Join the Bergelson Lab!

Diversity and Inclusivity in our lab

The Bergelson Lab is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment and welcomes scholars of all backgrounds. 

We seek to recruit undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-docs from historically underrepresented communities and disparate and nontraditional academic backgrounds. We are committed to nurturing all lab members with a supportive and understanding community. In particular, we are committed to bringing transparency and openness to the “hidden curriculum” — unofficial norms, behaviors, and values of the university.

We aim to diversify the lab and support scholars of color and those from underrepresented backgrounds. For example, we use skill-based, equitable hiring practices, create channels of peer support, and encourage open feedback.

Thinking of Writing to Dr. B about grad openings? Read this first and read the FAQs below!

Yes, the Bergelson Lab is recruiting incoming graduate students for the Fall 2024 school year. Applications for undergraduate research assistantships for the spring 2024 semester have closed, but information about summer openings is forthcoming.

Dr. B is happy to answer any questions that aren’t answered in our lab/department/university websites, but please don’t email just to: 

  • confirm whether we’re potentially recruiting students for fall 2024, we are! 
  • share your materials with Dr. B or see if there’s further materials she’ll need: just the regular app through Harvard’s portal! 
  • schedule a pre-application chat. To keep things equitable and out of consideration of the large number of applicants, Dr. B is only rarely able to chat with prospective students outside of the department interview process over zoom or live; email is the right medium if you have questions that are not answered elsewhere!

Undergraduates interested in becoming research assistants can contact Lab Manager Lilli Righter at [email protected]

Prospective graduate students, staff, or postdocs can contact Dr. Bergelson at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re putting this info here in a way that spans questions from prospective grads, postdocs, undergrads, and staff, just as general extra info! See the Harvard Psychology Graduate Program website for some PhD applicant specific content, and we’ll always post openings through lists like CogDevSoc.

Would my background be a good fit for the Bergelson lab? 
Students who thrive as PhD students in our lab have a mix of linguistics, psychology, cogsci, or compsci experience, along with hands-on experience working with infants and families, and some (though not usually all!) of the methods our lab uses, and conducting research and data analysis on questions to which they have contributed intellectually. This usually means they’ve taken a year or two after undergraduate to work in a full time research type role, but not always. Beyond that, identifying areas of potential shared interests within the scope of what my lab studies (which you can tell from our recent pubs and website) is also key.

What projects are happening right now?
Currently, the lab is conducting a suite of studies exploring potential prerequisite developmental skills (predictive listening, point following, etc.) for the “comprehension boost” (which is where we find that infants’ ability to learn new words rapidly improves around 12-14 months old, see Bergelson, 2020 for more info), as well as a set of studies looking at new word learning at different ages (as part of the Lab’s R01). We are also conducting, planning, and writing up work examining the language skills of children born blind and/or deaf (as part of the Lab’s CAREER Award). Additionally, we have a wealth of corpus data we collected at Rochester and Duke from the SEEDLingS longitudinal project and the Vision-Impaired_Hearing-Impaired (VIHI) corpus, that we are annotating and analyzing in new ways. Lots of other projects are brewing from folks’ individual interests, but those are the big two piles with federal funding right now.

What methods does the lab use?
We use eyetracking (Eyelink 1000 Plus), Headturn Preference Procedure, Habituation/VOE, elicitation, EEG, behavioral games, and naturalistic recording analysis.

What is the mentorship structure of the lab like?
All students, staff, and postdocs meet regularly with Dr. Bergelson to discuss their progress and the progress of their research. Additionally, undergraduate research assistants are paired with a graduate student or postdoc mentor to learn specifically about the projects their mentor is heading and contribute more deeply to a specific project. However, we also value collaboration and shared responsibility, and everyone in the lab contributes to data collection and transcription.

What skills do I need to join the BLab?
Flexibility, deep and critical thinking, some ideas about how your research interests fit in with the lab, and a willingness to learn! Experience with experimental methods, statistical analysis, R and Python programming languages, and experience working with children are all a big plus, and are skills that you will gain or improve during your time in the BLab. You will also learn best practices for our commitments to open science and rigorous documentation.

Why has no one answered my email?
Dr. Bergelson and Lilli receive a large volume of emails from interested students, and tend to respond in waves every few weeks. We will let you know what the next steps are for your application, and if we need to set up a time to chat! Additionally, in Fall 2023, Dr. Bergelson is on maternity leave and the lab is being re-established at a new institution, so our response times are slower than usual.

How does the lab uphold its commitment to open science?
We preregister our hypothesis-driven experiments, strive for completely reproducible and publically-available analysis code, and share our stimuli and de-identified data to appropriate repositories. We also value sharing our results with the broader community, and disseminate child development science via our blog and social media. All lab members write blog posts and create TikTok videos to hone their science communication skills.