Research position on campus in psych, computer science, and math

Dr. Howardson is seeking research assistants to be involved with various projects related to his research. Although not required, Dr. Howardson is seeking research assistants who have experience with, or are interested in learning about, the intersection between computer science, mathematics, engineering, and the study of human behavior.

Dr. Howardson’s research focuses on training and workplace learning with an emphasis on quantitative methodologies. Many modern workplaces lack structure and require open skills, which are general skills that must be adapted to meet the specific demands of a situation.  For example, emotion regulation may be a valuable open skill for modern workplaces, where individuals learn to reappraise a situation and prevent the onset of negative emotions.  Since any two stressors (e.g., looming deadline and performance review) will likely not affect the same person in the same way, the individual must adapt general emotion regulation principles to every specific stressor.

Such strategies differ from closed skills where actions are performed exactly as learned each and every time (e.g., operating a power tool). The open/closed skills distinction is important because open skills require entirely different training methods that increase learner freedom while also placing a larger burden on the learner. Creating effective open skills training therefore requires understanding the learner as an active decision maker embedded within multiple environments of varying characteristics. Dr. Howardson’s current research seeks to understand the learner decision-making process when acquiring open skills and how such processes may be altered by the environmental characteristics. Current projects include dual task timesharing between learning and work tasks, developing a general theory of learner control, and the affect mechanisms of practice choices in difficult, error-prone learning situations.

A second research focus of Dr. Howardson’s is on the intersection between psychological research methods and computer science applying, for example, data science techniques to solve applied psychological problems.

If interested, please contact Dr. Howardson directly at


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