Our lab policies

Code of conduct

This section has been adapted from the Aly Lab Manual. Thanks to Dr. Aly for sharing!

Principles of responsible conduct

The Principles of Responsible Conduct are the basic expectations the University of Pennsylvania sets for its students and employees to make sure we (1) understand and uphold our legal requirements and (2) maintain a high standard of ethics and integrity. Make sure you read them so you understand what is expected of you.

Standards of acceptable behavior

We want the lab to be a safe, open, and welcoming environment. Working in our lab should be a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.

Things like this contribute to a positive environment:

  • Using welcoming and inclusive language

  • Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences

  • Gracefully accepting constructive criticism

  • Focusing on what is best for the lab

  • Showing empathy towards other lab members

Things like this are not tolerated in the lab:

  • Using sexualized language or imagery

  • Unwelcome sexual attention or advances

  • Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments

  • Personal or political attacks

  • Public or private harassment

  • Publishing other’s private information (e.g. email, address) without permission

  • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

Katie makes sure everyone upholds the standards of acceptable behavior and will take appropriate and fair corrective action to unacceptable behavior. If you notice someone being harassed, or are harassed yourself, tell Katie right away.

General policies

Research (mis)conduct

Don't fabricate, falsify, or plagiarize stuff. Research integrity is super important to us and we don't tolerate research misconduct of any kind. Read Penn’s policies regarding misconduct in research very carefully.

Reproducible research

Reproducible research is an essential part of science and an expectation for all projects in the lab. For results to be reproducible, all aspects of our research projects must be organized and well documented. To achieve this high standard, we have explicit protocols for every step in the life cycle of our research. You are required to follow these protocols carefully. There are no exceptions.


We follow the APA authorship guidelines in the lab:

Authorship credit should reflect the individual's contribution to the study. An author is considered anyone involved with initial research design, data collection and analysis, manuscript drafting, and final approval. However, the following do not necessarily qualify for authorship: providing funding or resources, mentorship, or contributing research but not helping with the publication itself. The primary author assumes responsibility for the publication, making sure that the data are accurate, that all deserving authors have been credited, that all authors have given their approval to the final draft; and handles responses to inquiries after the manuscript is published

Project leads can expect to be authors. If you're assisting on a project, you're probably not an author, unless you've been involved with all of these things: design, data collection and analysis, manuscript drafting and final approval. If you've only contributed to design or data collection, you're not an author.

Old projects

If your data is sitting around un-analyzed or your project hasn't been written up for a really long time (3+ years), Katie will re-assign it to someone else.

Human subjects research

You must follow our IRB protocols. If you don't, there could be severe consequences for the entire lab (i.e. we could lose permission to do any research with human subjects).

Before you can be added as an approved researcher on an IRB protocol, you need to complete CITI Training, a background check, and FBI fingerprinting. If you haven't been added to the protocol, you can't run participants, look at data, analyze data, or be in any way involved in the project.

If a participant gets sick or injured during a study, notify Katie right away. We are required report this to the IRB and/or our funding sources.

Photo and video policy

Don't take a picture or video of someone without their consent. Don't post a picture or video of someone to social media without their consent.

Never take pictures of research participants; we don't have IRB approval for that. We only capture audio and screen recordings during research studies.

Noise policy

Please respect your fellow lab members’ right to a quiet and focused work space. If you want to have long or loud conversations, find a place outside the shared lab workspace. Remember that participant running rooms for both our lab and the Cultural Evolution of Language Lab are right next door. Being too loud could disrupt data collection in both labs.

Dress code

The dress code is casual, but not too casual. When interacting with participants or presenting your work, don’t wear pajamas or workout clothes, but jeans are fine.