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For Students

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Description of Research

Research interests in the lab involve developmental affective neuroscience, individual differences in emotional reactivity, regulation, and temperament, the dynamics of behavioral and biological expression of emotion, and the effects of context on emotional behavior and physiological reactivity during the toddler and pre-Kindergarten years. The current longitudinal project is designed to explore the roles of temperament in social-emotional development and contains elements that probe maternal awareness and parental influence during toddler development. Research assistants will also be trained to discriminate affective behaviors, code and enter data, and work with related software programs:  Mangold (Interact), SPSS, NVivo, Qualtrics, etc.   

Method of Compensation

Research assistants may apply for PSYCH 494 course credit or work on a volunteer basis. Students eligible for work-study may be able to work in the lab for compensation after having worked in the lab for at least one semester. Participation provides a valuable experience and reference base for those considering graduate studies.

Requirements/Qualifications

Because of the nature and training involved with the study, we ask for a minimum overall GPA of 3.3 and a minimum commitment of at least 2 semesters (although the majority of our undergraduates stay on the project longer than the minimum requirement). Students should plan to spend 10 hours per week involved in lab-related activities, including a one-hour weekly lab/coding meeting which research assistants are required to attend.  Unique research opportunities are often available during summer sessions, too. 

Opportunities are available for completing a Senior Honor Thesis in the lab. Please discuss this opportunity with Dr. Buss well in advance of your junior year.  Most students pursuing this option already work in the lab but the option to join the lab as a Thesis student is also possible. Thesis students are required to work in the lab during their junior and senior years and this entails work on the larger project(s) and thesis work.

In addition, the new Penn State's/Liberal Arts' Human Resources policy requires background checks be completed for all students who will have contact with children and/or access to identifying information.  These checks/clearances will be processed by the university upon acceptance into the lab.  Students may not begin actual lab work until this process is completed.

To Apply

To ask a question, request more information, or submit an application, please contact Jensen Re at or

Link to Application:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1BrvqmhHt-pqUBDKi1jy9OJGCCYtYKtNE0xOiF0-v51I/edit?usp=sharing

Graduate Research Opportunities

Dr. Buss and the Emotion Development Lab are seeking highly motivated students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. involving research on emotional development in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Our research tries to understand the development of emotions through psychophysiological measures as well as behavioral coding.

Learn more about the graduate degree in the Developmental Area and Child Clinical Psychology

Learn more about our Lab Director, Dr. Kristin Buss.

Post-Doctorate Research Opportunities

Graduate students interested in pursuing a Post-Doc in the Emotion Development Lab should have graduate training in developmental psychology, child clinical psychology, human development, or related fields. Expertise in one or more of the following areas is preferred: temperament, emotions, emotion regulation, anxiety, HPA-axis, and/or psychophysiological methods (ECG, EEG/ERP). Experience with basic statistical methods is required. Additional experience with advanced statistics (e.g., multilevel modeling, growth modeling) would be ideal.