Skip to main content

Research & Labs

Psychological Sciences Laboratory

The Department of Psychological Sciences prides itself in offering students a hands on education and training in different fields. Faculty members work closely with students in a variety of research contexts, which prepares them for graduate training in psychology and future employment. Students can pursue many field opportunities that can build their skills and experience.

The Psychological Sciences Laboratory is located in 303 Mahar Hall, and is available to students and faculty members to conduct psychological science. We are particularly interested in having students use this laboratory for Honor's Theses and independent research projects. Permission to use this laboratory is required and is protected by assigned keycard access.

This laboratory contains the following equipment suites:

This laboratory also contains the following software suites:

Faculty Labs

Archiving Longitudinal Data Project and Health Behavior Promotion Lab

Mahar 304; Contact: Dr. Samara Rice ([email protected])
We are interested in understanding mechanisms of changing problematic health behaviors, with an emphasis on alcohol and other substance misuse. This is accomplished primarily through: 1) the application of advanced latent variable models to understand longitudinal health behavior change, and 2) instrument development studies to measure health behaviors in college students, such as intimate partner violence perpetration and the resolution of ambivalence about changing substance misuse.

Cognitive Dynamics Lab

Mahar 306; Contact: Dr. Theo Rhodes ([email protected])
Unlike more standard approaches to psychology, we consider behavior to be the emergent product of continuous interactions among many complex components. Using methods from dynamical systems, we focus on how a range of behaviors unfold and self-organize over time, such as perception, memory, language and motor behavior. Our current focus is an exploration of the hypothesis that many cognitive processes are essentially similar search processes under different constraints. This includes experiments on foraging in memory as well as virtual and real spaces (e.g., an easter egg hunt), with concurrent development of analyses for the identification of the underlying dynamics.

Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

Mahar 305; Contact: Dr. Sien Hu ([email protected])
We are interested in the architecture and functions of the human brain. Current projects include the development of behavioral paradigms for inhibitory control, neural correlates of inhibitory control in the aging brain, and effects of substance use on the functional connectivities in the brain.

Genetics and Psychophysiology Lab

Mahar 315; Contact: Dr. Ashlee Moore ([email protected])
The Genetics and Psychophysiology (GaP) lab is interested in the complex interplay of biology and psychology. We use psychophysiology equipment to measure biological responses such as skin conductance response, heart rate, respiratory rate, and startle reflex - responses that can measure stress and fear. We also collaborate with the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics to conduct statistical analysis on twin datasets to elucidate the genetic and environmental components of behavior. Phenotypic interests include: fear, psychopathy, emotional expression and identification, implicit bias, and racial and ethnic identity development.

The Interpersonal Dynamics and Social Perception (IDSP) Lab

Mahar 113; Contact: Dr. Lindsay Ruckel ([email protected])
In the IDSP lab, we often adopt a person x situation interactionist perspective. Currently, we are investigating individual differences and contextual factors related to people’s perceptions of others’ sexual interest in them. Other research examines social perception as it relates to initiators of romantic relationships and medical cannabis use/users. Research from this lab ultimately speaks to intersecting literatures on interpersonal attraction and relationships, gender and sexuality, social perception, individual differences, and the psychology of social media.

Prevention Support Partners

Mahar 115; Contact: Dr. Matt Dykas ([email protected]) 
Please click on this link for more information.

Relationships Across Development Laboratory

Mahar 115; Contact: Dr. Matt Dykas ([email protected])
The Relationships Across Development Laboratory (RAD Lab)examines how experiences in close personal relationships are internalized and contribute to social and emotional functioning across the lifespan. Our current research interests center on understanding how attachment-related experiences with parents are represented mentally and how such representations are linked to (a) the processing of social information, (b) the quality of parent-child relationships, and (c) the quality of peer relations.

Sensory Behavior Lab

Mahar 120; Contact: Dr. Emily Bovier ([email protected])
We are interested in characterizing individual differences in sensory function to understand (a) neural functioning, (b) influence of environmental factors on brain and behavior, and (c) atypical behaviors, with possible clinical applications.  Current measures include visual processing speed and olfactory functioning.

Sexual Neuroendocrinology Lab

Mahar 308D; Contact: Dr. Gilian Tenbergen ([email protected])
We are interested in the relationship between hormones and behavior. Specifically, we investigate the role of androgenizing and feminizing hormones on the development of sexual orientation, paraphilias/fetishes, and their role in the phenomenology and cognitive effects of sexual arousal. Outside of the lab we also use prevention science methods to implement and measure primary prevention programs against child sexual abuse in the community.

Social Cognition and Motivation Lab

Mahar 120; Contact: Dr. Adam Fay ([email protected])
We are interested in how people’s fundamental motivations shape important social cognitive and behavioral processes. Current projects are focused on understanding the effects of people’s needs for safety and social connection on (a) pro-social and aggressive behaviors, (b) perceptions of others, and (c) perceptions of the physical environment. In this work, we are especially interested in how low-level sensory experiences influence these higher-order social processes.

Trauma Studies Lab

Mahar 308A/B; Contact: Dr. Karen Wolford ([email protected])
We are researching elements for the redesign of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Mobile App with a focus on enhancing adherence and exploring virtual reality (VR) elements.

Sona Systems

Sona Systems is a research management system, that makes creating surveys and signing up for research participation much easier for students, and allows researchers to manage appointments in real time.