The Developmental Personality Neuroscience Lab provides a variety of opportunities for undergraduate students interested in psychopathology research, neuroscience, or statistical methods. We also have opportunities for students with programming experience who would like to contribute to neuroimaging and methodological studies.
We are eager to recruit highly motivated undergraduate students who can commit to working at least 2 semesters in the lab. Although most of our undergraduates participate for course credit or volunteer, we also work with students who apply for paid research fellowships. Students who wish to complete a senior honors thesis project should work in the lab at least 2 semesters prior to pursuing their thesis.
Thank you for your interest in joining our lab. Our graduate students have opportunities to engage in comprehensive and collaborative research and clinical training in developmental personality neuroscience. We encourage interested individuals to learn more about our graduate student opportunities through our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section written by Dr. Hallquist. Dr. Hallquist will not be accepting a new graduate student for the Fall 2022 cycle.
GRADUATE STUDENT FAQs
Our research sits at the crossroads of personality science, computational psychiatry, quantitative psychology, and developmental and cognitive neuroscience. Although no single project necessarily encompasses all of these domains, the interdisciplinary nature of our work means that we prioritize graduate applicants whose training and background have multiple points of contact with these perspectives. For this reason, applicants with educational backgrounds in psychology, mathematics, computer science, engineering, statistics, and/or neuroscience are most competitive. Applicants whose undergraduate training did not include a significant emphasis on statistics or math are typically less competitive.
There is no specific experience that is a ‘must’ for graduate training in the lab. That said, successful applicants typically have substantial experience in personality research, neuroscience, clinical neuroimaging, quantitative methods, or computational modeling. Most successful graduate applicants have at least one year of full-time post-baccalaureate experience in an active research laboratory and/or were remarkably active in research during their undergraduate training. These intensive research experiences are important to give you a chance to explore whether a research career suits you well and it provides crucial training experiences that help me assess your application.
Absolutely, please feel free to get in touch with me before you apply. In fact, given how many applications our program receives each year, emailing in advance (typically in the summer before you apply) can provide a useful opportunity to connect before the formal application process begins. You can email me to tell me more about your research training and interests. Scientific fit is one of the most important components of being offered a graduate student position in the lab. I encourage you to review some of our recent conceptual papers that outline the scientific view that motivates much of our empirical work. For example, see Hallquist, Schreiber, Hall, & Dombrovski (2018, Current Opinion in Psychology) and Allen, Schreiber, Hall, & Hallquist (2020, Journal of Personality Disorders).
One of my favorite parts of work in the lab is that we have an amazing team of individuals with different areas of strength and expertise. Some people have greater depth in brain development, others are experts in computational methods. When evaluating graduate applications, I look for students who can develop their own lines of research, but whose core interests overlap with the central emphasis of our lab on neurocomputational approaches to personality and psychopathology. In my experience, students who have a deep conceptual commitment to adaptive and maladaptive personality research and who value quantitative and experimental approaches are most competitive.
I accept graduate students into the Clinical and Quantitative programs within the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC-Chapel Hill. I also consider applications from dual-track students (e.g., neuroscience + clinical).
I will not be accepting a new graduate student into the clinical program for Fall 2022.
RESEARCH STAFF OPPORTUNITIES
We offer in-depth research opportunities for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate level individuals.
Research Coordinator Position:
From time to time, our lab hires full-time research coordinators to oversee larger grant-funded projects. If we currently have an opening, it will be posted on our home page, including a link to apply formally through UNC’s careers page. Our research coordinators assist with the design, implementation, and administration of psychological research projects focusing on personality, neuroscience, and computational modeling. This position will coordinate and implement human subjects research following established procedures. Responsibilities include assistance with research design and protocols, data collection and management, participant recruitment and retention, lab administration, supervising undergraduates, and analysis of behavioral and neuroimaging data. An ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of training and experience necessary to perform the work. The successful candidate will have excellent organizational skills, professionalism, and customer service skills. They will show willingness and ability to learn and understand research tasks. A background and experience with clinical psychology or cognitive neuroscience is preferred.
RESEARCH COORDINATOR FAQs
This depends on the source of funding, but typically research coordinators work on research studies that involve clinical assessments, neuroimaging, eye-tracking, and/or peripheral physiological recording. Our larger projects share an emphasis on understanding neurocomputational systems involved in personality pathology, suicide, and affective instability.
Full-time research coordinator positions are best suited to applicants who can commit to two or three years in the lab and who aspire to complete a research-oriented PhD program in the behavioral sciences. A multi-year commitment gives you time to ‘learn the ropes’ of running large studies in the lab while also providing training and professional development experiences, including opportunities to contribute to manuscripts and grants.
If we have a current position, the link to UNC’s career page will be provided on the home page. At present we are not hiring for any positions.
Post-doctoral Scholar Position:
Post-doctoral scholars will have ample opportunities to develop independent research projects and to publish empirical papers using existing data. Ideally, our scholars should have experience with both functional neuroimaging and the development of reinforcement learning or computational models of behavior. Postdocs will work on NIH-supported lines of research in close collaboration with Dr. Alex Dombrovski’s Decision Neuroscience and Psychopathology Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. Our scholars have strong quantitative skills, experience in cognitive, social, affective, or computational neuroscience, and an interest in decision-making in psychopathology. We offer opportunities to develop and lead new research within the broader aims of the lab and guidance in obtaining independent funding. The lab environment is highly collaborative and postdocs have the opportunity to learn reinforcement learning modeling and functional imaging techniques.
POST-DOCTORAL SCHOLAR FAQs
I am open to postdoctoral applicants who completed a PhD in psychology, neuroscience, engineering, statistics, or computer science. At the postdoctoral level, I am especially interested in applicants who can bring expertise and depth in an area that complements the broader scientific focus of the lab.
There is no singular experience that is most important. That said, competitive candidates in the behavioral sciences typically have substantial experience with experimental methods, statistical analysis (esp. multilevel and structural equation modeling), neuroimaging analysis, and/or computational modeling. I am open to applicants who wish to make contributions more in the methodological realm. Such applicants should have experience with signal processing, cognitive modeling, neuroimaging, and/or multivariate stastistics.
I prioritize applicants who can ‘hit the ground running’ in at least one domain, allowing them to have a clearly defined publishable project early in the postdoctoral experience. I also particularly appreciate applicants who bring a skillset or scientific perspective to the lab that is distinct from our current expertise. This makes science more fun and supports more wide-ranging conversations and project ideas.
This depends substantially on the postdoc’s skill set and interests. That said, I typically anticipate that postdocs spend most of their time analyzing data and writing papers. I also encourage postdocs to write grants and provide substantial guidance and training on this process. Postdocs in the lab typically have little role in lab administration and data collection.
If we have a current position, the link to UNC’s career page will be provided on the home page. At present, we are not hiring for any positions.