My name is Yueheng (Sally) Wang and I am from Suzhou, China. Right now, I am a junior double-majoring in Psychology and Economics, with a minor in Statistics and Analytics. Ever since I started watching Criminal Minds and CSI, I always dreamed to be one of the profilers. Using the knowledge about abnormal and forensic psychology to find out criminals was the coolest thing that I could ever think of. However, coming to UNC and beginning to take social psychology and behavioral economics courses has greatly changed my interest. I now find it fascinating to study the cognitive mechanism of consumers. In other words, I am interested in manipulating people’s minds to change their purchasing behaviors. It is astonishing how easily consumers can be manipulated by some trivial things that are not even relevant to his or her purchases, although, in most economic concepts, consumers are assumed to behave rationally to maximize their own benefits.
Unlike most of my fellow students, I have never worked as a research assistant in a lab. I spent my last two summers interning in two different departments of two different companies, which were both incredible experiences for me to learn the real-life application of the psychological concepts and theories that I learned in lectures. This semester, I am more than thrilled to work as a Karen M. Gil intern at Lenovo, a multinational technology company. Currently, I am working with the NEXT UX team under the mentorship of Dr. Megan Frankosky. This team is under the Marketing Department and aims to explore the intersection between design technology and new user value so that the company can achieve its mission of “Smarter Technology For All”. Besides learning from successful experience in the past to explore opportunities at the present, the NEXT UX Team also looks into the future and tries to apply or utilize “emerging technology” on present products.
During my internship, I help team members clean up datasets gathered in previous studies and also summarize the answers to open-ended questions into a list of keywords that best describes participants’ thoughts. Now I am also helping with the coding of people’s videotaped responses in a study of potential domestic devices. The most exciting part of my research is, however, that I am able to conduct a research of my own about a smart assistant that helps people to choose their next device across current models or even to create new personalized devices based on their needs. It was exciting to plan the whole research from scratch with the help of all my teammates and especially my mentor, Megan. This research is very different from what I did in the social psychology course and the research method course. It was my first time to conduct internal interviews to construct the questions in the research. So far, Megan and I have finished the internal interviews with our teammates and our next step is utilizing these responses to build the questionnaire we are going to use for participants.
My experience at Lenovo is incredible and not only l learn about the research process in a business setting, but I also find my passion for market research besides social psychology and behavioral economics. I am grateful for this internship as it provides me with invaluable guidance for my future academic and career goals and I would very much like to thank Megan and all of my teammates, Dr. Buzinski and Chelsea for their support.