Graduate Students

Prospective Students

Research in the Adult Development Lab is a collaborative enterprise involving Dr. Hess, Postdocs, Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistants, and other researchers in the department and at other institutions. Much of the research revolves around NIA-funded projects, but Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) are given ample opportunity to contribute during all phases of these projects and are further encouraged to develop independent areas of inquiry.

Research Training

In conjunction with the state-of-the-art training in research and quantitative methods received by all students in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology program, GRAs in the Adult Development Lab further develop their research skills by learning how to design studies that investigate important issues in the study of adult cognitive functioning. Of particular emphasis is the adaptation of a social-cognitive perspective to the study of important questions relating to judgment and decision making, memory, and other aspects of everyday functioning. In this context, students may gain experience with the use of a variety of standardized and laboratory-based tests, computerized testing programs (e.g., E-Prime), psychophysiological recording apparatus (e.g., skin conductance, heartrate, EMG), and statistical software packages.

Professional Development

Further professional development in the lab is encouraged by giving GRAs opportunities to be involved in (a) presenting papers at conferences, (b) preparing research papers for publication, and (c) grant proposal preparation. (As can be seen by the publication lists elsewhere on the lab website, past and current students have been actively involved in the publication process.)

Financial Support

In support of their education, graduate students in the lab are typically supported by NIA-funded research assistantships which also cover tuition, fees, and health insurance. They are also provided with travel support to attend conferences and some funds to cover independent research projects as well as theses and dissertations. Financial support is also available through University-funded teaching assistantships.


The number of students admitted into the lab varies somewhat from year to year, but typically there are slots available for 1 or 2 students each year. Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Hess to find out more about the Adult Development Lab and graduate training in Lifespan Developmental Psychology.