Research Assistant Positions

Our RA application for Fall 2023 are now open. We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis and plan to conduct interviews in August. You can apply here.

We are seeking motivated students to assist with research on the development of cooperative behaviors in young children. As a research assistant, you will participate in a variety of research activities, including recruiting and scheduling families, testing children online and in the lab (COVID policy permitting), coding and analyzing data, and helping with study design. Interests in psychology and in working with children are essential, and previous research experience is a plus. We ask you to commit to working 9-12 hours a week in the lab and attend our weekly lab meetings.

If you have any questions, please email us at


Courses for Fall 2023

Dr. Warneken teaches courses on the evolution and development of social cognition that are good starting points for getting involved in our research.

PSYCH 326 – Faculty Directed Early Research for Psychology

​Research assistants can earn course credits through many tasks and activities designed to strengthen their knowledge of child development and research.

See what past students had to say about working in our lab

Being a member of the Social Minds lab has been one of my favorite experiences here at Michigan. Working with children is already entertaining, but being able to assist on different studies instead of just one, makes it all the while better. The graduate students were always willing to hear the RAs input on testing techniques and other important details in their study, and they really valued our insight. This was really encouraging. This is definitely an environment in which you are heard and your interest in developmental psychology will absolutely increase!


At lab meetings, I have learned so much about all the details that go into making a study. Additionally, the lab creates such a welcoming atmosphere that everyone: RAs, graduate students, post-docs, and our PI all can collaborate comfortably leading to very intriguing and innovative discussions. We receive proper background knowledge about the studies being done and are constantly reading new research and gaining new knowledge related to our research interests.


Through working in the Social Minds Lab, I have been able to explore my passion for working with children and also better understand all the different pieces that make research possible. It is also a great way to supplement your learning about psychological development along with the classes the University offers. The lab is such a fun welcoming place and a nice way to get involved as an undergraduate student.


While I have initially struggled with approaching new people, working at the lab puts me directly in the position to work on my communication skills and grow as a researcher. I have improved immensely on being confident in my recruitment skills and my knowledge in psychology research. Being on the forefront of both participant recruitment and data collection at the Social minds Lab has been really fulfilling as a psychology major. 


At the start of the semester, as someone who had barely any research experience, I was not sure what to expect by working in the Social Minds Lab. However, over the course of past few months, I have been able to gain a solid understanding for how research is actually carried out through attending lab meetings, participating in museum shifts and recruiting for lab visits. A key component to my own development has been the emphasis on open communication within the lab: everyone is made to feel like they have a voice. Ultimately, I would absolutely recommend working at the Social Minds Lab to anyone who is looking to get involved in research.


As a part of the Social Minds lab we participated in recruiting potential subjects to participate in our studies, coded video recordings of the experiments, and helped out the lab instructors by assisting them with running the actual experiments. Being a part of this lab was an incredible experience because it taught me valuable lessons about research and what it is all about. To anyone out there who has the slightest interest in extremely fascinating research this is the lab for you. It has given me one of the best experiences of my college career and I’d recommend it to anyone!


Working in the Social Minds Lab this semester has been a great learning experience for me! I had the opportunity to participate in several research projects as an experimenter and gained valuable knowledge of what it means to run a psychology study. The research environment at SML is supportive and the team is super welcoming! I learned a lot this semester as an RA, and I can’t wait to return next semester!

Working for the Social Minds Lab, I’ve been able to see an experiment go from a brain storming session to actual testing.  Everyone who works in the lab gets to contribute ideas and talk through research papers that our grads, post grads, and post docs share. It truly is such a welcoming and inclusive experience working for the social minds lab and I can’t wait to return next semester!