Ongoing Research Opportunities

Below are descriptions of current research opportunities available in the Psychology Department. Students interested in attending graduate school are encouraged to get involved in research early in their undergraduate career. Participating in research as an undergraduate provides excellent preparation for the demands of a graduate program and indicates a serious interest in psychological scholarship, both of which are desirable characteristics of applicants to graduate school. Participating in research also provides students with an opportunity to get to know Psychology faculty and other Psychology majors better, as well as the chance to become more involved in the Psychology Department.

While participating in research as an undergraduate, students may receive ERP credits. Once you find a faculty member to work with for your ERP, you should discuss the details of your project with him or her. Then, you should fill out the online ERP form. The form must be approved by both your ERP faculty moderator and the department chair.

If you are interested in participating in any of the projects below, please follow the instructions listed for that project. Please note that some of the research opportunities listed may not have any current openings. In addition, participation in some of the projects listed may require an application or an interview. Please contact the faculty mentor of each project for more information.

Emotional Conditioning with the Word "Not"
Dates:
2012-2013 Academic Year

Faculty Mentor: Richard M. Wielkiewicz, Richarda P25, ex. 5681

Summary of Research: Seeking detail-oriented and conscientious research assistants who desire to really push their knowledge of statistics and research design and have taken Principles of Learning and Behavior. This research is a continuation of an Honors Thesis done by Alyssa Sinner so it would be very helpful to attend her thesis defense on Friday, April 13, 2012, to determine whether this project might be interesting to you.

Number of ERP credits available: At discretion of faculty mentor

Number of Spots: One or two spots available in the Fall of 2012.

Time commitment: A few hours per week to run subjects. The actual experiment is presented to subjects using a computer program. Interested students could be trained and become familiar with the experiment in the remaining weeks of the spring 2012 semester.

Requirements: Completed both Research Methods and Principles of Learning and Behavior (AB or higher), strong attention to detail, and ability to follow standardized testing protocols. Please submit letter of interest (electronic copy), names of two references, and unofficial transcript to Richard Wielkiewicz (rwielk@csbsju.edu; 320-363-5681)

Research on College Students' Beliefs about Knowledge and Learning

Dates: Every Semester

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Bob Kachelski, PEngel 129, ex. 2372

Summary of Research: This research project is designed to examine college students' beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning (epistemological beliefs) and how these beliefs are related to their academic performance, the teaching methods and classroom activities they perceive as effective, and other measures. In addition to using survey methods, we will also be designing experimental tasks to determine how students' study behaviors and metacognitive performance are related to their beliefs and their academic performance.

Number of ERP credits available: 1 or 2 credits, depending on time commitment per week

Number of Spots: 5-6 available

Time commitment: One 70-minute meeting per cycle plus 2 to 3 hours per week per credit

Requirements: Must have completed Research Methods. Completion of Cognitive Processes is preferred, but not required. Contact Dr. Kachelski for further information.

Brief Assessment of Second Grade Children's Narrative Language and Reading Comprehension Development

Dates: 2011-2012 Academic Year

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Janet Tilstra, Richarda P26, ex. 5676

Summary of Research: Seeking detail-oriented and conscientions research assistants who enjoy working with children to assist with data collection and analysis for a 1-year project examining narrative language and reading comprehension development in 2nd grade children. We will collect three blocks of data from participants at Kennedy Elementary School during the academic year. Each assessment block will require about 2 hours on 2-3 days of the same week. Assistants must be available for three designated data collection blocks throughout the year - a few days each in fall, winter, and spring.

Number of ERP credits available: At discretion of faculty mentor

Number of Spots: No spots available until Fall 2012.

Time commitment: A few days each fall, winter, and spring

Requirements: Completed both research methods and developmental psychology courses (AB or higher), available even or odd mornings fall and spring semesters, comfortable with children (able to establish rapport quickly), strong attention to detail and ability to follow standardized assessment protocols, professional manner in school setting, district 742 background check is required (reimbursed).

Please submit letter of interest (electronic copy), names of two references, and informal transcript to Janet Tilstra (jtilstra@csbsju.edu; 320-363-5676)

Affect, Beliefs, and Cognition in Development  Lab (the ABCD Lab Group)

Dates: Every Semester.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Livingston, PEngel 305, ex. 3369

Summary of Lab Activities: The Affect, Beliefs, and Cognition in Development (ABCD) Lab Group focuses on a wide-range of research topics related to affect (emotions and feelings), attitudes and beliefs, and cognition in developmental processes. Students will be assigned primary responsibility for one research project and will be required to help out other members of the group with their projects under the guidance of Dr. Livingston. In the past three semesters, the lab group has completed or is currently working on two studies of the effects of disclosure on adolescent loneliness and depression, the correlation of Facebook use with depression and loneliness, language development in early childhood, the construal of dating relationships in American and Bahamian college students, the development of androgyny in high school and college students, and ego-depletion and emotional self-regulation. The lab group meets once a cycle and, on average, students complete 3-4 hours of work per week outside of the lab group meetings.

Number of ERP Credits for Participation: 1 or 2 credits, depending on time commitment per week.

Number of Spots: 4-5 available.

Time Commitment: One 70 minute meeting per cycle plus 2 to 3 hours per week per credit.

Requirements: Must have completed Research Methods. Interview required. Please contact Dr. Livingston for further information.

Cognitive Research in Category Learning Lab

Dates: Every Semester.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ben Faber, PEngel 128 (SJU), ex. 3231

Summary of Lab Activities: Dr. Faber's lab group is working on designing and running a set of studies on how people learn and extend categories from only a few individual experiences.

Number of ERP Credits for Participation: 1 or 2.

Number of Spots: 8 available.

Time Commitment: Weekly meeting plus 2-3 hours per week per credit hour.

Cognitive Research in Moral Decision Making Lab

Dates: Every Semester.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ben Faber, PEngel 128 (SJU), ex. 3231

Summary of Lab Activities: Dr. Faber's lab group is working on designing, running, and analyzing a set of studies on what influences people decisions when faced with moral dilemmas.

Number of ERP Credits for Participation: 1 or 2.

Number of Spots: 8 available.

Time Commitment: Weekly meeting plus 2-3 hours per week per credit hour.

Multicultural Psychology Lab

Dates: Spring semester, 2012

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisa Platt, PEngel 125 (SJU), ex. 3131

Summary of Lab Activities: Currently, a reading/research group focused on learning more about gender and sexual orientation is being conducted. Also, Dr. Platt is working on a project about the experience of discrimination for LBGT individuals. In the Spring 2011 semester, the lab will be working on designing a long term study of transgendered individuals and their relationships. Other survey research in multicultural psychology is also being planned.

Number of ERP Credits for Participation: No ERP credits are offered at this time. Check back in the Spring 2011 semester for Summer 2011 or Fall 2011 opportunities.

Number of Spots: 2 spots available for Spring.

Time Commitment: Variable, to be decided individually.

Self-Theories Lab

Dates: Fall semester, 2011

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Pam Bacon, PEngel 126 (SJU), ex. 3919

Summary of Lab Activities: This research group will explore how people's beliefs about the malleability of intelligence, ability, and personality (termed self-theories) influence their well-being and academic choices.  We will develop a study examining the impact of professors' self-theories on the feedback they give their students and also the impact of professors' feedback on students' beliefs about their ability and intelligence.

Number of ERP Credits for Participation: 1 or 2 ERP Credits

Number of Spots: No spots available until Fall.

Time Commitment: Weekly afternoon research group meetings, plus 2-3 hours per week per credit hour.

Theory of Mind Lab 

Dates: Every Semester.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ben Faber, PEngel 128 (SJU), ex. 3231

Summary of Lab Activities: Cognitive research in the Theory of Mind. Dr. Faber's lab group is currently working on designing and running a set of studies on how people think about what someone else does or doesn't know.

Number of ERP Credits for Participation: 1 or 2 ERP Credits.

Number of Spots: 8 available.

Time Commitment: Weekly meetings, plus 2-3 hours per week per credit hour.