Research Assistant Opportunities

The Sidanius Lab is always on the lookout for strongly motivated Research Assistants to support its varied research program. Research Assistants (RAs) are welcome either on a volunteer basis, or for course credit (by enrolling in PSY 2570r or 910r). RAs are required to commit to a minimum number of hours per week depending on their enrollment and the lab’s needs. They are also invited to attend and participate in weekly lab meetings in which we discuss the lab’s research. Lab meetings are required for RAs enrolled in 2570r, but are optional for volunteers or those enrolled in 910r. If interested, Research Assistants may be invited to present and receive feedback on their own research ideas. 

Below is a description of ongoing research being conducted in the lab. To apply for a Research Assistant position, contact Lumumba Seegars ( with your CV and the brief RA application here or at the bottom of the page.

Please Note: For RAs who are students of Harvard University, attendance of the regular lab meetings for Harvard College undergraduates taking PSY 910a or PSY 2570r is required. For the Fall 2016 semester, the lab meetings will take place Fridays, from 9-11am in the 14th Floor Conference Room of William James Hall (33 Kirkland St.). Students who take either course as a part of being a research assistant receive full credit from research assisting, a final paper, and a final presentation (for 2570r). Please also note that individual researchers in The Sidanius Lab may require research assistants to attend meetings at their discretion to fulfill research needs.

**updated as of August 30th for Fall 2016**



Primary Investigator: Rachel Arnett

Research Topics: Identity, Status, Diversity, Relationships

Research Overview: 

Rachel Arnett, a doctoral candidate in the Sidanius Social Psychology Lab on Intergroup Relations, is seeking individuals who are interested in a Research Assistant position focusing on the topics of race, culture, identity, and workplace inclusion. Rachel's research  investigates how individuals in diverse workplaces cultivate a sense of inclusion through expressing and concealing social identity differences (such as differences in race, culture, education, etc). Rachel is interested in RAs with a variety of backgrounds, but has a particularly strong need for RAs who identify as Black or African-American. Research Assistants would have the following responsibilities:

-          Conduct literature reviews on topics such as race, culture, identity, interracial interactions, diversity, and inclusion

-          Design and create studies using online platforms such as Qualtrics

-          Play the role of experimenter or confederate (a person who plays the role of a participant in a study, but is actually a part of the research team) in a lab experiment

-          Attend lab meetings with other RAs

- RAs must be able to commit at least 8-10 hours/week to RA responsibilities.

 If you are interested, please send your resume and availability (dates available and number of hours/week available) to Rachel Arnett at

Accepting RAs on this project for the Fall. Also, some need for Black RAs specifically.

Expected Hours: 10-20 hours per week depending on total number of RAs.



Primary Investigator: Sa-kiera Hudson (Kiera)

Research Topics: Power/Dominance; Hierarchy; Intersectionality; Race; Gender; Developmental Psychology; Social Identities

Research Overview: What does it mean on a psychological level to have power and how to we determine who has it? Are race, gender, and sexual orientation examples of power hierarchies and what does this mean for intergroup relations? I have several projects relating to this question. First, when do people start to recognize social power hierarchies? This question will be answered by examining hierarchy identification in children. Second, what are the experiences of discrimination at the nexus of race, gender, and sexual orientation? How can we better our understanding of intersectionality in psychology? Third, how does biological individual differences of testosterone levels predict intergroup aggression and perceptions of threat? Fourth and finally, how do higher status groups maintain their privilege and status in society?

Research Assistant Opportunities: I am looking for RAs that are extremely eager to learn about the research process and are flexible with their time. Broadly speaking, RAs can get involved with almost every stage of the research process, from research design and idea development to data collection to writing manuscripts. I have several projects that have specific needs and because of that, I am looking for RAs who are interested in multiple projects.

  1. Children and Hierarchies: I need RAs who are good with children, can commit to going to the Boston Children’s Museum 1 day a week (often on a weekend) for 4 hours to run subjects, and potentially go to local schools to run subjects. These RAs will get extensive experience running subjects, entering in data, creating stimuli, and doing literature reviews.
  2. Social Dominance and Testosterone; Intersectional Theories; Power and Intergroup Relations: I need RAs who will be experimenters and confederates for a set of lab studies. They will also create studies using Qualtrics and do some campus surveying. Finally, these RAs will help me create study stimuli and conduct extensive literature researches.

Accepting RAs on this project for the Fall. Also special need for Asian (preferably a man with an accent) and LGBTQ RAs.

Expected Hours: Flexible, but around 8-10 hours a week for part-time RAs and 16-20 hours a week for full-time RAs.



Primary Investigator: Gregory Davis

Research Topics: Person Evaluation, Admissions, Ideology & Policy Preference, Law, Race, Sexual Orientation

Research Overview: I study the admissions process, specifically: the social psychological and sociological processes that underlie admissions decisions; the role that arbitrariness and bias may play in admissions decisions, and; how intergroup and intercultural dynamics play out in the application and admissions processes. For the 2016-17 year, I will be working on two projects related to this. First, I will be continuing study on the ways race, gender, and ideology predict admission bias. Second, I will be doing a separate study on how people favor or disfavor affirmative action policy based on who is favored. RAs are needed for both projects, and computer programming experience (Javascript, Qualtrics, Python, e.g.) will be helpful for both.

I will also be doing research on the political psychology of the Orlando Massacre and the Trump candidacy. Last, I have a project looking at the application and success of self-defense strategies in criminal defense, particularly as it relates to the race and gender of both the defendant and the victim. This project will require both psychological and legal research, and ideally the ability to form a relationship with the resources of the Harvard Law Library.

Research Assistant Opportunities: I will require four (4) RAs for the Fall 2016. This first two RAs should have a primary interest in social psychology, sociology, or higher education, as he or she will assist in my social psychology work on admissions. This will include research reviews, some data review and verification, and running experiments with participants in the lab. The second set of RAs will have more varied responsibilities and will assist me in my non-psychology work. Any interest in law and/or critical theory will be a great asset, as I will need assistance in literature review and theory development with this work. This work should require 10-20 hours/week. Multiple opportunities for co-authorship available for those willing to do some writing with me as well (which will require more hours per week of work). 

Accepting RAs for the Fall Semester

Expected Hours: 10-20 hours per week.



Primary Investigator: Lumumba Seegars, PhD Student 

Research Topics: Institutional Fit; Organizational Psychology; Hierarchy; Identity

Research Overview: My research, broadly, explores how organizations change over time as a function of the types of people within the organization as well as how those individuals interact with each other. Currently, I am looking at this question in two different ways: (1) person-organization fit based on individuals’ views concerning hierarchy and inequality, and (2) the negotiation and enactment of multiple identities within individuals and how this “identity work” affects collaboration, innovation, and other outcomes within organizations and broader environments. 

Research Assistant Opportunities: Research assistants will participate in multiple projects and in multiple stages of the research process (e.g. IRB approval, recruitment, conducting literature reviews, programming studies, and managing & running experiments). I am looking for highly motivated and flexible students with strong academic interests. 

NOT Accepting RAs on this project for the Fall Semester

Expected Hours:NA



Primary Investigator: Sasha Kimel, PhD

Research Topics: Racism, Conflict, Culture, Food

Research Overview: Can DNA ancestry testing make you racist? How does the experience of ostracism vary by one's ethnicity? Does disgust towards a culture's eating practices affect attitudes towards that group? How is ethnic conflict reduced and exacerbated? I examine questions like these using diverse ethnic groups and methodologies.

Research Assistant Opportunities: All research assistants will participate in several projects and in multiple stages of the research process (e.g. IRB approval, recruitment, conducting literature reviews, programming studies, and managing & running experiments). This Fall, there is lots of opportunities to help run lab experiments! RAs who have strong attention to detail and are highly motivated are particularly encouraged to apply.

Accepting RAs on this project for the Fall

Expected Hours:  10 hours per week


Primary Investigator: Mariska Kappmeier

Research Topic: Intergroup conflict, trust and inequality

Research Overview:  My research broadly tackles the challenges of diverse societies: How can trust be built between institutions and the diverse ethnic groups they serve? Specifically I investigate the trust relations between the police and local communities, since more than any other institution the police represent the state, while simultaneously being active in the local communities. My work ask questions such as, does the trust relation between Black and White into the police differ from each other? Do individuals with a higher acceptance of hierarchy also display a higher trust into the police, as a state institution? How do the expectations of Black communities in the police differ from White communities? Do individuals with a higher acceptance of hierarchy also display a higher trust into the police, as a state institution?

Research Assistant Opportunity: For the project I am looking for RAs to do surveys in three Boston communities: Mattapan, South Boston and Hyde Park. Research assistants will experience these communities first-hand and will learn about the differences within the different communities. Interpersonal skills of the RA are a plus, as are an open friendliness and ability to approach strangers.  You’ll get real-life experience with participants and data collection.

You can participate in this internship on a volunteer basis, with a weekly commitment of 4-5 hours, or enroll for course credit (by enrolling in PSY 2570r or 910r) with a weekly commitment of 10 hours.

Data collection is mainly done in the evening btw 4-8pm or on the weekend.

Accepting RAs on this project for the Fall

Expected Hours: 8-10h/ week





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