Overview of Lab Interests

In addition to psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, people with schizophrenia often have problems with cognition in many domains such as memory, learning, executive function, and attention.  Interestingly, it is these cognitive problems that are most strongly associated with a patient’s ability to function independently—not necessarily the severity of his or her psychotic symptoms.  In the MAPS lab, we are interested in the neurobiological mechanisms that support these cognitive processes in healthy people, and how these mechanisms are impaired in people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.  By understanding the underlying pathophysiology that gives rise to cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, we hope to be able to develop more effective and targeted treatments for remediating these deficits.

In our lab, we use two primary tools for studying these psychological phenomena: (1) computerized cognitive tasks, in which participants make button-press responses to stimuli that tax their attentional resources and working memory capacity; and (2) electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain wave responses to visual and auditory stimuli.

Your Role

Volunteer research assistants in the MAPS lab will be expected to commit 10 hours per week to work in the research lab, and a minimum of three consecutive quarters.  As a member of this lab, you will be asked to develop skills in a few specific areas, including:

  • Running participants through research protocols
  • Learn some basics of computer programming (instructional material provided, no previous experience required)
  • Critical analysis of journal articles

You can expect your 10 hours per week to divide roughly into 6 hours of running participants through research protocols, 3 hours of didactics/instructional activities, and 1 hour of lab meeting in which we discuss technical issues, answer questions about computer programming lessons, and discuss journal articles.  In short, my goal for your work in this lab is to help you to gain a broad skill set in a number of different types of research activities—not just collecting data!

Currently the application portal is closed. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are unfortunately unable to predict when we will be accepting applications for on-site undergraduate research assistants.  If you are interested in being notified when we begin accepting applications again, please contact the MAPS Lab coordinator, Laura Crespo (lpcrespo@uchicago.edu) and let her know that you would like to be added to a list of interested applicants. She will then send an e-mail reminder when the application portal opens. 

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