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Social Learning and Decisions lab at UMD
(launching August 2023)

Research in the lab focuses on uncovering the behavioral and neural computations involved in human social and affective influences on learning and decision-making processes, with a strong interest in how individual variability in these processes and their underlying computations relate to psychopathology.

The lab will be affiliated with the Department of Psychology as well as the newly established Brain and Behavior Institute.

Silhouette with Mountains

Interested in our research?

This could be you!

Read below to learn more about the lab research and philosophy and opportunities to join!

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently, the main funded research project in the lab (NIMH K99/R00 award) involves investigating multiple aspects of social learning, and characterizing their variation along the autism spectrum using a combination of computational modelling and neuroimaging.

Other interests include (but are not limited to):

- Computational psychiatry of social learning and decision-making

- Social learning across development

- Cognitive biases in social and affective information processes

What do you value outside of research?

1) Slightly outside of the specific research questions we are trying to answer, we strive to maintain the highest level of scientific integrity, as well as making our science open and reproducible.

2) Diversity, equity and inclusion: the lab should be a safe space in which every member belongs and thrives. See a working version of my commitment to DEI here.

3) Mentorship and career support: whatever you want to achieve beyond your stay in the lab, I want to help you get there!

4) Mental well-being and work-life balance: we all have a life beyond the lab, which we should value and take time for! Personally, I love being in nature, travelling, swimming, cooking, and spending quality time with friends and family!

What is kind of mentor are you?

As a mentor I encourage mentees to think critically and ask questions, and I learn to identify and cultivate their strengths so they can not only isolate a problem and develop the skills to solve it, but also thrive as team members and as scientists.​

I am also aware that different individuals learn and work differently, and I am committed to best adapt my mentorship style (frequency of meetings, hands-on vs hands-off, written vs verbal communication, etc) to what will work best for each lab member.

How can I join the lab?

There are various opportunities to join the lab if you are interested in our research and share our lab values!

1) Join as a graduate student, preferably through the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (but also possible through the Department of Psychology). Feel free to read this document for more details about applying for a Fall 2024 start.

2) Join as a part-time clinical staff. The lab will be looking to hire a part time clinical staff or full-time postdoc with a PhD in clinical psychology or relevant clinical experience (recruitment and assessment of adults with autism), and with a strong interest in further developing their research skills in neuroimaging and/or computational modelling. Specific job posting will come soon, but please do reach out at ccharpen[at]umd[dot]edu if interested!

3) Join as an undergraduate student - stay tuned in Fall 2023 for more information about possible undergraduate research opportunities for Spring/Summer 2024.

Additional resources for graduate school applicants

Twitter thread combining a gold mine of information for prospective graduate students and the grad school application process:

https://twitter.com/mscheuplein/status/1429947039912284164?s=20

Check if you qualify for an application fee waiver: https://gradschool.umd.edu/feewaiverinformation

Resources, training and tutorials for lab members

Work in progress, but here is a start!

  • Twitter thread of resources to learn R as a psychologist.

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