“I can’t believe it’s already late July!”
What a corny sentence to start a new blogpost, but it truthfully reflects my thoughts right now. I vaguely remembered that at the end of last semester I was expecting a smooth, long summer, marking the third and last summer of my undergraduate life (Well, I will count the next one as a transition not as within the realm of undergraduate). But astonishingly, it went by extremely fast, and I got to kept myself extremely busy.
Update on my projects
a.Things happening in Psychology:
1. My syntactic bootstrapping experiment is ready-to-go. Hopefully on Wednesday I can test my first baby in the experiment
Noteworthily, I remember this parent and this kiddo. It always feels amazing when I get to witness a kiddo’s growth. There are a couple of returning “customers” and I vividly remembered how, when they first came, the kiddo was a little clump of cuteness in the cradles, and now, when they came for the 7th times, the kiddo was running around like a little wild horse. Human beings are amazing.
2. My laughter perception project is going on well! We started recruiting.
So that was a follow-up experiment from my last year’s SURF grant. I’m very grateful for Erik for letting me experiment on experimentation! Laughter! How cool is that! Even if I do have some legitimate reasons to use laughter as my stimuli, still, I firmly believe If there’s a “funniest experiment in psychology department,” I will at least get nominated.
3. Preparation for next semester’s TA class
I’ve been helping Dr. Heller and Dr. Randalls to implement a demo paradigm using PsychoPy, and it is almost done. I’ll just need to focus on data analysis script as of now. I also plan to make a YouTube video tutorial before the semester starts. I have to say I’m a little bit nervous for TAing for that class: as the only TA, and also that class is a very hands-on class. I love helping out but I’m worried that I might not be able to….so, I’ll use summer to get myself ready
b.Things happening in Philosophy:
3000 words, not bad I guess. At least a start.
I’m always amazed by the fact how philosophers look things differently than the psychologists. To use an example, when I was talking about the attention termination phase, Wayne asked me: “Why would they think those questions are worth asking?” Well, because everyone else is talking about it! That was my first reaction, and then I realized how absurd it is. But this absurdity, in some sense, infuses the science literature (“by convention” “previous studies have suggested”). On the one hand, it is important to build on the previous works. Accumulation is the only path toward breakthrough. On the other hand, this foundation that we are standing on contains so many arbitrariness, coincidence and “historical accidents”. We need philosophical scrutiny to pick the right “foundation” to stand on.
2. NEW PROJECT!!!
Yep!! I joined a new project! It all began with a casual question that I asked Professor Joel Smith because I wanted to write an article for general audience following a paper on Nature-Human Behavior last month called “What happened to Cognitive Science?” Then after he got me connected with Professor Colin Allen at Pitt, I’ve been working on the webscrapping data collecting since then. The goal is to codify 2000+ CVs of authors who have published on the journal of cognitive science. Speaking of philosophy in a new age: this is how coding experience can help!
Five projects: I’ll think of them as equivalent of five classes now. I actually enjoy switching in between of them and see how they’re connected together. The skills I used for writing python webscrapper can help with writing the data analysis script in preparation of my TA class. The paper I read for my psychology project will pop up in my philosophical discussion as well. I don’t know whether it would sound so naive to say this, and I guess I would certainly, at some point of my life, regret saying this: I can’t wait to get in grad school! Think of all the time that I can spend on my research: it was like this summer, but extended into school year!
But this doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to next semester. I’m especially excited about the class I’m going to take at Pitt. Everyone was telling me she’s the one of the BEST philosophers on this area, and SHE! I’ve never got chance to interacted with a female philosopher before, which was a pretty sad fact, but next semester I’m actually going to take her class! The thing I told my mom when I was a sophomore still applies today: “Mom, for me going to classes feels like going to live rock concert and you’ve get to talk to them personally.”