PSYC 4991 Directed Study Research  [4 SH course]

This course offers students the opportunity to participate in the conduct of empirical research in an active research laboratory. The experience typically involves working on a laboratory or field-based research project under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department. A research paper, oral presentation, or poster presentation of the student’s work is required. Specific areas and interests of faculty research are available in the Research section of this website(see also a summary here). For psychology majors, one completed semester of PSYC 4991 can be used to fulfill one lab course requirement. Any subsequent enrollments in PSYC 4991 can be counted as either psychology electives or university electives.

Before registering for a given semester, interested students need to contact and meet with the faculty member (or designated lab representative, listed in parentheses) in question about the possibility of enrolling in Directed Study Research under their direction. 

The following Northeastern psychology department professors often accept undergraduate students to participate in Directed Study Research (PSYC 4991) in their research laboratories:

Please note:  The number of openings for Directed Study Research is dependent on available space, faculty needs, and any prerequisite skills and/or courses that may be required for the research project.

The following are examples of Directed Study positions currently available; this is not an exhaustive list, and you should feel free to contact any of the professors listed above if you are interested in working with them!

  • The Phonology and Reading Lab is currently looking for 6-8 directed study students to begin work as soon as possible. Duties would include: recruitment, including posting flyers on/around campus and online and calling other institutions to advertise the project; coordination, with subjects, other RAs, clinicians, and other lab members; keeping logs; running subjects; and other tasks as needed. If interested, please visit the lab’s website for further information.
  • Need to fulfill your Psychology major (or Behavioral Neuroscience major) lab course requirement? The Lifespan Emotional Development lab (LEDlab) is seeking research assistants for the fall semester! Students working in the lab in the spring semester will be eligible for directed study lab credit (PSYC 4991), or can work on a volunteer basis. Dr. Derek Isaacowitz’s LEDlab uses eye-tracking to investigate the links between attention and emotion throughout the adult lifespan. The LEDlab is a great place for bright and motivated undergraduates to get hands-on experience in running psychological studies, collecting data, and working in a dynamic team environment, which may provide invaluable experience for graduate school or future careers. As a lab member, your duties may include scheduling and running research participants (both students and older adults), working with data, as well as other organizational aspects of the psychology lab.  Students in the lab course will also get training in research design and psychology writing. If you are interested, please email to set up an appointment.
  • Professor DeSteno’s Social Emotions Lab is accepting applications for directed study/work study/volunteer research positions. We’re expecting a time commitment of roughly 8 – 12 hours per week (applicants with flexible schedules would be preferred). Our lab examines how different emotions affect people’s social behavior. We are currently looking for research assistants to serve as both confederates and coders for some of our experiments. If you are interested in more information or in applying for this position, please visit the following website: Any questions you have may be forwarded to If you have applied before, feel free to send in another application!
  • Opportunities are available in Peter Bex’s lab to complete a research study in the field of human visual perception. Ongoing experiments include studies of spatial vision, motion perception, stereo vision, visual illusions and eye movements using using the latest technology for eye tracking and 3D displays. Please contact Dr. Bex for more information.
  • The Personality Lab has several directed study positions available. We need your help on two research projects. One project focuses on people’s video game behavior and its relationship to personality. The other project is a multi-method investigation of shame, guilt, and well-being, with an emphasis on distinguishing shame and guilt from each other. If you are interested, please send an email to Prof. Randy Colvin. Please include a resume if available.

Additional directed study opportunities for psychology undergraduates are available in the Department of Applied Psychology. Lab descriptions and contact information can be found here. For psychology majors, CAEP 4991 counts as either a psychology elective or a university elective.