Exit 23: Sketchy Sub
Gold Donor
5+ Year Member
SDN Ambassador
Jun 17, 2014
Sketchy Sub Chat
Psych research is fine.

Anything counts as research as long as it is based on a hypothesis. People got in with research experiences ranging from fMRI behavior scanning to complex chemical reactions. As long as it's hypothesis-based and you can describe your work eloquently in essays and interviews, you'll be fine with social behavioral research.
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Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
Staff member
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
City of the Future
Medical Student
If you are doing research just to check the box off then work in the psychology lab. Whatever looks better on your application will depend on your productivity and how you are able to communicate your research on your app and in your application. In the long run it is largely unimportant unless you are going to a school that particularly values basic science.

You must understand this though: to be productive in science means putting in a lot of work, hours and getting lucky. Don't expect much to come out of something you are just putting in a bit of time every week for.
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5+ Year Member
May 14, 2014
Medical Student
Short answer: Either will be an asset.

As someone who has worked in both, I grew a lot more intellectually from from my basic science research. Although the 10-20 hours a week was frustrating at times, it was ultimately more rewarding, even in the absence of a publication, because it taught me how to understand things on a whole new level. Data mining and analysis associated with clinical/psychology research gets old really fast, even if it is only 10 hours per week. However, you know more about what interests you/the amount of time you have available. In the neurobio lab, will you have your own project/be taking responsibility for part of someone else's? Or will you be doing mainly tech work? If the latter, I don't think it confers a clear advantage. However, having your own project or playing a key role in someone else's project in the neurobio lab > analyzing/collecting data in a psychology setting.
Mar 19, 2015

I'm currently a junior science major (pre-med intentions) and finally getting involved in research. I have a couple opportunities and I'd appreciate some input (especially if some adcom members could chip in :) )
Both interest me equally...
1) basic sciences research, bench work in a neurobiology lab studying the GABAergic system in mice.
2) psych research in biopsychology, the lab focuses on addiction (tobacco smoking in particular) and involves conducting surveys, data analysis, and some fMRI experiments

At the moment I'm leaning towards the psych research because it requires less hours, so it won't interfere with my studies as much. The neurobiology lab is asking for 15-20 hours per week, while the psych research wants 10 hours per week.

My big question (and I'd really appreciate many opinions): is the psych research looked down upon or lesser than basic sciences research from an AdCom POV?
What is your major?


The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
The Other Side of the Portal
My big question (and I'd really appreciate many opinions): is the psych research looked down upon or lesser than basic sciences research from an AdCom POV?
I agree with the opinion that the Psych research will be fine for general med school application purposes.
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2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2015
Medical Student
Thanks catalystik. My major is called science, it's essentially a pre-health professional major where you take the required medical school pre-reqs but then get to choose all of your upper level science courses.
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