NSF REU: NYU Center for Behavioral Statistics and the Study of Motivated Perception

Summer Internship Program



For other NSF REU programs, search here

information about the past programs below

Program Information:

Dr. Emily Balcetis and Dr. Tessa West, social psychologists at New York University, invite interested and enthusiastic undergraduates to apply for the NYU Center for Motivated Perception Summer Internship Program. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation as a Research Experience for Undergraduates program. We are seeking interns who are interested in pursuing a unique educational opportunity that will help further their academic careers.  

Click HERE to see photos from previous years.

Learning Communities:

Interns engage in team-based learning, rather than traditional lecture classes. Interns work in small research teams with 2-3 other students, led by one intern, with supervision from a PhD student and faculty mentor. Within a learning community, multiple research teams are active at a given time, projects progress quickly, and all research teams teach each other when the community meets as a whole. 

What Interns Learn:

The internship will take a hands-on approach to training in experimental research design and behavioral statistics. Interns will receive training in eyetracking, psychophysiology, dyadic interactions and video analysis. Interns will have opportunities to contribute to interdisciplinary and transformative research across multiple domains including emotion, health, relationships, jury decisions, politics, and others while maintaining a single intellectual focus on the study of motivated perception.

Experiences Interns Have:

Interns will receive guest lectures from notable professors, attend workshops developing practical research skills and professional development, participate as full research collaborators, learn data analysis, and shadow PhD students in neuroscience, marketing, and other areas. Interns network with lab alumni who are eager to share their experiences. Students will produce novel research, an APA-style manuscript, and will present their work at a conference during the course of the internship. The program fosters a strong sense of community within and outside of the science labs. The program promotes interns as leaders and their development of the self as a scientist. Dr. Balcetis and Dr. West are committed to mentoring during and after the internship ends and helping students achieve their academic career goals by supporting participation in professional conferences and their applications to graduate school after the internship ends.

NYU Summer Student Conference:

As a culminating experience, all summer interns present original research conducted in the summer during the NYU Diversity Summer Student Research Conference. 

Who Can Apply:

Because this program is funded by the National Science Foundation, applicants must be American citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Priority goes to students in their freshman, sophomore, and junior years, so students can implement new skills at their home universities during the remainder of their undergraduate career. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree by the time of the internship will not be accepted into the program. We strongly encourage students from all backgrounds (racial, socio-economic, religious, gender) to apply. This program encourages and supports diversity in science and prioritizes students from diverse backgrounds. Priority also goes to students from colleges and universities that do not offer extensive or traditional research experiences. The program will be most beneficial for students who have an interest in learning more about research in areas such as motivation, social and visual perception, intergroup relations, emotions, social cognition, and self and social judgment. Interns cannot be currently enrolled at New York University. The number of applications varies each year. Ten students are selected to participate each year.


While no specific prior experience is required, applicants who have completed basic introductory psychology courses, including a statistics course and a research methods course, are preferred. Selected applicants must be present in New York City for every weekday that the internship is in session. People who cannot be present every day of the internship should not apply but may find other REU programs HERE.

Interns' Responsibilities:

Interns are expected to contribute significantly to the internship in its entirety, in residence in New York City. All interns will live in NYU dorms. Interns will spend their week involved in internship-related activities. Interns are expected to complete all requirements including: ethics training, introductory statistics workshops, research team responsibilities, participation in the conference, and contributing in significant and positive ways to the development of this learning community and support all members’ development.

Interns' Compensation:

Interns will receive free NYU dorm housing for the 8 weeks in residence, free meal plans and dining dollars for local restaurants, and a $4000 stipend to defray other living expenses and compensate for lost wages, with successful completion of the internship. Interns pay their own travel from the stipend they receive.


Lab alumni have gone on to graduate programs at Ivy League Universities, medical school in programs that fully fund their candidates, and law school at some of the most competitive institutions. Graduates include neurologists and oncologists at prestigious NYC hospitals, creative strategists at public relations firms, social media coordinators at fashion companies, and social workers in some of the most in-need urban areas. We are very proud of our graduates and hope to add you to the list!

More information:

The program is directed by Dr. Emily Balcetis and Dr. Tessa West.  You can find more information about this research at the following websites:

Dr. Balcetis' Research

Dr. West's Research


NSF award abstract can be found here

NSF REU award number is 1460626