Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Nikita Nerkar

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2021

Research Project: The Role of Interdependent Versus Independent Self-Construals in Neural Responses During Vicarious Extinction Learning in Socially Anxious Individuals

Project Description: This study examines the role of interdependent vs. independent self-construals in vicarious extinction learning in individuals with high levels of social anxiety symptoms compared to healthy controls. The investigation will utilize a quasi-experimental mixed between-within case control design, comparing socially anxious individuals with healthy control participants across self-report, skin conductance, and neural measures. 

What have you learned throughout your research project?

I have learned not only so much about the intersections between neuroscience and psychology research, but also much about the research process in general. I had little knowledge about analyzing brain related data, or running my own analyses, and also about what the prices of any of these studies could be, but this study has brought me to a far more realistic and deeper understanding of what neuro-imaging studies can be. I have also learned a lot about myself and my career goals, as this has been a taste into some of the things my future could hold. 

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

My advice to future applicants is to just fully immerse yourself into you research area as early as you can. The sooner you can get exposure to relevant concepts that are tied to your research topic, the easier it will be later on when you are working on data collection, analysis, and/or writing.