A week in the life of a Ph.D. researcher

Hi all,

A week has flown by it feels like! I’ve been spending the week designing my second experiment. This can be time-consuming building it from scratch, but the skills I’m developing are amazing. I’m learning how to program eye tracking software and for it to calculate responses and where participants are looking on the screen. I guess it might be helpful to explain what I’m doing!

The main focus of my research is all about eyewitnesses and how they make decisions when viewing line-ups. The current study is looking at the difference in patterns/choices made and confidence levels when there are a different number of faces to choose from. (In this one, it will be either 2,4,6 or 8 images). I’m looking to see if there is any way that we can help improve the reliability of identifications. There have been numerous cases where people have been innocent and served 20+ years in jail but were convicted based on incorrect eyewitnesses.

The good news is that I just had to make a few minor adjustments to the build of the program side, the bad news… I’m having to sort through at least 2000 images and classify them according to hair colour and style and then similar looks. This can take time as well. Then I have to resize and rebuild the line-ups and test the experiment. Spending a bit longer now whilst building will hopefully save me a lot of time on the analysis side of things.

This shouldn’t take more than a week, but with teaching starting again next week it might mean a few longer nights here.

Best get back to the coding!

Until next week


Bryan Robson

I'm a PhD research student, researching the ways that eyewitnesses approach line-ups and how accurate they are. I'm also a student rep for psychology post grad and a mentor for international students. I'm currently training for an INVNCBL course and just in general as well.

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