ECCLlogo The Early Childhood Cognition Lab
at the University of Washington
| Home | Research | People | Info for Students | Info for Parents | News | Contact |


Interested in hearing the results of our current studies? Click here to view our newsletters!

Enjoyed your visit? Spread the word! Like us on Facebook!

Skip to information for: undergraduates, honors students, or graduate students

Information for undergraduate research assistants

Why the ECCL?
      The ECCL is an excellent place to be a research assistant because our undergraduates and volunteers are directly involved with testing, which may not be the case in other labs. Research assistants are also encouraged to get as involved with the research as they would like. Previous undergraduate assistants have taken on coding projects, designed and carried out original studies, and presented research in university as well as professional conferences. You will also gain valuable skills and experience that will prepare you for graduate school, and look great on applications and resumes.
      For most of the studies in the ECCL, we rely on undergraduate research assistants who are directly involved in testing. Research assistants play the roles of presenters (performing a simple action in front of the infant, such as picking up a toy and saying “Wow!”) and observers (coding infant eye gaze) in these experiments. Research assistants are also responsible for coding from video, data entry, subject recruitment and scheduling, video editing, babysitting, and other miscellaneous tasks. Because training for our lab takes a few weeks to complete, we require research assistants who can commit to the lab for at least two quarters. Our lab is open from 9 to 5 on weekdays, so daytime availability is required. We are a Macintosh-based lab, so experience with Macs and Excel are a bonus. We also prefer that our research assistants have experience working with children and have taken relevant courses, such as Psych 206 (Developmental Psychology) or Psych 209 (Fundamentals of Psychological Research). You may receive Psych 499 credit for working at the ECCL.

Summer internships
We occasionally take on summer interns from other institutions. UW is on the quarter system and our summer quarter is usually 9 weeks long. Because training takes a while to complete, we usually require research assistants to commit to at least two quarters in the lab. Since summer interns are only around for one quarter, we ask that you commit to working in the lab at least 10 hours per week for the full summer quarter.

Potential research assistants must complete an application and come in for an interview. To download the application, click here. Fill this application out on your computer and email it to to schedule an interview.

Please feel free to email us at for more information.

Information for honors thesis students
Students interested in pursuing individual projects concerning topics investigate by our lab may have the opportunity to pursue an honors thesis at the ECCL. The honors experience includes completing 499 credit during the winter and spring quarters of your junior year. During this time students learn a variety of research skills and help out with general lab duties including scheduling participants, testing participants, data entry and management, digital video editing, and coding from videotapes. During their senior year, honors students pursue an independent project under Professor Sommerville's supervision, which involves collecting data, coding behavior, analyzing the results of the study, writing it up as an honors thesis, and presenting it at a poster session. For general details about the honors program, click here. For information about pursuing an honors thesis under Professor Sommerville's supervision, please contact her at

Information for graduate students
      The Psychology Program at the University of Washington provides graduate students with critical research and thinking skills necessary for careers in academia or other research-related settings. Our program follows a basic mentorship model. Students work one-on-one with a core faculty member of their choosing, and also receive supervision from a co-advisor. Our program is unique in that it features faculty with both a broad range of research interests, along with a common interest in social cognition, a topic that is at the vanguard of current research in developmental psychology.
      During the course of graduate studies, students undertake a series of research goals that culminate in the proposal and completion of a doctoral thesis. In addition, students broaden and deepen their training by taking course work that includes classes in core concepts (e.g., biological basis of development, cognitive and linguistic development, social and personality development), statistical training, and also have the opportunity to take out-of-area classes and in-depth seminars that explore cutting-edge topics in developmental psychology and related fields. Funding is available in the form of teaching assistantships and research assistantships. Graduate students also have access to faculty across a range of areas (cognition and perception, behavioral neuroscience, social and personality psychology, clinical psychology, animal behavior, and quantitative psychology). A priority of our department is to foster and encourage interdisciplinary connections and research.
      Students with an interest in Professor Sommerville's work are encouraged to contact her directly for more information (

to top