Artifact:

MoneyComb 

Through my time at Duke, I have been a research assistant at the Center for Advanced Hindsight which is Dan Ariely’s behavioral economics lab. I was selected through an interview process after freshman year to be one of the undergraduate research assistants working at the lab. Over my four years at Duke, I did several different tasks and my responsibilities grew significantly over time. Freshman year, I was learning the basics of the lab and understanding the research process in general. I was editing spreadsheets, proofreading surveys, and inputting data.

As a junior and senior, I ran participants in the different studies that the lab was conducting. All of which were answering innovative questions around human behavior and decision making. I have also worked on developing apps as a part of the Center’s Startup Lab where I assisted in creating content for an app based on Ariely’s behavioral economics research and then also beta-tested a version of the app. The app, Moneycomb, is a personal finance app that is designed to help people better manage their expenses. One of the artifacts above is the MoneyComb website.

During my sophomore and junior year, I also independently conducted different studies. When I was a sophomore, the study was looking into the idea of how people make decisions based on who they are interacting with and it was fascinating to learn about inherent biases as a result of conducting this study. I also became very proficient in conducting the study and began training other students to run it as well. During my sophomore year, I also accompanied members of my lab and ran studies at the NC State Fair – a really interesting opportunity to get a wide range of individuals to participate in the lab’s studies. The study I was conducting during my junior year was on how people interpret pain and there was very heavy experimenter / subject interaction so I gained a lot of experience working with many different types of people and conducting research on them appropriately.

I have been able to do research in several different fields across health, finance, psychology, among others and as a result of the diverse nature of the work I have done there, I have learned a lot from working at the lab.

Reflection:

My experiences at the Center for Advanced Hindsight relate to innovation and entrepreneurship in a variety of ways. Through my experiences at CAH, I was able to learn how to navigate research of organizations. My learning objectives for the experience were achieved since I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the subjects that we are studying and also to become familiarized with the research process. I have learned so much from my experiences at the lab and about how people make decisions and also about how to conduct meaningful research.

Research and iteration are key components in understanding business and starting a venture and therefore this experience is very relevant to the I&E certificate. I went through a lot of technical training about conducting research as well as the practical factors that go along with research. This included modules about confidentiality and subject selection. These sorts of technical skills will allow me to understand empirical research in other settings and I am eager to be able to understand data and outcomes from research as a result of what I have learned from the lab.