Lara’s Story | Psychology Placement

My name is Lara and I am currently completing my third year of a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). During my third year, I had the opportunity to go on a placement. There were many opportunities for me to choose from ranging from a Crisis Support Helpline, to getting experience with current clinical psychologists in private practice.

I decided on a research assistant placement where I could get the feel for what it’s actually like working in a psychology research laboratory. As I was contemplating going on to do further study and maybe even working in research at a university beyond my degrees, this placement seemed ideal. I could get a taste for what it meant to be doing research without the commitment of doing my own PhD. For the past 4 months, I’ve been working at the Flinders Perceptual and Cognitive Performance lab. The study I’ve been helping with is about how people process visual information when under stress or a high workload. While it sounds like a mouthful, it really just means we give them a simple Joystick task and see how well they do when they have to do that while doing another task. It’s been really fun recruiting and testing participants. They always come in a bit nervous and then relax when they realise they’ll basically be playing a game. Another thing I’ve enjoyed is being part of data collection that has real world application. This research will contribute to current understandings of multitasking when driving or manning a cockpit.

The placement helped me realise the fun side of data collection and made me more comfortable with the idea of going on to do my own research. It’s also opened the door to possible paid research assistant opportunities as I’ve got a bit more experience under my belt now. All in all, the experience I’ve gained on placement is invaluable and not something you can get from a book or a classroom (or even Google).

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