I have a great oppurtunity in my research lab-- hate a lot about it.

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To keep it short, I am in a behavioral neuroscience rodent lab. I am an outside volunteer and this is the only research that I really have access to that's not self-constructed qualitative stuff. The assigned task is to travel to a university on the east coast and learn a rodent surgery to bring back to my lab. I thought the opportunity sounded great and I was positive but did not entirely agree. The surgery has to do with harvesting guinea pig brains. Watching examples of the surgery on YouTube feels like watching footage from a war zone (forgive the analogy, I'm sure it's nothing alike). But it felt cold and gross and hurt something in me.

I have so much tension in me between the great opportunity it is and how much it may or may not f*ck with me to have to (forgive me) scrape away the faces of guinea pigs for the sake of science. I'm going into clinical psychology, so it's not something i would have to do forever, and if I backed out now, I'm not sure how it would be viewed since I'm already recieving invitations for test runs and all that. I'm a very agreeable person especially when I'm not in a position of power (i.e. being an undergrad in a research lab) and it doesn't help that I'm the type.. that's been vegan since I was 14. Lol. I don't know how I got here. A part of me is saying to suck it up, I don't feel like I have the power to say no, and these folks, while receptive, will have SOMEONE do it. So why not me, etc.

Any advice to offer would be highly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to understand my debacle.
 
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WisNeuro

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If you're considering neuro at all, lot's of people love bench and rodent work. Also, will this open up opportunities for posters/pubs? In general, it looks like they are looking to you for a task of fairly big responsibility, so that's a plus, and one would assume would lead to a good letter.

I mean, you can back out and try to find another lab and try to get a different letter of rec. Do what's right for you, if it were me, I'd get to skinning them rodents.
 
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If you're considering neuro at all, lot's of people love bench and rodent work. Also, will this open up opportunities for posters/pubs? In general, it looks like they are looking to you for a task of fairly big responsibility, so that's a plus, and one would assume would lead to a good letter.

I mean, you can back out and try to find another lab and try to get a different letter of rec. Do what's right for you, if it were me, I'd get to skinning them rodents.
LOL oof. Thank you, probably what I needed to hear. I think posters yes, but pubs maybe not. Undergrads are usually relegated to the "thank you" area of the paper, which I call BS, but whatever.
 
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I've been in a somewhat similar situation as you are in the past. Used to be a research technician (paid post-grad) in a rodent lab. Had many responsibilities, including perfusions and harvesting brain and spinal cord tissue. It honestly took a huge emotional toll on me (esp since I was involved in habituating, feeding, and training the rats on behavioral tasks). Several post-docs told me that after the first few perfusions it would get better, but after a total of 6, it still didn't feel any less horrible. Had an honest talk with the PI about how it was affecting me, and luckily they were able to give that job to another member on the project and focused my efforts elsewhere. It could be worth it to talk to your PI/lab manager and communicate your concerns.
 
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I've been in a somewhat similar situation as you are in the past. Used to be a research technician (paid post-grad) in a rodent lab. Had many responsibilities, including perfusions and harvesting brain and spinal cord tissue. It honestly took a huge emotional toll on me (esp since I was involved in habituating, feeding, and training the rats on behavioral tasks). Several post-docs told me that after the first few perfusions it would get better, but after a total of 6, it still didn't feel any less horrible. Had an honest talk with the PI about how it was affecting me, and luckily they were able to give that job to another member on the project and focused my efforts elsewhere. It could be worth it to talk to your PI/lab manager and communicate your concerns.
Thank you for taking the time to respond, that certainly hammers home another part of how I feel. I already look at squirrels differently now with the work I've already done in the lab. I just wish it was any other kind of research. I'm just not analytical enough for it not to affect me.
 

Dazen

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Thank you for taking the time to respond, that certainly hammers home another part of how I feel. I already look at squirrels differently now with the work I've already done in the lab. I just wish it was any other kind of research. I'm just not analytical enough for it not to affect me.
I’m an incoming grad student, so take everything I say with a large grain of salt. I’ve been working in wilderness therapy for the past year and a half, with a pretty clinically severe population, and have seen a large number of guides come through our company. Your comment about not being analytical enough not to be affected struck a chord with me, because I think of emotional callousness for productivity and humanity (or whatever you want to call it) as a trade off. I do believe people start out leaning more towards emotional or analytical reactions - and I’m strongly on the analytical side, so maybe I have a hard time understanding beyond my own POV - but can train themselves to become more numb or open back up emotionally with enough effort/support. While I don’t think it’ll be necessary for you to do significant guinea pig dissections in grad school, I’d guess that you’ll similarly find things that’ll be emotionally difficult for you and would suggest using this as a good experience thinking about where and why you draw the line not to become emotionally hardened.
 
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I second talking to your PI/ lab manager about your concerns, thanking them for the trust they have clearly already developed for you.. and that you want to continue to honor, and discussing whether there are other ways to meaningfully contribute in the lab.

i think the worst thing would be to not have a conversation, agree to the training, even after doing this preliminary research and learning about your reactions, then coming back, trying it, and later saying no. Or no convo and going and not even being able to adequately train others when you return because you were not able to fully engage with the training. Informed consent rocks and I think is a sign of respect and integrity for the PI and project bc it gives the PI the opportunity to best utilize their resources.

if they say, no, this is the only task I need you to do even after your conversation, I don’t know. You might decide to try it, you might not. I think it’s really up to you weigh your various needs. Your reactions are valid, even if inconvenient, and your needs to sustain your well-being are just as important to consider as your professional needs. Plus, it’s not like your ability to become a competent, ethical, psychologist or neuropsychologist rests on your ability or desire to do this particular task.
 
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cara susanna

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To keep it short, I am in a behavioral neuroscience rodent lab. I am an outside volunteer and this is the only research that I really have access to that's not self-constructed qualitative stuff. The assigned task is to travel to a university on the east coast and learn a rodent surgery to bring back to my lab. I thought the opportunity sounded great and I was positive but did not entirely agree. The surgery has to do with harvesting guinea pig brains. Watching examples of the surgery on YouTube feels like watching footage from a war zone (forgive the analogy, I'm sure it's nothing alike). But it felt cold and gross and hurt something in me.

I have so much tension in me between the great opportunity it is and how much it may or may not f*ck with me to have to (forgive me) scrape away the faces of guinea pigs for the sake of science. I'm going into clinical psychology, so it's not something i would have to do forever, and if I backed out now, I'm not sure how it would be viewed since I'm already recieving invitations for test runs and all that. I'm a very agreeable person especially when I'm not in a position of power (i.e. being an undergrad in a research lab) and it doesn't help that I'm the type.. that's been vegan since I was 14. Lol. I don't know how I got here. A part of me is saying to suck it up, I don't feel like I have the power to say no, and these folks, while receptive, will have SOMEONE do it. So why not me, etc.

Any advice to offer would be highly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to understand my debacle.

For what it's worth, I've had guinea pigs as pets since childhood and that sounds so awful to me.
 
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I’m surprised that someone who is vegan would consider doing this kind of lab work/experimentation, particularly if the purpose of becoming vegan was not for health reasons but to minimize violence toward animals.

I can empathize with your situation and would say this is not something you have to do to become a neuropsychologist. I don’t know if numbing yourself to it is desirable or actually problematic in the long run. If you strongly believe that animals shouldn’t be experimented on in this manner, you don’t have to completely toss out your values in this field to get where you want.

The history of animal experimentation and lack of ethics in our field is a long and terrible one, especially when considering the work by Harlow with monkeys, etc. Medical research uses animals even more than psychology, and the saddest part is that much of the medical research with small animals can rarely be generalized to humans anyway (I recall seeing that something like 95% of studies done with mice don’t even translate to humans in terms of results). Yet we still conduct it and put animals through experiments that we would NEVER get through an IRB if we wanted to do this to humans.

So I say go with your values on this one and talk to your PI if it’s too incongruent with your values. There are other ways to engage in research that don’t require animal experimentation, and depending on how you feel, it may not be worth it to go this route.
 
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The history of animal experimentation and lack of ethics in our field is a long and terrible one, especially when considering the work by Harlow with monkeys, etc. Medical research uses animals even more than psychology, and the saddest part is that much of the medical research with small animals can rarely be generalized to humans anyway (I recall seeing that something like 95% of studies done with mice don’t even translate to humans in terms of results). Yet we still conduct it and put animals through experiments that we would NEVER get through an IRB if we wanted to do this to humans.

The pharna stuff has a pretty low conversion rate. But the mouse models have been pretty key to neuroscience research in general. Without the mouse/rat to monkey translational research, who knows how far behind we'd be in the field. Necessary inconvenience.
 

foreverbull

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The pharna stuff has a pretty low conversion rate. But the mouse models have been pretty key to neuroscience research in general. Without the mouse/rat to monkey translational research, who knows how far behind we'd be in the field. Necessary inconvenience.
Which speaks volumes to call it an “inconvenience.”

Not everyone agrees that knowledge gained via ending the lives of animals and/or torturing them is necessary. I certainly don’t.
 
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Which speaks volumes to call it an “inconvenience.”

Not everyone agrees that knowledge gained via ending the lives of animals and/or torturing them is necessary. I certainly don’t.

Not everyone has to engage in the research if they do not wish to. It's not a requirement. Torture seems a bit hyperbolic. I mean, unless we're trying to get info about their training camps or something. :)
 

foreverbull

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Not everyone has to engage in the research if they do not wish to. It's not a requirement. Torture seems a bit hyperbolic. I mean, unless we're trying to get info about their training camps or something. :)
So....depriving animals who didn’t choose to be part of experiments of a happy and healthy/natural social environment for a fair amount of animal research isn’t torture. And opening up their brains quite literally, pumping them full of cancer-causing agents at times, stimulating their brains with electricity, etc.

Whatever you need to tell yourself to sleep at night, I guess.

I don’t think knowledge gained via torture and killing animals is worth the cost, personally. We have plenty of research we can conduct with humans. And yes, some research wouldn’t be able to be done, and that’s okay with me.

But clearly this is a complete foundational disagreement in basic philosophy, so it is what it is.
 

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I sleep like a baby at night :)

But anyway, there are always protocols in place to minimize pain/discomfort etc. Agree to disagree, benefits of the research IME far outweigh the costs. Luckily, it will continue to provide those benefits.
 

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I think that, even if we accept this research is necessary, not everyone has to be involved in it firsthand. Like I said, I personally could never do this particular job and would be sobbing the entire time. Granted, guinea pigs are like my favorite animal but I think I'd struggle with other animals too.
 
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I think that, even if we accept this research is necessary, not everyone has to be involved in it firsthand. Like I said, I personally could never do this particular job and would be sobbing the entire time. Granted, guinea pigs are like my favorite animal but I think I'd struggle with other animals too.

Oh, definitely. If this stuff riles you, joining an animal lab seems like a bad choice. I guess you could always ask to just do something like date entry, but that could be iffy. Most of these labs rely on a lot of crosstraining. Lab members need to be able to do different tasks. Best bet is to just stay away if this is a mismatch of beliefs.
 
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I’m surprised that someone who is vegan would consider doing this kind of lab work/experimentation, particularly if the purpose of becoming vegan was not for health reasons but to minimize violence toward animals.

I can empathize with your situation and would say this is not something you have to do to become a neuropsychologist. I don’t know if numbing yourself to it is desirable or actually problematic in the long run. If you strongly believe that animals shouldn’t be experimented on in this manner, you don’t have to completely toss out your values in this field to get where you want.

The history of animal experimentation and lack of ethics in our field is a long and terrible one, especially when considering the work by Harlow with monkeys, etc. Medical research uses animals even more than psychology, and the saddest part is that much of the medical research with small animals can rarely be generalized to humans anyway (I recall seeing that something like 95% of studies done with mice don’t even translate to humans in terms of results). Yet we still conduct it and put animals through experiments that we would NEVER get through an IRB if we wanted to do this to humans.

So I say go with your values on this one and talk to your PI if it’s too incongruent with your values. There are other ways to engage in research that don’t require animal experimentation, and depending on how you feel, it may not be worth it to go this route.
Well, I know it's kind of weird for a vegan to be doing this stuff. I'm not so sure I even believe in the research-- I don't even believe in the phenomenon they're trying to relate to humans. But darn, am I learning a good lesson and does it look good on a CV! sigh

But I really must emphasize how little access I have to research opportunities, how small my home school is, and how much I want to be a clinical psychologist. I've been vegan a long time, so it I guess some of my animal-rights-ness has faded and was left at the wayside for career improvement. I'm very excited to even have the opportunity, there are not many professionals in my family. So I guess I'm in a "scarcity mindset" especially with being so close to graduation.

I know it goes against my values, but like WisNeuro said, there are quite a few protocols for the comfort of the animals put in place (even if it means live decapitation). Although it (the research) still will be done even if it's not me, no question. I don't think someone can be "emotionally hardened" but I think they can learn about themselves, even if it borders masochistic. I kind of had the feeling something may happen like this going into this lab. Anyone who I tell in my life is kind of horrified and I don't think that helps.

Every step of the way one of the co-PIs are very encouraging that I don't have to do what I don't want to do, but this is a package deal. I know I'm not giving you any leads on how to respond to me, sorry about that.
 

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I know it goes against my values, but like WisNeuro said, there are quite a few protocols for the comfort of the animals put in place (even if it means live decapitation). Although it (the research) still will be done even if it's not me, no question. I don't think someone can be "emotionally hardened" but I think they can learn about themselves, even if it borders masochistic. I kind of had the feeling something may happen like this going into this lab. Anyone who I tell in my life is kind of horrified and I don't think that helps.

Not necessarily about this, more of a general issue in training, but there is a lot to be said about doing things that make you uncomfortable in training. Not things that are antithetical to your values or objectivey unsafe, but uncomfortable. Many people shy away from experiences or certain clinical populations due to discomfort, and miss out on a lot of growth. Unfortunately, as a field we've strayed further into a mindset that anything uncomfortable is to be avoided at all costs. Periodically, seek out and do these things that at first make you anxious.
 
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Not necessarily about this, more of a general issue in training, but there is a lot to be said about doing things that make you uncomfortable in training. Not things that are antithetical to your values or objectivey unsafe, but uncomfortable. Many people shy away from experiences or certain clinical populations due to discomfort, and miss out on a lot of growth. Unfortunately, as a field we've strayed further into a mindset that anything uncomfortable is to be avoided at all costs. Periodically, seek out and do these things that at first make you anxious.
I agree with this, my college has allowed me a lot of uncomfortable situations but none that, values aside, were potentially (excuse the wording, I'm grasping) had some element of "trauma" or such direct interaction with death/dead bodies. I'm all for new experiences and solving pet prejudices, I also worry about how this could change how I relate to animals in general (which matters very much to me). If I knew for sure I would be able to compartmentalize I think I'd have less worry.
 
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In terms of training and the field, discomfort with and subsequent avoidance of harvesting rodent brains is very different from discomfort with and subsequent avoidance of working with people from people from different populations, like sexual and/or gender diverse patients for example. One is discriminatory and the other is not. //edit: and any training program that allows let alone encourages trainees’ avoidance of working with certain clinical populations because of discomfort should be scrutinized.//

Besides, it is completely appropriate to have values and boundaries and to act on those, particularly when doing so does not diminish ethical behavior or attainment of broad professional competencies. We don’t all have to do everything simply because we are functionally able to. And should probably really consider the value of doing things that will actually harm, and not simply challenge us. I don’t think there’s any virtue in suffering just because you can. Luckily for us there’s a zillion things to study, almost as many methods to study it, and an array of people who are interested in the things that we aren’t and devoted to doing them.

it sounds to me like you could really use a mentor who could be mindful of sharing opportunities you might be interested in, help you network, or just generally provide professional development advice. I know you said you’re nearing the end of your undergrad career, and I don’t know if you consider yourself a first-generation student, but it may be worthwhile to contact the office at your school that would run a McNair program and see if they can connect you with anyone. Also, joining professional organizations and/or listservs can be immensely helpful. APA undergraduate membership is 35$ for the year. There are some divisions of APA that don’t require APA membership to take part, some that waive the fee for students, or other groups like APAGS that allow undergraduates to join for an additional fee. There are also plenty of other professional organizations that are not APA that may be worth exploring.

at the end of the day, you’re the only one living your life and none of us can tell you what will best serve you. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of figuring out how to manage and weigh various needs and goals, especially when they conflict. It becomes easier the more control you have/feel you have(?) over your choices and opportunities but is certainly a lifelong dilemma.
 
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Dazen

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I agree with this, my college has allowed me a lot of uncomfortable situations but none that, values aside, were potentially (excuse the wording, I'm grasping) had some element of "trauma" or such direct interaction with death/dead bodies. I'm all for new experiences and solving pet prejudices, I also worry about how this could change how I relate to animals in general (which matters very much to me). If I knew for sure I would be able to compartmentalize I think I'd have less worry.
It sounds like you've already made your decision, and I respect the amount of well-reasoned thought you've put into it. Good luck!!

We don’t all have to do everything simply because we are functionally able to. And should probably really consider the value of doing things that will actually harm, and not simply challenge us. I don’t think there’s any virtue in suffering just because you can.
This is one of the things I struggle with most in life, wanting to have as many experiences as possible and having an impossible bar for what can and should be endured before a negative reaction is weakness. Really appreciate how you laid this out - it'll be a helpful template for me in the future.
 
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In terms of training and the field, discomfort with and subsequent avoidance of harvesting rodent brains is very different from discomfort with and subsequent avoidance of working with people from people from different populations, like sexual and/or gender diverse patients for example. One is discriminatory and the other is not. Besides, it is completely appropriate to have values and boundaries and to act on those, particularly when doing so does not diminish ethical behavior or attainment of broad professional competencies. We don’t all have to do everything simply because we are functionally able to. And should probably really consider the value of doing things that will actually harm, and not simply challenge us. I don’t think there’s any virtue in suffering just because you can. Luckily for us there’s a zillion things to study, almost as many methods to study it, and an array of people who are interested in the things that we aren’t and devoted to doing them.

it sounds to me like you could really use a mentor who could be mindful of sharing opportunities you might be interested in, help you network, or just generally provide professional development advice. I know you said you’re nearing the end of your undergrad career, and I don’t know if you consider yourself a first-generation student, but it may be worthwhile to contact the office at your school that would run a McNair program and see if they can connect you with anyone. Also, joining professional organizations and/or listservs can be immensely helpful. APA undergraduate membership is 35$ for the year. There are some divisions of APA that don’t require APA membership to take part, some that waive the fee for students, or other groups like APAGS that allow undergraduates to join for an additional fee. There are also plenty of other professional organizations that are not APA that may be worth exploring.

at the end of the day, you’re the only one living your life and none of us can tell you what will best serve you. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of figuring out how to manage and weigh various needs and goals, especially when they conflict. It becomes easier the more control you have/feel you have(?) over your choices and opportunities but is certainly a lifelong dilemma.

Thank you for all the resources, ccool! I really appreciate your perspective and I'd never heard of the McNair program before. You are more than generous with the thoughtfulness and thoroughness you put into your replies.
 
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Are you gonna be the one killing the guinea pigs? Is that problem, or is the surgery the problem? I think with most rodents they often do a cervical dislocation (e.g., in mice you place the head and yank the tail), but I'm not sure. Anyway, in parts of South America, Guinea pigs are considered good eats. I don't know if that makes you feel better or not. But, I also grew up hunting. Maybe someone could put them down for you and you could just cut them up.?

The other thing to consider is if you agree with the value added to the field and it's potential good for humanity and science or if it's not really going to add that much. If the study is important and you see the value, then you might be the best person for this job because you're asking the right questions.
 
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I second talking to your PI/ lab manager about your concerns, thanking them for the trust they have clearly already developed for you.. and that you want to continue to honor, and discussing whether there are other ways to meaningfully contribute in the lab.

i think the worst thing would be to not have a conversation, agree to the training, even after doing this preliminary research and learning about your reactions, then coming back, trying it, and later saying no. Or no convo and going and not even being able to adequately train others when you return because you were not able to fully engage with the training. Informed consent rocks and I think is a sign of respect and integrity for the PI and project bc it gives the PI the opportunity to best utilize their resources.

if they say, no, this is the only task I need you to do even after your conversation, I don’t know. You might decide to try it, you might not. I think it’s really up to you weigh your various needs. Your reactions are valid, even if inconvenient, and your needs to sustain your well-being are just as important to consider as your professional needs. Plus, it’s not like your ability to become a competent, ethical, psychologist or neuropsychologist rests on your ability or desire to do this particular task.

This. 100% this. Virtually any pre-clinical researcher is likely to be familiar with these concerns and many will appreciate a reasoned and mature approach to handling things. Having friends who do that work, chances are pretty darn close to 100% you won't be the first student that did this and they probably appreciate you drawing lines like this in advance versus learning the procedure and then up and quitting the next day. Its great to stretch your comfort zone a bit, but this is not the sort of stretching that is likely to accomplish much of anything. I actually find it more concerning you question the value of the research as a whole. To me, that's a much bigger concern than your comfort/discomfort with a given lab procedure. Once you "see how the sausage is made" its normal to question how meaningful and methodologically sound most research actually is (I still have my doubts about much psychology research - including my own!), but this sounded like you aren't sure if the topic is even worth studying.

I'm a very strong supporter of animal research. I think it has tremendous value for our field and many others, has led to a number of new breakthroughs that otherwise might never have happened. I very regularly read and cite pre-clinical research and have a number of colleagues and collaborators who conduct it. I'm also not sure I would ever want to conduct it myself. Though ordering all the participants I need for a study on amazon and having them delivered 2 days later WOULD solve some of my biggest headaches;)
 
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Are you gonna be the one killing the guinea pigs? Is that problem, or is the surgery the problem? I think with most rodents they often do a cervical dislocation (e.g., in mice you place the head and yank the tail), but I'm not sure. Anyway, in parts of South America, Guinea pigs are considered good eats. I don't know if that makes you feel better or not. But, I also grew up hunting. Maybe someone could put them down for you and you could just cut them up.?

The other thing to consider is if you agree with the value added to the field and it's potential good for humanity and science or if it's not really going to add that much. If the study is important and you see the value, then you might be the best person for this job because you're asking the right questions.
It's live decapitation because of the instruments they will have in their heads (cannulas). I would be using our mini-guillotine. I'd also be performing head surgery. It's just a lot. I think this post has motivated me to bring the topic to my PIs and partner in the project.
 
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HPB2015

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I am an outside volunteer and this is the only research that I really have access to that's not self-constructed qualitative stuff.
What is "self-constructed qualitative stuff"? I didn't see anyone else ask about this and just want to make sure it's not an opportunity you should consider? Qualitative research has a lot of stigma around it in some places and it would be important to evaluate this potential opportunity with a thoughtful lens. If I'm reading your posts correctly, you don't indicate that you want to be a neuropsychologist or use animal models down the road - just that you want to pursue a clinical psych degree? In this case, I don't see guinea pig experimentation as mandatory for your acceptance into school - *especially* if this is not aligned with your ultimate career goals.

Totally agree with what was said above about talking to your PI about your concerns! Definitely the next best step. Also, as others mentioned, regardless of your stance on animal research that doesn't mean you need to be the one conducting it. I've had plenty of challenging, uncomfortable experiences in grad school and some of them are necessary to the degree (e.g., clinical work with difficult populations, difficult coursework), but I'm certain my development as a clinical psychologist has not suffered because I haven't decapitated anything. Needless to say, most of us have not done so as part of our training.

I also want to add another possibility that may expand your options: remote research assistantship. Due to the pandemic I mentored a number of research assistants this summer remotely, including students at universities that were not my own. A couple of them came through cold contacts (i.e., they reached out to me). This would not be possible with animal/lab-based research but I would be willing to guess there are folks out there with research interests you share who might be happy to take on a remote student!
 
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What is "self-constructed qualitative stuff"? I didn't see anyone else ask about this and just want to make sure it's not an opportunity you should consider? Qualitative research has a lot of stigma around it in some places and it would be important to evaluate this potential opportunity with a thoughtful lens. If I'm reading your posts correctly, you don't indicate that you want to be a neuropsychologist or use animal models down the road - just that you want to pursue a clinical psych degree? In this case, I don't see guinea pig experimentation as mandatory for your acceptance into school - *especially* if this is not aligned with your ultimate career goals.

Totally agree with what was said above about talking to your PI about your concerns! Definitely the next best step. Also, as others mentioned, regardless of your stance on animal research that doesn't mean you need to be the one conducting it. I've had plenty of challenging, uncomfortable experiences in grad school and some of them are necessary to the degree (e.g., clinical work with difficult populations, difficult coursework), but I'm certain my development as a clinical psychologist has not suffered because I haven't decapitated anything. Needless to say, most of us have not done so as part of our training.

I also want to add another possibility that may expand your options: remote research assistantship. Due to the pandemic I mentored a number of research assistants this summer remotely, including students at universities that were not my own. A couple of them came through cold contacts (i.e., they reached out to me). This would not be possible with animal/lab-based research but I would be willing to guess there are folks out there with research interests you share who might be happy to take on a remote student!
Thank you for reinforcing all the great advice I've gotten on this thread. You make a lot of great points and I appreciate you taking the time. I also reached out to the lab that I'm currently in "cold", but I would have no clue how to find remote research assistantships? Or where to even start with that? It feels a little too good to be true, I am interested though! I'll do some digging.
 

HPB2015

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Thank you for reinforcing all the great advice I've gotten on this thread. You make a lot of great points and I appreciate you taking the time. I also reached out to the lab that I'm currently in "cold", but I would have no clue how to find remote research assistantships? Or where to even start with that? It feels a little too good to be true, I am interested though! I'll do some digging.
You could think of it as a precursor to looking for potential mentors for graduate school. The same way you might start looking at who does the sort of research you might be interested in and where they are faculty! You can cold reach out to them introducing yourself, stating why you are interested in what they do and how you are looking to gain research experience in that area, and inquiring if they or their graduate students might have any opportunities for remote research assistance.
 
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cara susanna

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Do you know how often guinea pig owners are asked "you know some people eat them, right?" At some point it just becomes rude. Some culture eat dogs, but I don't ask "you know some people eat them, right?" to dog owners. I even had a friend tag me on social media on a picture of them eating cuy. Like, why would people do that??

Also, cuyes are raised exclusively for this purpose so they're much bigger and less easy to handle than domestic guinea pigs. Sometimes they end up at rescues in the US and you can tell because they are just massive.
 
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We eat people's pets all the time. I grew up rurally. Farm kids consider their livestocks pets (cows, pigs, chickens). Animal meat is animal meat. If some people don't like it, don't eat it, no reason to deny other cultural practices though. Always seemed fairly hypocritical to me for people who eat other meat.
 
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cara susanna

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We eat people's pets all the time. I grew up rurally. Farm kids consider their livestocks pets (cows, pigs, chickens). Animal meat is animal meat. If some people don't like it, don't eat it, no reason to deny other cultural practices though. Always seemed fairly hypocritical to me for people who eat other meat.

Oh, for sure, I'm not gonna deny the cultural practice or be upset with anyone for doing it. I'm just saying that it almost feels like people rub it in and that seems unnecessary.
 
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WisNeuro

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Oh, for sure, I'm not gonna deny the cultural practice or be upset with anyone for doing it. I'm just saying that it almost feels like people rub it in and that seems unnecessary.

Just come up with a more uncomfortable response.
"Yes, i do know that guinea pigs are part of some cultural cuisines. Did you know that some cultures engage in cannibalism? And that it has resulted in some outbreaks of prion disease?" and then go on to describe the effects of prion disease in excruciating detail. I guarantee that person will never again ask you about guinea pigs.
 
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I’m sorry. I posted that TikTok because it just happened to pop up on my for you page. Thought it was relevant. Didn’t mean to antagonize or something.

As an aside, I get why there called pigs. When they’re skinned they do look a lot like pigs.
 
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Just come up with a more uncomfortable response.
"Yes, i do know that guinea pigs are part of some cultural cuisines. Did you know that some cultures engage in cannibalism? And that it has resulted in some outbreaks of prion disease?" and then go on to describe the effects of prion disease in excruciating detail. I guarantee that person will never again ask you about guinea pigs.
I am fascinated by prion disease, especially chronic wasting disease and if it'll ever cause problems for people who eat deer. Have you ever ran into CJD as part of your practice?
 

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I am fascinated by prion disease, especially chronic wasting disease and if it'll ever cause problems for people who eat deer. Have you ever ran into CJD as part of your practice?

Only once, during training. It's pretty rare, especially here in the states. Plus, the duration is usually pretty short, so once they are already identified, not a whole lot if use for cognitive evaluation. It's pretty much palliative care after diagnosis.
 

cara susanna

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I’m sorry. I posted that TikTok because it just happened to pop up on my for you page. Thought it was relevant. Didn’t mean to antagonize or something.

As an aside, I get why there called pigs. When they’re skinned they do look a lot like pigs.

No offense taken. :)

They're also called pigs because of the oinking and squealing-like noises they make.
 
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This is one of the main reasons I bailed out of basic science after my Ph.D. in molecular/developmental neurobiology. Just based on personal experience n=1, I don't really think you can count on becoming inured to it over time if it didn't sit well with you in the first place.

I am actually not morally opposed to animal research as long as appropriate animal welfare protocols are in place (actually I think it's easier to make a utilitarian case for animal research than for eating meat, which I do, although not habitually, and don't feel ethically conflicted about). But having to actually be the person killing the mice was distressing and demoralizing and I wish I'd listened to that little internal voice telling me it wasn't for me before I went ahead and did a whole Ph.D. full of it.

And, uh, having to guillotine a guinea pig sounds pretty awful.
 
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