Research Project Week 2: Trial-and-Error

Here's what I got up to in the second week of my research

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This week I spent the majority of my time using the experiment building software Gorilla to create my study which will investigate the effects of distractors in a visual memory task. The aim of the study is to investigate what exactly makes something distracting. There are 7 different conditions and the whole study will take around an hour per participant to complete - so I really had my work cut out.


I'm definitely still a novice when it comes to using Gorilla to build experiments, so I felt really out my depth considering the complexity of this study. The hardest part was creating the spreadsheet - I haven’t had many opportunities to use Excel since high school so it took me a while to get to grips with how to use it again. As a perfectionist who likes to work slowly and methodically, not having the time to figure out the most efficient way of working was frustrating. However, after meeting with my supervisor, I was reassured that trying to learn how to use these programmes by trial-and-error is something I'm not alone in doing - as researchers, we are constantly introduced to new computer software, new and better equipment, new concepts and theories etc; mistakes play an important role in progress, so my perfectionist tendencies have taken a back seat for now.


So far I am really enjoying doing research. I love that I'm getting to work with people from multiple departments at the university (such as the 2 amazing volunteer RAs who created the stimuli for my experiment) and the unpredictability of it all is something I'm really starting to thrive on now. Next week I'm hoping to finally start data collection, and perhaps start to analyse the fMRI data which I set out to look at in my initial project proposal.

Mary Friend

Natural Sciences Student, University of York

3rd year Natural Sciences MSci student at University of York specialising in neuroscience. I am fascinated by the brain and the connections within it, and enjoy combining my knowledge of chemistry, biology, psychology and philosophy to generate new ideas.