Celebrating Students ’13: Genevieve Aniello

I spent my summer interning at the New York University Infant Cognition and Communication Laboratory (NICCL).  The first two weeks I was terrified of making a single typing error as I was warned any incorrect data would completely ruin any scientific findings and all the work the lab had done so far.  As the weeks went on, I realized that this was not exactly the case.  However, I did begin to understand the urgency of being unbelievable mindful of every move.  In our weekly meetings, during which we often discussed the reasoning behind the studies, I realized that the foundational research done with infants at NICCL is necessary in understanding any cognitive abnormalities that are diagnosed later in development, such as Autism.

The other four interns and I spent each day preparing the schedule of the infants coming in to be run in the studies, the study rooms, and paperwork, such as parental permission and general information.  We were also able to act in studies using the “violation of expectation” method, which examines the subject’s ability to understand cause and effect.  For example, a scene would be acted out in which the obvious outcome would not occur, and the subject’s reaction is recorded.  We also transferred and processed video, coded data, and scheduled infants to come into the lab for the following weeks.  Interning at NICCL was extremely hands-on and an eye-opening experience into the way that every published study we read in our psychology courses comes to fruition.  As I continue to explore the psychology major at Wesleyan, the two months I spent at NICCL are already proving to be an invaluable experience.