During the past summer, I spent ten weeks working with Professor Maurice Schweitzer and Graduate student Polly Kang in the OIDD lab. Our project was “Learning from Emotional Expressions”; its main purpose was to determine what kinds of context is necessary to change the meaning of an emotional expression. For example, the happiness of a person is perceived very differently by others when that person is told to have just betrayed another in a simulation.
Contrary to my expectations, I spent most of the time reading different papers within the emotional context literature and pulling different statistics and procedures from each one. This was followed by analyzing the data across the studies and noting any similarities that appeared. Following this step, experiments were designed to test the observations seen in the researched studies. The experiments were mainly conducted using surveys I helped to arrange and run.
During my time working in OIDD, I also learned many skills that could be applied, both on a field-specific level, and on a more general level. Related to the field itself, I learned what research OIDD delved into. In relation to research, I experienced the process of formulating and executing experiments, and became more experienced in reading research papers and finding relevant information. On a larger scale, I feel I learned to read more quickly, how to pull specific data from papers more efficiently, and I learned how to manage my time more effectively as a whole.
By working with the people at OIDD, I feel that I gained a better sense of what topics the field covers. Over time, I grew to find these topics very interesting, and I eventually felt a strong desire to study these in further detail. I would like to thank the PURM program for introducing me to a new field that might end up as my declared major.