I will likely NOT be recruiting graduate students for Fall 2024.
Our labs admits students through the Psychology Program and the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program (the links lead to the admissions page of each program; be sure to check those out). In Psychology, our group accepts students through the Cognitive Area, which also includes specializations in cognitive neuroscience and computational cognition.
You should also check out the labs and work of other faculty members in whichever program you're applying through (Psychology, NSIDP). You can also check out work done at UCLA's Brain Research Institute, of which Dr. Blank is a member. There are often opportunities for co-advising and/or collaboration.
If you're interested in joining our lab as a grad student, we highly recommend getting in touch with Idan before applying (but this is certainly not required—we will carefully consider any application!)
Are you an undergraduate in the LA area interested in language comprehension looking for research opportunities? Come be a scientist in the BlankLangLab! If you are a UCLA student, you may be able to receive credit for your work.
Working in a lab as an undergraduate is a fantastic way to get research experience, which can be useful not only for preparing yourself for the next steps of a career in science, but also finding out whether you enjoy doing research in the first place. More importantly, research is fun!
Depending on your level of preparation and background, you may be involved in various aspects of research as a Research Assistant (RA) in our lab including: designing research projects, creating materials and setting-up tasks, running participants, analyzing data, presenting at academic conferences, and preparing manuscripts for publication. Ideally, we are looking for RAs who are interested in becoming an integral part of our team and significantly contributing, rather than being one small cog in a big machine. In some cases, RAs in our lab have led their own projects! For this reason, we only consider candidates who:
Can commit to at least two quarters of work, for 10 hours per week (whereas projects might end after one quarter, most projects take longer). The first quarter will always be on a volunteer basis; depending on your performance, you may stay for a second quarter and receive course credit should you wish to do so.
Are at least sophomores; preference will be given to juniors and seniors who need 196B credit to graduate.
Have taken PSYCH 100A (statistics) or an equivalent course. We recommend having taken PSYCH 100B as well.
Have taken PSYCH 85 or PSYCH 120A with a grade of B+ or higher.
Are comfortable coding in either Python, R, or Matlab, and are willing and able to quickly learn a programming language they are unfamiliar with if required.
Are independent and able to figure things out on their own. While you will be mentored very closely and receive frequent guidance and feedback, we expect you to be able to demonstrate resourcefulness when problems arise and seriously attempt to solve them if you can.
If you are interested in one of these positions, you should e-mail Idan with answers to the following questions:
What is your class year and major (if you have one)?
Why are you interested in getting research experience?
Broadly speaking, what would you like to study here in the lab? (If your answer is not related to topics we currently study in the lab, we might not be a good fit for you.) To answer this question, you could share a thought about one of our recent papers, or even propose a new study (whether based off a paper you read, or just out of the blue!).
What relevant coursework or research experience have you had?
What programming languages are you comfortable using?
(if you do not include all the information above, we may not get back to you)
Note that we are very excited about having all sorts of students with different backgrounds / experience. Even if you've never worked at a lab before, we want to hear from you!
We ask that students interested in an Honors thesis first do one quarter of research in the lab; Idan cannot formally commit to mentoring an Honors thesis prior to completion of one quarter.
We are also happy to consider other types of visitors to the lab. For example, we may be able to host a graduate student from another institution for an entire academic year or shorter stints of several months. We do not currently have funding for such positions—visitors must come with their own funding (e.g., dissertation fellowships, grants from their home departments, or other independent sources). Visitors may also come from areas other than psychology, such as linguistics or computer science. If this kind of visit sounds right to you, please feel free to email Idan.