lab members are also expected to give periodic brief reports on the project on which they are working.
- Readings and library research
A set of principle and secondary readings are provided at the start of the Internship.The principle readings are general articles on the theme of the laboratory’s work and students are expected to have read them within a few weeks of starting their internship.Along with the resources of the Rutgers library, the secondary readings provide references for the student’s presentation and paper.Students are expected to become proficient in the use of the various library resources, including on-line materials.
- Acquiring research skills
Students are expected to acquire certain research-related skills and in some cases will be aided in this process by lectures given by staff and by the PI.These include:
- Appreciating the ethical issues in human research.All students are required to pass theHuman Subjects Certification Program, an on-line course required of individuals running experiments involving human subjects.This is a requirement imposed by NIH and by the Rutgers Internal Review Board.
- Students will become familiar with a number of computer tools used in data collection, sufficient for using these tools, though not necessarily for programming new original experiments.These will include:
- The use of computer based experiment-running software, such as VisionShell or rudiments of MatLab sufficient to appreciate how to explain requirements to our programmers and to make simple modifications to existing programs.
- Students may also need to become familiar with the use of the ISCAN eye movement tracking equipment.
- First-level knowledge of the use of tools for data-summarization, graphing, analysis, and presentation.These may including Excel, SPSS, PowerPoint and graphics software.
- Acquiring experience in analyzing data and presenting results
On arrival, each intern will be provided with a key, ID,photocopy account number, and a copy of the current Intern's Manual. The current manual is available at Current Intern's Manual.