Join The Lab

We believe that novel insights into the complexities of cognition, perception, and action benefit greatly when curious and enthusiastic minds from diverse backgrounds collaborate in a positive and inclusive environment. The VIU supports this culture by looking for inquisitive, creative people with expertise and/or interest in computational techniques from a broad range of scientific backgrounds. Former and current VIU members have come from Psychology, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Electrical Engineering, to name a few. If the idea of joining a diverse, supportive team that uses cutting-edge techniques and technologies (from eye tracking to deep learning to fMRI) to investigate the cognitive and neural mechanisms that give rise to our thoughts, experiences, and actions sounds appealing to you, then consider the VIU and reach out to us!


The VIU Lab In The Media


Graduate Students

While the VIU accepts graduate students primarily through the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, several former and current lab members are associated with other departments (such as Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering) and programs (especially the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Dynamical Neuroscience, DYNS). Applications are typically due the beginning of December for admission the following September. Please feel free to contact us if you often find yourself thinking about how you think/perceive and are considering PhD programs in cognition, perception, neuroscience, machine learning, and any related field or combination of fields.  Note: Due to a large amount of interest, Dr. Eckstein will be unable to reply to everyone who is interested.


Undergraduate Students (PSY 99/199 & Volunteers)

The VIU believes that the opportunity to participate in high-level scientific research should be granted to each and every inquisitive, responsible person who has an enthusiastic interest in the science of the mind and brain. Every quarter, the VIU welcomes new undergraduate research assistants (RAs) through the PSY 99 (lower division) and PSY 199 (upper division) courses. The first quarter must be taken P/NP, but returning RAs have the option of taking the course for a grade. Typically, students enroll for between 3 units (9 hours/week) and 4 units (12 hours/week). Typically, new RAs are assigned to a particular VIU researcher (usually a grad student or postdoc) who will supervise them as they assist on a project in any of a number ways. Especially for new RAs, this assistance will likely include the backbone of the scientific process, data collection, and will also include training on scientific methodology, high-tech equipment like eye trackers, and protocols for working with human subjects. The course also includes assigned reading of 2 to 4 scientific articles (both seminal papers in our field and important recent work from the VIU and other high-powered labs) and corresponding one-hour supplemental lectures given by VIU researchers that review the papers. Finally, a paper summarizing your work in the lab is due by the end of the quarter.

If you are interested, please click on the PBS Department's 99/199 course linked above. Then email our current Research Assistant Coordinator (see next paragraph) with 1) Your name, 2) Class Standing, 3) Major, 4) A brief paragraph telling us what draws you to the VIU and the cognitive/perceptual science, and 5) [Optional] A brief CV. We rotate our Research Assistant Coordinator role every quarter. Email the current coordinator expressing your interest in VIU research at our lab email:

Current RAs and those interested in applying for a position can follow this link to access more information about undergraduate research in the VIU, including lab and UCSB human subjects policies, tutorials, and a selection of readings from which many of our three quarterly PSY 99/199 lectures are drawn.



The VIU is always looking for thoughtful, positive-minded PhDs with exceptional computational skills and enthusiasm for cognitive/perceptual science. The VIU has enjoyed high-impact contributions from postdocs with PhDs in Psychology, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics, to name a few. Please contact Professor Miguel Eckstein and provide a description of your research accomplishments, career goals, and potential research interests (including why you believe the VIU is a strong fit for your interests).