Behavioral Research Lab Opens at ISPS

The Behavioral Research Lab (BRL) has opened its doors at ISPS.  With a dedicated entrance between 87 and 89 Trumbull St., the lab is a place for scholars from across Yale to conduct rigorous research in a controlled setting. Gregory Huber, Professor of Political Science and ISPS Resident Fellow, is the Director of the BRL. Professor Huber’s research is focused on American political behavior drawing on a variety of experimental methods.

In the spring, the BRL started recruiting Yale students and staff to join a participant pool for studies held in the lab. This summer, researchers invited members of the participant pool to take part in the first BRL session. Participants of this study were asked their opinions on various pressing issues in public policy. While recruitment is on going, the BRL will be expanding its efforts to enlist researchers to use the lab’s resources.

“There are many advantages to lab studies,” says Vivekinan Ashok, manager of the BRL and graduate student in Political Science.  “In the lab, researchers have greater control and flexibility compared to other settings. They can ensure that participants are experiencing a game or media presentation in a similar way, without distraction or outside influences. Additionally, the technical resources of the BRL allow researchers to introduce competition or cooperation between participants.”

The lab is equipped to field studies using three methods:

1) behavioral games, designed to simulate an economic or political situation,
2) survey experiments, designed to study subjects’ political opinions and behaviors, and
3) studies where information is conveyed using rich media.

The BRL connects research with the broader goals of ISPS, deepening the understanding of behavior and its consequences for politics and public policy. The lab is still recruiting members of the Yale community to participate in studies. Participants are paid $15 an hour. Yale students and staff can sign up on the BRL website: http://isps.yale.edu/brl.

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