Abigail Keim ’15, with support from the Dan Fielding ’07 Fund, is applying her interest in psychology by interning at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence this summer. The Center for Emotional Intelligence is a research laboratory at Yale University that examines, as Keim put it, “the extent to which emotional intelligence currently affects people’s actions, experiences, and relationships.”
In addition, the Center has developed an emotional intelligence curriculum called RULER that has been implemented in hundreds of schools around the world. RULER, which stands for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating emotions, has been attributed to improved academic achievement, student-teacher relationships, and emotional climate within the classroom.
Keim is collaborating on two separate projects at the Center — adapting the RULER curriculum to preschool and assisting with an experiment funded by the Air Force designed to test whether RULER can increase humans’ trust in automated systems.
She is also pursuing two personal research projects. The first project deals with the social-emotional experiences of young English language learners, which Keim hopes to continue researching in her senior project this fall. The second project, as she described it, “involves compiling information about biometric tools (e.g. eye trackers, skin conductance measurement tools, EEGs) and the psychophysiological processes that they measure. I will present this project at the end of the summer, and hopefully provide useful information to everyone at the Center as these biometric tools become more common and useful in studies of emotion.”
Keim appears thrilled with the opportunity to work at the Center, especially since she hopes to enter a graduate program in developmental or applied psychology and continue researching emotions and their impact on human behavior. Specifically, she would like to research “English language learners’ perceptions of social-emotional classroom support and how this relates to their academic success and cultural acclimation.”
Not only has this internship allowed her to begin researching this topic, but it has also provided her with guidance for the graduate school application process — the Center holds a professional development meeting for the interns each week in which they discuss various post-grad options for psychological research. As Keim said, “I’ve already met with multiple research assistants to talk to them about finding the right graduate school.”
Overall, this internship has given Keim an opportunity to explore her interest in the relationship between emotions and learning as well as provided her with formal research experience that will be invaluable in her pursuit of a graduate degree. Furthermore, the philosophy the Center advocates seems to have already rubbed off on Keim: “My ultimate goal this summer, though, is to implement the teachings of RULER in my day-to-day life. My roommate (another intern) and I already have a Mood Meter up in our apartment to remind ourselves to check in with our emotional states and self-regulate if needed.”
Keim is a graduate of St. George's College, Quilmes, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.