I usually prefer not to start a monologue with clichés, but studying Psychology feels somewhat of a lifestyle to me. The past three years have reshaped how I see people and the human mind and the best part is, that learning about the brain and human behaviour has only strengthened my determination to Psychology, the science that aims to explain what is deep inside and also what connects us as people.
Working as a research assistant over summer not only allowed me to gain invaluable experience in research, but it also gave me the opportunity to challenge myself in a variety of domains. Working closely with my supervisor, Dr Clare Sutherland, we conducted a study that looked at how stereotypes about looking like a good researcher may influence public perceptions of scientific literature. Given the pandemic situation, I was working from Budapest, Hungary. My remote position did not make me feel distant from the University. I worked alongside other students and in our regular meetings with the lab and Clare, we shared ideas, made suggestions and helped each other with different problems in our projects.
My tasks involved pilot testing, composing comprehensive instructions, data analysis and reporting our results. While I was able to brush up on my Excel and SPSS skills, one of my goals during my assistantship was to gain a basic understanding of coding in R. With Clare’s and my friend’s, Marcell’s help (who is an UoA graduate and a great computer scientist) I have become comfortable using R for sorting and analysing data (not mentioning learning to deal with the headaches caused by trial and error in coding!). This summer I learnt how to work independently, organize my time and prioritize between tasks. I had the opportunity to present fingings and ideas to Dr Ana Gheorghiu from the University of Portsmouth, as our study followed up on her work (Gheorghiu et al., 2017). The exciting experience of analysing data that we collected makes me feel confident about starting my last year as an undergrad and starting my Honours project.
Gheorghiu, A. I., Callan, M. J., & Skylark, W. J. (2017). Facial appearance affects science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(23), 5970-5975.
Felix will begin his final year of undergraduate studies in September 2021.