su Centre for Cognitive Development @ UBC

Information for Students

Find out more about joining our Centre!

Our Commitment To Changing Exclusionary Academic Culture

Psychology should be by everyone and for everyone. We believe that it is our responsibility as psychologists to change academia’s culture of exclusion, which often relies on unpaid or underpaid labour and on rewarding the efforts of a very small group of (primarily white, cis, and male) scientists. We aim to create opportunities for more people, especially underrepresented minorities, to become involved in psychological research, and on recognizing and rewarding the work done by a more diverse group of academics. We want to identify and break down the norms and barriers that prevent most people from achieving a prominent and long-term role in psychology.

We strive to facilitate a lab culture that is inclusive, one that supports safe spaces and emphasizes openness, acceptance, transparency, and collaboration between lab members. We want to normalize dialogue surrounding issues of exclusion and discrimination, acknowledging that identity plays a role in one’s experience of psychological science, even when it shouldn’t. Our lab invites and welcomes all students interested in joining psychological science, independent of their race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation. Students do not have to have previous lab experience to apply for our lab.

Ultimately, we want to help make psychological science more empathetic to, accessible for, and representative of, anyone who wishes to participate in it.

We also believe that our lab’s efforts towards changing academic culture should be public, collaborative, regularly reviewed, clearly defined, and keep us accountable for our progress. You can view our lab's list of Long-Term Goals, as well as the Short-Term Actionable Objectives that we are currently working on. We also maintain a list of resources, including books and academic articles, that we find useful for educating our lab members on the history of discrimination and marginalization within psychology and academic culture at-large that you can view here).

Research Assistant (RA) Positions

Our lab regularly recruits UBC undergraduate students as Research Assistants (RAs), including as volunteers or for course credit (through the Directed Studies or Honours Programs). RAs form the backbone of the lab and play a very prominent role in all day-to-day activities. As an RA, you will work hands-on with a senior member of the lab on a research project. We always try to match each RA to a project that they are most interested in. Your responsibilities would include helping with booking (on the phone and email), testing children and adult participants, helping with data analysis, and attending weekly project meetings. Aside from these tasks, you can read below for details particular to the different positions we offer. We also usually have positions open for non-developmental projects.

We ask for a 2-semester commitment and 8-10 hours/week during the regular school week and, depending on our RAs' availability, Saturdays. We fully train RAs on all aspects of the lab and the project they are working on. RAs can also optionally get experience with programming and statistical software such as MATLAB and/or R. Although no previous experience is neccessary, we get many more applications than we have positions. Please note that only UBC undergraduates or recent UBC graduates are eligible for our RA positions, and only current UBC students can receive course credit for their RA roles.

We typically recruit new RAs for the lab each September, with the application and interview process beginning at the end of July. If you are interested, please email us at for application details. One of us will be in touch as soon as we are looking for new RAs. If you have any questions, please direct them towards our Research Coordinator.

    In-Lab Kid RA

  • - Book and conduct studies in our centre at UBC's Kenny building
  • - Work with children ages 2 to 12 years old
  • - Can expect to be working closely with families and parents

    Daycare RA

  • - Book and conduct studies at schools and daycares in the Vancouver area
  • - Must have two weekday mornings free until 1pm to be considered for the position
  • - Work with children ages 3 to 9 years old
  • - Can expect to be working closely with school and daycare administrative staff

    In-lab Adult/HSP RA

  • - Conduct studies with university students recruited through UBC's HSP system
  • - Can expect to be working independently with university students

Summer Internship

Please note that we are not hosting a Summer Internship program for the 2020 or 2021 term.

Every summer, we look for motivated students interested in developmental and cognitive science research to join us for an annual Summer Internship Program that typically runs between May and July. Summer interns receive close mentorship by the faculty, post-docs, and graduate students in the lab. Each intern will be matched to a single project in the lab and will receive extensive hands-on experience with designing, implementing, and running the study. Interns will directly work with children and parents, and thus must be dedicated, mature, articulate, and comfortable in working in teams and speaking with others, including in person and over the phone. Interns will receive stipend to support living in the Vancouver area over the summer.

At the Centre, we investigate a series of issues in developmental and cognitive science, including the origin of number, time, and space representations and how their interaction with language plays a role in higher-order reasoning, including mathematics, confidence, and communication. We combine tools from traditional cognitive development, visual cognition and psychophysics, formal linguistics, and computational modeling to understand how children and adults reason and learn to talk about quantity, and why children are not uniformly successful in learning mathematics and related higher-level concepts. More recently, we have been investigating the origins of our sense of confidence and how it is communicated to others during learning and cooperation.

    Duties of Summer Interns typically include:

  • Reading the background literature for the study under the mentorship of the project leader.
  • Helping recruit participants by phone and email.
  • Helping create stimuli and methods for the project.
  • Running adult and child participants.
  • Helping code and analyze data using software packages such as R.
  • Attending weekly lab meetings.
  • Presenting the work at lab meetings or an undergraduate conference.

    Required qualifications for applying:

  • Canadian students are welcome to apply.
  • Prior experience working with children, ideally in a developmental lab.
  • Prior experience working in a psychology research lab.
  • Commitment of 40 hours per week for 8 weeks over the summer.
  • Strong work ethic and an excellent academic record.
  • Two references.

Any questions about the program or the application should be directed to

Graduate Students

Our lab frequently accepts graduate students at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. To apply, you will require a strong record of research experience, strong GPA and GRE scores, and a well written statement of interest. Applications are available through the UBC Department of Psychology website. The deadline for application is typically December 1st of the year, with interviews scheduled for the first week of February. Students can expect full funding, including tuition, and minimal course loads.

Though not required, we strongly recommend that you contact Dr. Odic to inquire about the fit between your interests and the lab. Many invisible factors determine whether you will be accepted, and contacting us directly is the best way to get the information you'll need to decide whether you should apply. We also encourage you to read Dr. Odic's "Graduate Student Expectations" document, which outlines his expectations of the graduate students who work in his lab.

Interested in Joining the Centre?

We are always looking for talented individuals to join our research team!

If you are interested in applying to be a graduate student or post-doc, please contact Dr. Odic directly.

If you'd like to join the lab as a Research Assistant, please email us at We will be in touch when we are actively interviewing applicants (usually in July and August). Please keep in mind that we can only accept current or graduated UBC students as RAs in our lab.

Interested in finding out even more?

We'd love to have you at the Centre, either as a participant in one of our studies or as a member of the lab!