Tuesday, May 8, 2018

URSP Student Aslihan Imamoglu Investigates the Neural Mechanisms Behind Implicit Biases through Brain Stimulation

I initially got interested in my project after learning about different neural mechanisms that influence
our individual control over implicit biases. As a highly efficient way of categorizing the world, implicit biases have always amazed me with their tendency to lead to over-generalizations and irrational errors when applied to social settings. Although most people do not like to admit to it, all people have implicit biases. Thus, it is important for us researchers to investigate them in a scientifically sound manner in an attempt to better understand how they function. This thought process led me to design a study that investigates the neural mechanisms behind implicit biases through brain stimulation. I eventually want to take my research a step further by pursuing a PhD. in Clinical Psychology with a specific focus on neuropsychology. Working on this OSCAR project and designing my own study from scratch have been really helpful for me to concretely decide on my long-term goal of pursuing a PhD. in clinical neuropsychology and sharpen my skills to prepare for this goal. I am currently in the process of collecting data. So, a regular week for me involves scheduling participants for appointments through the SONA system, administering transcranial direct current stimulation to participants, and monitoring the participants as they perform the study. I am also actively preparing to present by research in an academic setting. This semester, I was able to discover that a good research project is not about having one really good idea, but requires multiple really good ideas to work well together in a coherent way.