Nadia Brashier, Ph.D.
Psychology & Neuroscience T'18
Current PositionPostdoctoral Scholar, Harvard University
Mini Wheats improve kids’ attentiveness by 20%. Walking in New Balance toning shoes burns extra calories. Luminosity is like a personal trainer for your brain. Why do these deceptive advertisements sound credible? I supervised two Bass Connections teams focused on the heuristics that consumers use to judge product claims. In particular, we focused on how these cognitive “shortcuts” change over the lifespan, since scams frequently target older adults. This research ties in closely with my postdoctoral work at Harvard, where I am investigating why older adults share the most fake news.
In addition to this conceptual overlap, I gained mentoring experience that set me up for success as a postdoc. For two years, Bass Connections gave me the resources to supervise what was essentially a “mini lab.” I guided six undergraduates through full-time summer research and independent studies. They contributed to every stage of the scientific process, from selecting stimuli to presenting at professional conferences. I learned how to set reasonable goals for trainees, provide actionable feedback and encourage their independence. In addition, I developed strategies for teaching hard-won, but valuable, skills like programming and writing. Bass Connections prepared me for team leadership roles more than any other aspect of my graduate training. Soon I hope to oversee my own lab as a professor – thanks to this program, I feel prepared for the huge responsibility of mentoring young scientists.