by Caitlin Shneider '16
I spent this past summer as an intern with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (INECO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Working closely with the Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience Lab, I worked on PhD research to study the deficits in social cognition in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Asperger's Syndrome in children.
This was an incredible experience for me to better understand the process of conducting clinical neuropsychological research, and to potentially help me develop some of the necessary skills to be successful in the field. My primary responsibility of this internship was to assist in the collection of data, which meant that I assisted with the administration of electroencephalograms (EEGs) to children with ADHD and Asperger's. This involved the set-up, take-down, and cleaning of one hundred and thirty electrodes. Though tedious at times, this was a critical aspect of the procedure due to the fragile and hypersensitive nature of the electrodes.
Beyond the technical perspective of the EEG, I frequently sat with the child during the procedure to help keep them calm and relaxed. The extensive EEG equipment usually looks scary to an eight-year-old, so these children often find it comforting to have someone sit with them throughout the procedure. Coincidentally, I learned this when I had two EEGs conducted on my own head to test a pre-screening paradigm for Alzheimer's. To connect all the pieces that I had learned, I concluded my internship by conducting a full EEG by myself. I did not spend all of my time working with EEGs. I spent a considerable amount of time observing neuropsychological and cognitive evaluations of each patient, and logging data.
I loved this internship because I had the opportunity to interact with children in Spanish. Because this lab was Argentine, no English was spoken in the lab. Though at first this challenged my Spanish skills, I really appreciated the opportunity it gave me to learn the Argentine dialect of Spanish. I had a wonderful neuropsychological and cultural experience with this institute and hope to work with them again in the future.