Through the eyes of an undergraduate student: I was part of ManyBabies, an international collaboration project

Guest post by Meghan Mastroberardino, third year undergraduate student in Psychology at Concordia University

So, you think you might want to have a career in psychology? In North America, most people who end up calling themselves psychologists began as undergraduate students in a Bachelor of Psychology program and have then completed a PhD. I am a third year undergraduate student in Psychology at Concordia University. One of the best ways to get a better picture of grad school is to volunteer in a research lab and take part in research projects. I have found that it has been challenging journey but it’s when I joined the Concordia Infant Research Lab and met my supervisor in my second year, Dr. Krista Byers-Heinlein, that I felt that maybe psychology really was meant for me. I pushed myself and took on as much responsibility as I could in the lab and for the past year, she and I have worked closely together on a large-scale, pre-registered study called ManyBabies1. Continue reading Through the eyes of an undergraduate student: I was part of ManyBabies, an international collaboration project

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Rejection report: Part 1

Sometimes, things just fall into place:  The evening before the most recent Academic Crisis Line on dealing with rejection and frustration, I got a pre-holiday manuscript rejection. As pointed out by the crisis liners, rejection in academia happens to everyone on a rather regular basis. So what we should really be concentrating on is to deal with it in the most self-preserving and productive ways possible. One thing that can really help is to talk through it, and to connect with others in similar situations.

So I thought it would be an interesting experiment to share my unfiltered thoughts while I deal with this rejected paper here on this blog.

Continue reading Rejection report: Part 1

Why we don’t need to be afraid that preregistration prevents creativity

One argument that often comes up when I talk to skeptics of preregistration is that it stands in the way of creative and exciting research. I couldn’t disagree more. Preregistration and registered reports are among the very best developments that have come out of Psychology’s replication crisis. Both guide a way towards better research. But since the sentiment that preregistration and creativity are not compatible is so prevalent and seems so genuine (as opposed to being an excuse to engage in questionable research practices), I do want to expand on some main reasons why preregistration does not dampen creativity in research. Continue reading Why we don’t need to be afraid that preregistration prevents creativity

Scientists need more Europe, not less

This month, we are celebrating the anniversary of Germany’s reunification. This event is very important to me, as it reminds me every year, together with the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in November, how lucky I am to be able to live the international scientist nomad life. Although this lifestyle with short term contracts has a lot of downsides, it is also a unique opportunity to work with various amazing people and follow your curiosity and ambition where it takes you. Continue reading Scientists need more Europe, not less

The Straightforward Academic (or: Your advisor also poops)

This entry is part of a summer series over at the wonderful My Scholarly Goop, featuring true tales of early career researchers’ scholarly paths. Read my contribution here, and head over to the series to get a new essay each Friday, the whole summer long.

Not pursuing a PhD was, frankly, never part of my thought process. My parents are both researchers (albeit, in Biophysics and Physical Chemistry), and I grew up spending Sunday afternoons in the lab proudly reproducing the Briggs-Rauscher reaction in my own little lab coat while my parents were working. I’m a bit like the medical doctor who became a doctor because her parents are also MDs. You could say I tried to be a bit different and decided to become an opthamologist instead of a dermatologist, but that’s really about how crazy I went. Continue reading The Straightforward Academic (or: Your advisor also poops)

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing

Naomi Havron is currently a postdoc at the LSCP in Paris, France. She is investigating syntactic adaptation and syntactic category learning in children and infants.

I spent four years writing my thesis, four years of ups and downs, p values smaller than .05, but also some t values smaller than .05. At times, I felt confident and optimistic, at times less so – this was somewhat correlated with the p values, but not significantly so.

Then it came time to start gathering everything I did into an article thesis. In the Hebrew University, at least in my year, not all of these articles had to be published articles, and you could also include manuscripts you did not plan to submit for publication. I thought I would write up everything, even my null results, because whoever reads my dissertation (well, at least all those 1st year PhD students and my grandfather) could probably learn just as much from my failed attempts than from my success stories. Continue reading The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing

Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

This week, I am tweeting not from my own account, but from the science communication “rocur” (rotating curator) account realsci_DE, the German version of realscientists. This is the latest instance of a few experiences in talking about science and my work as a scientist to a non-expert audience, and I’ve learned a great deal from and about this in the past. So I thought I’d share a few insights that I had along the way (fun fact: there are no natural born communicators, it all needs practice).

First tell me how this helps scientists!

Continue reading Shouting from the ivory tower: SciComm for beginners

We Stand in Solidarity with Scientists Across the Globe

Two weeks ago, I came back to the US after my holiday trip to Germany and France. This moment when you stand in front of the frosty immigration officer who makes you press all your fingers onto the dirty glass of the fingerprinting scanner, takes a webcam photo of your travel-exhausted face, and then scrutinizes your papers. This moment alone always makes me feel like an illegitimate intruder. But of course, it always goes well for me. This last time the immigration officer, still with her poker face on, noticed that my visa would run out in 3 months. Yes, I said hurriedly, I need to reapply. Ever wondered why they make you do this, the officer asked. I looked at her, slightly alarmed. To make a shitload of money out of you, she said, looked up, and smiled a friendly smile. I also smiled, relieved. We both laughed, and that is how I re-entered the United States of America.

Continue reading We Stand in Solidarity with Scientists Across the Globe

An interview with a next generation methodological freedom fighter

Meet Anne Scheel, PhD candidate at LMU Munich. She stood up and asked the author of the opinion piece on “methodological terrorism” for a statement after her keynote at the DGPS conference. Since tough questions in front of big audiences by young women are still a rare thing to encounter at conferences (and elsewhere), we were curious to know how this went down for her. And of course, we also took the opportunity to discuss the content of the piece in question. Continue reading An interview with a next generation methodological freedom fighter

Critical culture

Criticism, and how to (not) do it has been a hotly discussed topic. For example, there is a very useful three-point guide by Uri Simonsohn how to handle criticism in a civil way. If you do science, you will be criticized at some point and you will have to criticize others. After all, our whole peer review system hinges on picking out all that might be wrong. Not everyone knows how to give and handle feedback, actually, and it’s really very hard sometimes (and this is for example an integral part of science woman’s origin story). Some people might spend their whole scientific career never learning anything about being constructive, be it as recipient or criticizer. Continue reading Critical culture