Psychology Department Laboratories
Professor Cunningham conducts research on children's cognitive and emotional development and on the nonverbal communication of emotion by children and adults. He teaches courses in clinical psychology and developmental psychopathology.
Lab Web Site: Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory
Professor DiZio's major research interests are control of human posture and movement, multisensory influences on spatial orientation, sensory localization, sensory-motor adaptation and motor development. Experimental approaches to these problems involve unusual force environments, such as space flight and virtual environments as well as clinical conditions, such as labyrinthine loss, congenital blindness, peripheral neuropathy, cerebellar dysfunction and Autism. These approaches are important both for illuminating basic neural mechanisms and for achieving solutions to practical problems.
Lab Web Site: Aging, Culture & Cognition Laboratory
Professor Gutchess' research investigates the influence of age and culture on memory and social cognition. She is interested in compensatory strategies and neural reorganization, particularly as an effect of context. Her work employs behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI) methods.
Lab Web Site: Social Interaction and Motivation Laboratory
Professor Gutsell's research areas include Social and Affective Neuroscience; Cross-group Resonance; Emotion and Self-control; Empathy and Environmentalism.
Lab: Learning, Memory and Decision Making Lab
Professor Jadhav’s research investigates the neural basis of cognition and behavior. He is interested in understanding how multiple brain regions coordinate activity to form representations of the external world, learn new experiences, store and retrieve memories, and make decisions. His current research examines how activity in neural ensembles of two critical brain regions, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, supports learning and memory, working memory, and decision making. Techniques employed include behavioral, electrophysiological and computational methods.
Lab Web Site: Behavior, Learning, & Electrophysiology of Chemosensation Lab
Professor Katz's studies the neural bases of learning. His current research examines the ways in which interactions among simultaneously recorded ensembles of single neurons underlie both the within-trial identification of taste stimuli and between-trial plasticity related to taste learning.
Professor Knight's research interests include the assessment of and the taxonomic differentiation among sexually aggressive males (both juveniles and adults) and the assessment of and the identification of core features of psychopathy. He is also interested in the etiology and the prediction of outcome in both sexual aggression and psychopathy.
Lab Web Site: Lifespan Developmental Psychology Laboratory
Professor Lachman's research is in the area of lifespan development with a focus on midlife and later life. Her current work is aimed at identifying psychosocial (e.g., sense of control) and behavioral (e.g., physical exercise) factors that can protect against, minimize, or compensate for declines in cognition (e.g., memory) and health. She is conducting studies to examine long-term predictors of psychological and physical health, laboratory-based experiments to identify psychological and physiological processes involved in aging-related changes, and intervention studies to enhance performance and promote adaptive functioning.
Lab Web Site: Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory
Professor Lackner's research interests concern human spatial orientation and movement control in unusual force conditions including weightless, high force, and artificial gravity environments. One feature of his work includes the recognition that exposure to non-terrestrial force environments helps reveal the nature of sensory-motor adaptation to the normal force background of earth.
Professor Xiaodong Liu's research interests include the application of advanced statistics in psychological and educational research; the impacts of familial, communal, and school environments on child and adolescent psychological development and academic achievement; and gender and ethnic issues in child and adolescent psychological adjustment and academic achievement.
Lab Web Site: Health Psychology Laboratory
Professor Rohleder’s main research interest is the role of peripheral inflammation as a major mediator linking adverse psychological states, such as acute and chronic stress, depression, and traumatization with somatic diseases, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Peripheral low-grade inflammation has been identified as a major pathophysiological factor in the abovementioned somatic diseases in recent years, and is therefore a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Western societies.
Research is emerging connecting psychological factors such as stress and depression with the biological factor low-grade inflammation. Cross-sectional data shows that individuals who are suffering from depression, are chronically stressed, or have experienced a trauma also have higher concentrations inflammatory mediators. However, more research is needed to establish temporal and causal relationships between psychological factors and inflammation. Professor Rohleder’s research program aims at establishing these relationships by (a) experimentally inducing acute stress in the laboratory and assessing inflammation and biological factors regulating inflammation; and (b) longitudinally assessing inflammation and inflammatory regulation in groups of individuals who are suffering from psychological distress, such as for example caregivers of cancer patients, or people who have been traumatized. Inflammatory regulation is assessed at several different levels, for example at the intracellular level by determining the relative expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory gene products using real time RT-PCR, in cultures, using in-vitro models of inflammatory regulation, and at the systemic level, by measuring stress hormone concentrations in blood and saliva using immunoassays.
Lab Web Site: Vision Lab
Professor Sekuler's research interests include visual perception, cognitive processes, particularly visual memory, navigation of complex environments, imitation of seen actions, and age-related changes in cognitive function.
Lab Web Site: Memory and Cognition Lab
Professor Wingfield's research is in the areas of language, memory and adult aging.
Lab Web Site: Health Psychology Laboratory
Extensive literature exists showing how psychological states affect physiological processes and thus eventually health outcomes. In comparison, the knowledge about the underlying molecular pathways is rather sparse, especially when considering the effects of psychosocial states, such as stress or depression, on the endocrine and immune system. Conversely, while many studies investigated the effects of the social environment (e.g., relationships between family members) on health outcomes, not many studies are looking at the underlying endocrine and immune processes. Professor Wolf’s research aims on expanding the area of Health Psychology, specifically Psychoneuroendocrinology (PNE) and -immunology (PNI), in these two directions, to the molecular level on the one hand and the social environment on the other. Examples for questions she is trying to answer are (1) what are the molecular pathways linking psychosocial states, such as stress, anxiety, or depression, and health outcomes in, e.g., atopic disease patients and (2) what are the pathways by which psychosocial states of family members affect child’s health.
Lab Website: Face Perception Lab
Despite the injunction 'Don't judge a book by its cover', considerable research demonstrates consensual first impressions of others' psychological traits based on facial appearance. Ongoing research in my laboratory addresses four questions concerning this phenomenon: 1) what are the facial qualities that influence trait impressions? 2) why do perceivers respond as they do to these particular facial qualities? 3) what are the social and psychological consequences of judging others by their appearance? 4) what are the neural mechanisms for appearance-based impressions? 5) does aging influence trait impressions? This work has been guided by a model of appearance-trait relationships that specifies four possible developmental paths to actual relationships between facial appearance and psychological traits as well as a set of overgeneralization hypotheses, each of which specifies an adaptive basis for forming particular impressions of faces based on their resemblance to faces for which those impressions are accurate (Zebrowitz, 1997; Zebrowitz & Montepare, 2006; 2008).
Four possible developmental paths to actual relationships between facial appearance and psychological traits include biological causes of both, environmental causes of both, traits causing appearance, and appearance causing traits via its impact on the social environment. Insofar as appearance and traits are related due to the impact of appearance on the social environment, there is a need to explain the origin and nature of such an impact. One possible mechanism is provided by the overgeneralization hypotheses, which specify particular configurations of physical qualities that will give rise to behavioral expectations and that may create true relationships between appearance and traits via self-fulfilling (or self-defeating) prophecy effects. According to the overgeneralization hypotheses, the evolutionary and social importance of detecting attributes like emotion, age, identity, or genetic fitness has created a strong tendency to respond to the facial qualities that reveal these attributes that is overgeneralized to people whose faces merely resemble a particular emotion, age, identity, or level of fitness. We have used connectionist modeling and fMRI methods to test the overgeneralization hypotheses, which have relevance for age, sex, and race stereotypes. We are currently using behavioral and neural methods to investigate changes in the accuracy and positivity of trait impressions in older adulthood.