2019 NSF REU Summer Internship

Open for applications!

NSF REU Site: Comparative and Developmental Origins of Social Cognition
Program Information for Summer 2019


Overview: The REU program is supported by an award from the U.S. National Science Foundation (Award #1659085) to Yale University as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. The REU program has both scientific and societal benefits integrating research and education. The broad goal of the Comparative and Developmental Origins of Social Cognition REU Site is to provide students from under-represented backgrounds with joint training in developmental and comparative psychology research. Students will gain experience investigating the origins of human social cognition from two different but related perspectives: developmental studies testing human children’s social understanding and comparative studies examining social cognition in domesticated dogs. The REU is coordinated by Psychology professors Dr. Laurie Santos and Dr. Yarrow Dunham.

Responsibilities: REU students will have a rare opportunity to participate in all aspects of the research process: research design, subject recruitment, stimulus generation, data collection, data entry, coding, and statistical analysis. In addition, students will have the opportunity to interact as colleagues: participating in weekly lab meetings, reading current literature, contributing to theoretical discussions regarding the comparative and developmental origins of social cognition, and attending a professional development series focusing on topics such as applying to graduate school, getting the most out of your undergraduate career, etc. Students will meet weekly with a graduate student mentor, and the PI and co-PI will attend bi-monthly social events. Please note that students must commit to the full 40 hrs/week 10 week program, and must commit to working a number of weekends. 

The REU Fellowship includes an $500/week stipend and can cover limited travel costs.

Professional Training: Our interns will also have the opportunity to take part in professional development training. Each intern will be assigned a graduate student mentor that they will meet with biweekly. In addition, interns will attend a weekly professional development workshop, in which they will have the opportunity to learn about applying to graduate school and life in academia. Past workshop topics have included “Getting the most out of undergrad,” “What’s grad school really like?” and “Workshopping personal statements.”

To be eligible for the Yale REU program, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

  • be a full-time student

  • have experience or be comfortable working around children and dogs

A primary objective of this REU site is to include students who have fewer research opportunities, including those attending non-Research I universities and students from underrepresented groups and first-generation college students. In this way, this REU proposal aims to increase the odds that its undergraduates will be competitive in applying to graduate school in psychology or a related field. In addition, this REU site will be one of the few locations in the world where students can to study one topic (social cognition) from many perspectives including a comparative approach, a developmental approach, and an adult social psychological approach.

Application: All prospective interns will need to provide the following materials:

  1. An application form.

  2. One letter of recommendation (have recommender email to reu.application@gmail.com)

  3. A resume/CV (email to reu.application@gmail.com)

Applications are open to all students that meet the eligibility requirements listed below. An emphasis will be placed on admitting students who may not otherwise have research opportunities available to them at their undergraduate institution. The Yale REU Program especially welcomes applications from community college students, women, and students from populations underrepresented in the research sciences.

Timeline: The start and end dates are June 3rd, 2019 and August 9th, 2019, respectively. Interns are expected to arrive for the first day and stay through the last day. Applications will be reviewed starting March 1st, 2017.  All portions of your application must be received on or before February 28th, 2019 for consideration.


For more information, contact Yiyun Huang (Center Manager).

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Yale undergraduates can work as research assistants in the Social Cognitive Development Lab, either for course credit, or as a volunteer. Positions are 6-10 hours per week, and applicants should be comfortable interacting with children ages 3-12 as well as parents in person and over the phone.

Responsibilities activities may include:

  • Calling and scheduling families to visit our lab

  • Facilitating and running child participants in our lab

  • Attending weekly lab meetings

  • Assisting in stimuli design

  • Entering and analyzing data

If interested, descriptions of lab member's research interests can be found on the people page. 

To learn more about or apply for a position, please send your resume to the SCD Lab manager, Sophie Arnold, sophie.arnold [at] yale [dot] edu.

Graduate Students

If you are interested in pursuing graduate research with the Social Cognitive Development Lab, please see the Psychology Department Graduate Program for application information.