Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Digital Humanities & Literary Cognition Lab
Professorial Assistantship
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The DHLC generally accepts one to two PAs per year with the possibility of continuing for multiple years. We seek students with the following skill set:

  • Willingness to learn and dedicate time
  • Proficient in writing and communication
  • Good at working within a team setting
  • Understanding of Microsoft Office
  • Understanding of Google Drive
  • (Science students only) Basic understanding of Statistics (or is taking Statistics in the upcoming year)

STEM Majors

Prospective Honors College PAs in disciplines such as Psychology, Neuroscience, Statistics, and Computer Science will most likely gravitate toward work in the DHLC that focuses on developing innovative techniques for research in the neuroscience of reading, including fMRI data-collection and  analysis, fMRI compatible eye tracking, and the design and execution of interdisciplinary behavioral studies on how we engage with art. The Brain Data group utilize a variety of neuroscientific, cognitive, and statistical tools such as FSL, MatLab, SPSS, E-Prime, MediaLab,and Python-based softwares (PsychoPy) to develop experiments and analytical tools that can begin to unpack the complex neural mechanisms related to fiction reading, literary attention, and aesthetic experience. Additionally, this group is largely responsible for intricate statistical analyses of quantitative and qualitative data collected from the lab’s experiments. There are also opportunities to develop skills at the intersection of computer science and neuroscience, writing and/or creating innovative coding platforms in R, Python, C++, and  beyond that will assist in the design of experimental stimuli and analysis of neuroscientific and eye-tracking data. Regardless of one’s specific scientific interest, each member works closely with students and academics in the social and cognitive sciences (as well as the humanities) to assist in designing, executing, and analyzing data from interdisciplinary experiments. Ultimately, as a member of the DHLC, you will have the rare opportunity to conduct cutting-edge scientific research at the cutting edge of the field and to interact with global leaders in via (NYU, Max Plank, Chinese University of Hong Kong, etc.) that has never been done before academic circles.

Humanities Majors

The Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition Lab (DHLC) has several projects that demand humanistic research methods that are common among students of English (literary studies), Cognitive Science, Linguistics, Culture Studies, and Musicology. The DHLC is currently working on two main projects. One project is concerned with the aesthetics of literature. More specifically, this group is focused on discovering which elements of poetry are associated with positive and negative aesthetic responses. The analyses for this project focus heavily on the literary text itself as well as on readers’ responses to the text. Students can expect to practice both traditional methods of literary analysis, like close reading, and more progressive means of analysis as practiced in Digital Humanities and Computational Linguistics. Another project in the DHLC focuses on the stories we mentally construct while listening to music. The project investigates an archive of narratives written by listeners after hearing orchestral musical samples. The main objectives of this project are to find why we create narratives for some pieces of music more often than others, and how one’s cultural background affects the making of these narratives. This project also requires researchers to practice close reading in the analysis of the collection of narratives. Additionally, researchers may draw on their knowledge of narratology, cultural theories, and music theory to help uncover the role narrative plays in the meaning-making process that occurs while listening to music. The Music Narrative project is continuing to mature and has recently received support from an NSF grant that will fund cross-cultural research and international collaboration. This allows students the rare opportunity to participate in the design of humanities focused experiments and collaborate with global leaders in the field. Regardless of which project one concentrates on, prospective students are sure to learn how to systematically investigate humanist inquiries. Finally, in addition to conducting original research, students will also have the opportunity to communicate their research by presenting at undergraduate conferences, or by assisting in the writing of grants and other academic publications.

If you are involved in the HC PA program and are interested in becoming a PA with the DHLC, please reach out to your HC advisor and program coordinator.