The West Interpersonal Perception Lab


Graduate Students

Tessa will not be accepting a graduate student during the 2024 application cycle, but she is interested in serving as a secondary advisor

Research Assistants

If you are interested in working in the lab as a Research Assistant, please complete this application.

High School Opportunities

We are not accepting applications from high school students at this time. However, recent high school graduates who are enrolled to NYU in the forthcoming academic year are eligible to apply for a position in the lab (see Undergraduate Research Opportunities).

Letter of Recommendation Requests

If you've worked in the lab as a research assistant, please ask for letters at least one month in advance of when the letter is due. Please fill out the forms online when you send requests (with my name, title, address, and phone number included in ALL forms). Provide a single email with a list of all of the places to which you're applying. If you have not worked in the lab, it most likely will not be possible to write you a letter.

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to do my Honors thesis in this lab. What do I have to do?

Generally speaking, students who wish to complete an Honors thesis in the lab are required to have worked in the lab for at least one year prior to the start of their first Honors seminar. Occasionally, students are allowed to complete their thesis in the lab provided that they demonstrate a strong interest in the lab’s research AND that they commit to working in the lab for a significant period of time prior to the start of their thesis (even if this period of time is not a full year). However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accept Honors students based on these criteria, and we strongly advise students to join the lab sooner if they wish to complete a thesis in the lab.

When is a good time to join the lab?

The sooner, the better! The lab currently has research assistants ranging from freshmen to postgraduate students, and we welcome students with varying levels of experience. If you have not had any research experience so far, you have nothing to worry about! You will receive training in all areas of the research process, and we will provide you with any resources you might need.

I’m not a Psychology major or minor. Can I still be a part of the lab?

Yes! Lab members’ interests vary a lot, and we encourage students from a variety of backgrounds to join the lab if they are interested in our work. To see more of the lab’s interests, visit the People page and find out about the lab members’ interests and career paths.

Will I start running experiments right away?

No. Before running experiments you will undergo a set of training sessions that will prepare you for running studies. Every project is different and requires a different set of training, but we will make sure to help you through the process so that at the end of your training you feel comfortable enough to run an experiment. In general, we first schedule an initial training session with multiple research assistants, after which we pair research assistants and give them the chance to practice together. Before assigning research assistants to run actual studies, we schedule a few “trial” runs that simulate the actual study in order to make sure that the research assistants know what to expect from the experience.

Am I expected to work during breaks?

Research Assistants are not expected to work during school breaks but the lab is often open over school breaks and RAs have the opportunity to work then if they wish. Occasionally, we might ask willing RA’s to help out during breaks if there are impending deadlines we are working against. However, this is not a requirement for working in the lab and you will not be penalized if you choose not to work during breaks.

What if I am only free during the summer?

Because our lab is very focused on training, we strongly prefer research assistants who can commit to at least two semesters. Our goal is to be able to provide you with an enriching and comprehensive experience of the techniques we use in the lab and therefore, a longer commitment would be more beneficial for you. However, students who show an outstanding interest and commitment to the lab will be considered to work in the lab even if they can only commit to the summer term.

Where will I be running studies if I become a research assistant?

The lab’s research projects include both laboratory studies and field studies. As an example of a field study, one of our research projects was run at a large conference in New York City and almost all of our research assistants were there to help run the study. Therefore, depending on the project you will be assigned to, you might be required to work both in and outside of the lab.

How many hours am I required to work in the lab?

Research assistants in the lab typically work a minimum of 10 hours per week. However, our hours are flexible, and we try to work with each research assistant to figure out a schedule that fits well with their other activities. Depending on the number of projects in the lab, the number of required hours might differ from one semester to another.

What if I have to leave town for a week and I fall behind on my hours?

We understand that various unexpected events might arise and interfere with your work in the lab. Whenever such events occur, just let us know as soon as possible. We will then work with you and help you make up the lost time in the lab at a pace that suits your schedule.

What will I be trained in?

Our lab is constantly expanding and acquiring new methods to observe the phenomena we are interested in. Therefore, as you spend more time in the lab, you might get training in a variety of other methods apart from the ones mentioned here. That being said, right now the main tasks you will be trained in include:

Are there opportunities for advancement in the lab?

Each year one of the students in the lab will fill the position of lab manager. This position is usually filled by someone who has been in the lab for a longer period of time and is usually a senior. Additionally, once research assistants gain a better understanding of the lab’s methods and demonstrate their reliability and commitment to the lab, they may be assigned to coordinate certain projects under the title of Project Director.

What’s in it for me? [Benefits of being in this lab]

One of the main advantages of being in this lab is that you become part of a community of other trained psychologists and researchers who can advise you on a number of things, whether it is studying for your upcoming test or figuring out what career path you would like to pursue. You will get to learn from other research assistants who have been part of the lab for longer, you will work closely with a graduate or postdoctoral student, and you will be able to meet with Dr. West to discuss your research interests. If you are looking for a lab experience that involves a good amount of social interaction, this might be a good place for you!