I am a post-bac who is looking to gain some more experience doing psych research before applying to PhD programs in the fall. I am currently a lab manager at a cognition lab, but am essentially part-time until the fall due to COVID, so I have a bit of free time that I can dedicate to other things. As such, I went out looking for labs that I can volunteer a few hours at. I found one that piqued my interest, and after reaching out, I landed an interview. However, now I'm sort of worried that my other PI might get a bit upset, even though I'm only looking to volunteer until the end of the summer. I know working under two labs is technically not a taboo, but I don't know if doing something like this would be considered rude/unethical (since I am hired at one position and not the other)...

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    – eykanal
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


Unless there are real or perceived conflicts of interest there should be no ethical issue here. If the two labs are sufficiently distinct then conflicts are unlikely.

But, to protect yourself, you should let the PIs of both labs know of your work in the other. Don't try to hide it or questions might be raised.

  • The labs are both developmental psychology labs, but one investigates numerical cognition while the other is more interested in social cognition. Should I let my PI know before or after the interview? Also thank you so much for the response!
    – rei
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 19:09
  • 6
    Probably before is better. If you get pushback you want to know early.
    – Buffy
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 19:15
  • 6
    @user134088 Check also university regulations: some universities may require you to get a formal approval from the department. Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 20:40
  • 2
    I fully agree, but it may be wise to also carefully check for possible breaches of confidentiality. Even without a direct conflict, using information from one lab that is still confidential at that point in time could cause an issue. Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 14:48

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