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Dr Romy Froemer

R Froemer

Contact Details

Dr Romy Froemer

School of Psychology, University of Birmingham


Research Interests

Dr Froemer studies the switches by which people flexibly adjust how they learn and make decisions, and how they set these switches according to their momentary goals and motivational states. To address these questions, she combines behavioural measures, computational modelling, eye-tracking, psychophysiological recordings and/or neuroimaging techniques. The long-term goal of her work is to identify levers that empower people to improve not only their learning and decision-making, but also how they feel about it.

  • Learning
  • Decision-making
  • Motivation
  • Metacognition
  • Cognitive Control

Scientific Inspiration

My research is inspired by a range of people, out of the box thinkers like Rasha Abdel Rahman and Amitai Shenhav, curious lifelong learners like Matthew Nassar and knowledge beasts like Michael J Frank. In terms of scientific overlap, I believe I am most inspired by Nick Yeung. All of these people are not only fantastic researchers, but also kind and supportive mentors who know how to instil the same curiosity in their mentees and pass on their knowledge. This is another reason I find them inspiring.


Supervision Style

In my supervision, I aim to support students in growing into curious, learning-oriented and independent researchers. How exactly I achieve this will depend on the student, their needs and their style. I will make sure that on that path, the student will generate products and reach milestones that allow them to continue on the academic path if they so choose.

Provision of Training

I aim to first set the foundation for independent growth by providing structure, knowledge and skills training that you can build on as your grow more independent.

I am – at least initially what one would call a hand-on mentor and rather closely involved in the work until you have acquired a level of skill that allows you to move forward independently and likely beyond what I am able to teach. When I consider this point reached will likely vary across tasks and it does not mean that at that point your development in this domain is complete.

In my lab we always strive to improve, and that includes my mentoring. If the way I am training you is not working for you, it is our shared responsibility to find a way that does work. If it could be better, let’s make it better.

Progression Monitoring and Management

We will set goals together for different timelines (PhD, year, month, week), and regularly assess progress towards these goals and whether these goals are still appropriate. This is a dynamic, collaborative process intended to help you make the best out of your PhD experience.

For day-to-day research activities, I expect a certain level of effort to independently solve problems. However, ultimately progress is more important than independence. If you have tried solving a problem independently and are stuck, we want to catch that early and try getting you through the bottleneck together so that you can continue on your path.

I will clearly communicate preferences for organization and administration of research that I have developed to help reliable and reproducible implementation of research and progress tracking when you start. I prefer that you use these tools. If they are not working for you and you have suggestions for better approaches, we can test these and potentially move towards a better system as a group. Otherwise, I will need you to comply with the labs standard operating procedures to assure quality.

Communication

The lab has 2 main communication channels: Slack and Notion. You can slack me any time. I try to check regularly, but I have notifications snoozed to not get distracted during the day, so it might sometimes take an hour or even longer until I respond. If things are really urgent, you can always stop by my office. Longer term project related activities are coordinated through notion. We have a project tracker where goals are set and monitored, and where you can tag me if you need help with anything or want to show me the latest cool results.

You can always send me research updates! Every PI loves that and I am no exception. Give the relevant context for the things your sending me, so I remember what this is about and so that I can properly celebrate your progress!

I might send you things at random times, but that does not mean that you have to respond around the clock. If something really is urgent – I will let you know.

PhD Students can expect scheduled meetings with me:

In a group meeting

At least once a week

In year 1 of PhD study

At least once a week

In year 2 of PhD study

At least once a week

In year 3 of PhD study

At least once a week


These meetings will be mainly face to face, and I am have an open door policy but my pattern of being contactable for an instant response is not predictable.

Working Patterns

The timing of work in my lab is flexible, and other than attending pre-arranged meetings, I expect students to manage their own time.

Notice Period for Feedback

I need at least 1 week's notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.