My final year Empirical Project module accounted for 2 modules worth (40 credits). It was an independent piece of research.
I started researching what to do for my Project way before i started this blog. I think I started researching it when I was in my second year. So, as you’d guess, I’ve gone through a lot of different ideas. Some which were too advanced for me to carry out at undergraduate level, and some which were then too easy that it didn’t feel like it would be a new contribution in psychological research or be challenging enough for myself to maintain interest.
I didn’t just choose topics I’d be interested in. I delved deeper into what further employability/education skills I could scoop out of this project.
I was already looking at postgraduate degrees and their requirements at this point. Some expressed interest in neuroscience – this caught my eye. I hadn’t chosen my option modules yet, but I was sure that if I linked my study to this, not only would it be fascinating but also, I’d be expressing my interest by dedicating a whole project in the right trajectory (for me). Smart, right.
I debated studying intelligence and/or personality. Simple but interesting. But nothing was good enough. I was always trying to squirm in philosophy and moral psychology (and my newfound interest of neuroscience) into my project to make it super interesting for myself (the person who has to dedicate hundreds of hours researching, executing and analysing the study).
There was some light at the end of the tunnel though. I have finally got a study and it’s been approved by the ethics board.
At this point I hadn’t finalised the title name yet. Or, the exact tasks at hand. But here’s what I was doing:
An EEG study. Analysing the relationship between predictor variables: curiosity, impulsivity, reaction time and EEG measures when predicting the likelihood of making a utilitarian choice*.
*utilitarian choice – stems from the utilitarianism theory by J.Bentham, it is the choice which provides the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
I signed up to another researchers EEG study to really get a feel for what it would feel like to be the participant in the situation. Bearing in mind that I would be the “real” psychologist in a few months time, actually carrying out the tests. Wow. It was all just about to begin.