In a Study

If you would like to participate in a behavioral or brain imaging study:

  1. Email or call (650) 725-5688 and leave a message.
  2. A lab representative should contact you to go over screening forms one and two.
  3. Download and fill out any additional forms relevant to your particular study.
  4. Bring the completed forms with you to the CNI (420 Jane Stanford Way) on the day of the study.

In the Lab

If you would like to apply as a undergraduate research assistant, graduate student or postdoctoral fellow, see the information below:

Applying as a Research Assistant

The SPAN lab has a limited number of Research Assistant (RA) positions at any given time. Volunteering as an RA provides an ideal means of getting hands-on experience doing research and individualized mentorship from someone with advanced research training. All RAs typically work closely with a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow, as well as with Dr. Knutson. Because of the interdisciplinary, multimethod, and collaborative nature of our research, signing on as an RA typically involves a minimum commitment of 9 hours a week (for credit, if desired) for two quarters. RAs who have worked in the lab for more than three quarters may decide to pursue an honors thesis or pilot project of their own. Skills that research associates have learned include: experimental design; data acquisition using psychometric, psychophysiological, and brain imaging methods; data analysis; and writing reports for publication. We’re proud of our history of innovating new methods and paradigms that facilitate interdisciplinary research, and RAs have historically played key roles in these advances. Useful (but not necessary) background skills include: familiarity with the Linux OS, coding in Python or C, a background in neuroanatomy, and/or an interest in building new bridges between academic disciplines. In addition to arming you with research skills, RA experience offers professional preparation for those wishing to pursue a career in research (including recommendation letters).

If you are interested in exploring an intensive and rewarding research experience, email the following information to and we’ll contact you shortly thereafter. Thanks for your interest!

  • Name
  • Year
  • Institution
  • Relevant Experience (in a sentence or short list)
  • Research Goals (in one to three sentences)
  • Interest in Specific Projects (if any, more details available on our Publications and Press pages.)
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume (with references)
  • Best Mode/Time for Contact 

Applying as a Graduate Student

If you apply to Stanford as a graduate student in psychology, you should determine which area (or areas) of psychology to apply under. Five areas admit students: affective, social, developmental, cognitive, and neuroscience. I am primarily affiliated with affective and secondarily with neuroscience. Together, these areas can admit from 10-12 graduate students a year.

The faculty within an area split grad students, so affective typically admits 2-4 per year. However, there are at least twice as many personality faculty (~8) as admits per year, so one student typically joins our lab every other year. Part of this limit has to do with the fact that all admitted students receive four years of funding, and thus do not have to rely on grant support. The graduate admissions administrator, can answer detailed questions on the application process.

Alternatively, you could apply to Stanford as a neuroscience student. There is no neuroscience department, but there is an interdepartmental neuroscience consortium. This program also admits approximately 10-12 graduate students a year, but those students are shared among more faculty, due to the interdepartmental nature of the program. 

Applying as a Postdoctoral Fellow

Coming soon…