Roles and Expectations

Principal Investigator 

The Principal Investigator (PI) is the director of the lab, which means she is in charge of the long-term vision of the lab. She oversees studies, advises and trains students, and is ultimately responsible for standing behind the science that the lab does. The PI is expected to:

  • meet regularly with senior lab members (postdocs, graduate students, lab managers, and thesis students)

  • work to secure funding for the lab and provide lab resources

  • advise, train, and oversee all aspects of study design, data analysis, and interpretation

  • provide critical edits, revisions, and feedback on writing

  • lead lab meetings

  • assist senior lab members with attaining their professional goals

Lab Manager

The Lab Manager is in charge of the logistics of running the lab, which means she is in charge of daily operations. S/he makes critical decisions about day-to-day lab operations, including:

  • hiring and training research assistants

  • supervising undergraduates in their daily tasks

  • conducting administrative duties (e.g., working with the IRB; ordering equipment)

  • ensuring that studies and data are collected properly

  • running research projects

  • setting lab policies and ensuring research is running smoothly

  • attending and occasionally leading administrative lab meetings

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are senior lab members that are receiving training on conducting research professionally. Their primary task is to run and carry out original research in the lab. They are responsible for:

  • taking the lead on study design and data analysis

  • learning how to conduct research, write grants, and present findings at conferences

  • training and mentoring research assistants

  • attending lab meetings

  • presenting their work at professional conferences

  • first-authoring projects that they run

Research Assistants

Research assistants are primarily undergraduate students (though they may be high school students or post-bachelor's). They are responsible for assisting with research tasks that include:

  • collecting data

  • recruiting participants and research sites

  • creating study stimuli

  • learning about research in cognitive development

Authorship Expectations

Once projects are completed, we write these studies up for publication. During the course of the study, we may also present the work at conferences. Authors listed on the projects are individuals that have significantly contributed to the design, data analysis, or write-up of the projects. These are the general expectations for authorship:

  • First Authors: First authors should plan to design the study, oversee data collection and coding, manage the data, conduct the analyses, write up the first version of the manuscript, and generally see it through to completion.

  • Middle Authors:  Middle authors are generally not involved in study design but contribute to the project in another meaningful way: usually by conducting data analyses or contributing to the write up of the manuscript.

  • Last Authors: The last author is usually the senior person who oversees the project and whose lab the project is based out of. Last authors should oversee all aspects of the project and be responsible for training the junior first authors study design, data analysis, and manuscript write-up. Occasionally, last authors are collaborators that have contributed to some part of the study design or analyses.

Expectations of all authors and lab members:

  • All authors should be able to articulate the study's methods and results

  • All authors should be comfortable discussing, presenting, and defending the work to other scientists and the public

  • All authors should be able to clearly articulate their role in the project

  • Discuss authorship early and don't be afraid to bring it up

  • Unless discussed otherwise, these are the general assumptions/guidelines for authorship in this lab:

    • Graduate students and postdocs​ should expect to be first authors on projects they are leading

    • Lab managers and other paid research staff should expect to be middle authors on projects to which they have contributed significantly (through study design, data analysis, or manuscript write-up)

    • The PI is typically last author on projects that are based out of her lab

    • When undergraduates have significantly contributed to projects through study design, analysis, or write-up, they may be co-authors on projects, though this is not the norm.