Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Research Experience for Undergraduates in Cognitive Engineering, Neuroscience, and Applied Psychology

at University of Central Florida

(Under construction; not currently accepting applications)


Project Summary

Welcome to the Cognitive Engineering, Neuroscience, and Applied Psychology REU Site at University of Central Florida. The goal of the proposed REU Site in Cognitive Engineering, Neuroscience, and Applied Psychology at UCF is to offer a unique opportunity to a group of 10 underrepresented undergraduate students per year to join a research laboratory and participate in applied psychological research. The UCF-REU site will provide the student participants with an inter-disciplinary program that fosters their knowledge and research skills in various areas of Cognitive Engineering, Neuroscience, and Applied Psychology.  Students who are admitted to join this REU site program will complete a series of activities such as participation in a formal Research Methods course, workshops on ethical guidelines in psychological research, code of conduct, library instruction, writing and submitting an IRB research proposal, preparing a successful graduate school application, conducting professional interviews, and making a professional presentation at the end of this REU summer program.  In addition, REU students will learn the inter-disciplinary nature of various fields within Cognitive Engineering, Neuroscience and Applied Psychology. Also, all of the REU participants will make a professional presentation of their results to an audience in an open forum. Similarly, the REU students will also attend weekly meetings across the different research groups, daily meeting within each research laboratory, weekly research presentation and discussion on topics related to their research. As part of their research requirements, they will learn how to conduct a literature search on various aspects of cognitive neuroscience and applied psychological sciences as described in this proposal. They will learn about various theories of Attention, Memory, Decision Making, Workload Analysis, Human Performance Assessment, Simulation and Training, in Vigilance and Cybersecurity.

Intellectual Merits

All REU accepted students will learn various cognitive-neuroscience techniques such as EEG, ERP, and fNIR analysis and eye tracking analysis methods. Students will team up with a group of UCF faculty mentors, graduate, and undergraduate students who are currently working on active research projects. In addition the students will also have an opportunity to present and discuss their research in an open forum using a powerpoint presentations, as well as in an open interactive conference type meeting during the UCF Undergraduate Research academy using interactive poster presentations with other undergraduate presenters from UCF.

This REU Site program at UCF and our translational research in cognitive neuroscience and engineering psychology will impact a total of 30 students, especially under-represented students, first generation college students, disabled, low SES, and minority students by providing them an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and training in cutting-edge STEM related areas and Cognitive Neuroscience research.  The aim of this REU site is to provide a formal mentoring and educational experience where undergraduate students will have a unique opportunity to participate in experimental research directly tied to our societal needs in the areas of surface and aerospace systems safety, medical, military, and health application systems.

Broader Impacts

We will encourage students from schools with limited research opportunities such as 2-year colleges, as well as students from underrepresented groups to apply. Students who complete such REU site opportunities are more likely to be admitted into graduate programs in their respective fields, become successful in seeking job opportunities in STEM related fields in academic environments, private industry, and government institutions. The broader impact of the proposed work consists of several research efforts that will enhance undergraduate student’s knowledge and skills in cognitive engineering, neuroscience and STEM related fields. The REU students will learn various brain imaging techniques, which are widely used in graduate school and post doctoral training. These skills are essential for conducting cutting-edge research in neuroscience, cognitive engineering and applied psychological sciences, and will contribute to the training of our next-generation of young and talented scientists.

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