Q: What does ‘behavioral economics’ mean?
A: Behavioral economics examines the relationship between price and consumption, also known as demand. For example, behavioral economic approaches have been used to study the influence of alcohol price on alcohol consumption in college students.
Q: What kinds of experiments happen in the Alcohol Lab?
A: Our work is translational, which means that we study behaviors in research animals, but also conduct human-subjects research with surveys. We are particularly interested in quantitative models of choice, such as behavioral economics, but have also examined how environmental variables, such as “enrichment” affect alcohol and/or sucrose consumption.
Q: Do new research assistants need prior research and/or lab experience?
A: No – several students have joined the Alcohol Lab team without any prior research experience! All new members are trained by Dr. Martinetti and experienced research assistants on lab protocols.
Q: Do new members need to have experience with animals, such as pets?
A: Experience with animals is a helpful bonus, but definitely not required. New members will be trained how to handle the research animals and will complete an animal research ethics training program with the attending veterinarian.
Q: I have seasonal and/or pet allergies. Can I still apply to the lab?
A: Yes. All accepted students will complete a brief Medical Monitoring Form prior to working with the research animals. This form helps ensure that students with allergies can be informed about necessary precautions.
Q: Besides hands-on lab activities, such as working with the animals, preparing alcohol/sucrose solutions, entering data, etc., what are the academic assignments?
A: Students take turns leading discussions of journal articles and/or book chapters during our weekly lab meetings. For these discussions, students take an active role in choosing readings and prepare some questions to help guide our discussion. New students complete a 3-5-page “practice” paper mid-semester, and all students complete a 5-10-page paper submitted during Finals Week. Finally, all students complete a “Lab Project,” or lab enhancement project. More information about assignments and grading are discussed in the syllabus each semester.
Q: How do I join the Alcohol Lab team?
A: The first step is completing the Psychology Lab Interest Form. Dr. Martinetti will follow up via email.
Q: If I am accepted into the lab, how do I add this class to my schedule during registration?
A: All research assistants that participate in collaborative research laboratories are registered into labs by Psych Dept staff. Thus, students who have been accepted into the lab should ensure that they have 1 course unit open in their schedule for the PSY390 lab course.
Q: I still have more questions about the Alcohol Lab. How should I proceed?
A: Feel free to e-mail Dr. Martinetti or stop by her Student Hours in SSB116.