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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology

Research Labs

Principle InvestigatorLabSummary

Adolescent Health & Wellness Lab

Jessica Fales
The Adolescent Health & Wellness Lab conducts high quality research in the areas of pediatric pain, social development, and positive psychology. Our current research efforts are primarily focused on the identification of social risk and protective factors associated with the chronic pain experience in adolescence. The ultimate goal of our research is to prevent the development of chronic pain problems in otherwise healthy youth and to help develop more effective treatments for adolescents with pain and their families.

Adult Psychopathology Lab

David Marcus
Much of our research on psychopathy has used Meehl’s taxometric method to examine whether psychopathy and related disorders (e.g., antisocial personality disorder, conduct disorder) exist along a continuum or are discrete, qualitatively distinct conditions. In other words, this research is interested in the question of whether there are “psychopaths” who are uniquely different from others or whether psychopathy is a dimensional construct. The lab is currently examining the behavioral correlates of psychopathic personality traits, such as the association between psychopathy and risky sexual behavior. Additionally, our research on health anxiety has focused on how dysfunctional beliefs and a ruminative cognitive style contribute to health anxiety and hypochondriasis.

Affective and Cognitive Influences of Decisions (ACID) Lab

John Hinson and Paul Whitney
The primary objective of our research is to better understand how cold cognition (rational or deliberative processes) and hot cognition (affective or emotional processes) contribute to decision making. People often make decisions under suboptimal conditions, including conditions of distraction, information overload, or cognitive fatigue, leading to less than ideal decision outcomes. In laboratory studies we use cognitive or affective challenges, such as memory loads and divided attention tasks, to examine how these challenges constrain good decision making. These experimental manipulations are intended to capture important elements of real world challenges to decision making and allow us to better explain problems in decision making underlying difficulties in self-regulation.

Aging and Dementia Neuropsychology Lab

Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe
The goal of this research program is to develop cognitive interventions that will help older individuals with progressive dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease) delay functional disability and increase their quality-of-life. Participants in many of our studies are healthy older adults and early-stage dementia patients who complete standardized neuropsychological tests and cognitive experimental tasks that assess different cognitive skills (e.g., memory, problem-solving). We are currently investigating the relationship between memory deficits and everyday functional disabilities, and experimenting with a memory notebook and smart environment technologies to help persons with dementia compensate in their daily lives for declining memory.

Attention, Perception & Performance Lab

Lisa R. Fournier
Our laboratory is currently investigating how selective attention operates and how attention modulates visual perception and motor performance as well as how prioritization of actions and demands on working memory affect perception and our ability to quickly and accurately execute motor actions.

Attention-deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Research

G. Leonard Burns
I am currently using latent variable modeling procedures (e.g., confirmatory factor analysis, structural regression analysis, latent growth analysis, item response theory) to study ADHD, Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, and ODD within and across countries. Current projects focuses on the usefulness of the sluggish cognitive tempo symptoms to improve understanding of ADHD (e.g., longitudinal research with Spanish colleagues on the development of SCT and ADHD-IN symptom dimensions in Spanish children). Students who work with me have the opportunity to examine ethnic and cultural differences in child behavior problems as well as learn advanced measurement and analytic procedures.

Behavioral Pharmacology Lab

Raymond M. Quock
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO₂) therapy has been approved by the FDA for a limited set of clinical indications, although there are clinical reports that HBO₂ therapy appears to be effective in a broader range of conditions, including several examples of chronic pain. We have demonstrated that HBO₂ therapy causes relief of acute pain and gathered convincing evidence that HBO₂ therapy activates central pathways that can produce long-lasting relief of neuropathic pain. Nitrous oxide (N₂O, laughing gas) is a gas that is notable for its anesthetic, analgesic, anxiolytic and euphoric properties. We identified and localized in the rat brain the opioid receptor subtypes that mediate nitrous oxide analgesia, provided the first chemical evidence for N₂O-induced neuronal release of endogenous opioid peptides in rats and have implicated a regulatory role for NO in the neuronal release of endogenous opioid peptides. We have also reported that N₂O produces significant relief of anxiety in different animal models of experimental anxiety. This anxiolytic effect is independent of the analgesic effect of N₂O and appears to be mediated by benzodiazepine sites on the GABA receptor and also involve NO.

Child Externalizing Behaviors Lab

Tammy Barry
The Child Externalizing Behaviors Lab conducts research on biologically-based and contextual correlates of child externalizing behaviors, including ADHD, aggression, and disruptive behaviors associated with autism. Factors examined in our research include neuropsychological functioning/endophenotypes, child temperament, parental psychopathology/stress, parenting practices, SES/neighborhood characteristics, and individual difference factors (e.g., narcissism and psychopathy), among other variables. Our research also focuses on the measurement and latent structure of externalizing behavior disorders, such as ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder.

Chronic Illness Lab

Karen Schmaling
Our research focuses in two types of chronic illness, as well as their interactions: (1) the psychology of chronic illness (e.g., chronic fatigue, chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, asthma); and (2) descriptive and intervention research in chronic mental disorders (e.g., depressive disorders). In addition, we have a set of studies related to diversity science in higher education, i.e., differences in faculty behavior by gender and ethnicity; faculty perceptions of diversity; and the effects of policies to diversify the faculty.

Coalition for Healthy and Equitable Workplaces

Tahira M. Probst
While I am fascinated by many different areas of industrial/organizational psychology, my research over the past 15 years has largely focused on issues related to employee health, well-being and safety. In particular, I am interested in the topics of economic stress and job insecurity; accident under-reporting; and organizational safety climate and safety leadership behaviors. In addition, many of my research studies attempt to delineate the extent to which our findings generalize to other cultural contexts and to identify sociocultural variables that may explain any observed differences.

Cognition and Memory Lab

Suzanna Penningroth
Currently, my research interests cover several areas. My main research focus is on prospective memory, or remembering to perform intentions, and so several ongoing projects are on this topic. These projects include studies that look at motivation (e.g., goals) and studies that look at cognitive processing before and after fulfilling an intention. Past studies have included both younger and older adults. I plan to also continue research on improving memory—both for prospective memory tasks and for remembering information. Finally, I am collaborating with Dr. Walt Scott in examining cognitive variables and social cognitive variables (e.g., schemas) in personality functioning.

Emotion and Social Development Lab

Paul Strand
Our research is concerned with the emotional and social skills development of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We are currently investigating what information is useful to counselors and educators who seek to improve outcomes for children at-risk for school failure and for juvenile justice system involvement. Also of interest to us, particularly in our work with preschoolers, is how emotion knowledge and social values develop and impact school adjustment.

Health and Cognition Lab

Carrie Cuttler
My lab focuses on examining links between health-related behaviors, stress, and cognitive functioning. I am currently focused on examining the effects of chronic cannabis use and different forms of exercise on executive functioning, creativity, retrospective memory, and prospective memory (i.e., the ability to remember to execute tasks at the appropriate later moment). More specifically, my current research projects focus on examining: i) individual differences in the influence of cannabis on cognitive functioning, ii) the links between stress and cannabis use, iii) the perceived efficacy of different strains of cannabis on the treatment of a broad range of medical symptoms and conditions, and iv) the effects of different forms of exercise on memory, executive functioning, and creativity

Infant Temperament Lab

Masha A. Gartstein
The WSU Temperament Laboratory has been functioning since 2002, conducting projects that are focused on the evaluation of temperament development in early childhood. Specifically, growth in temperament characteristics across infancy, relationships with parent-child interactions factors, and attachment, are currently being examined. Cross-cultural differences in the development of temperament are also being investigated, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Murcia in Spain and the State Research Institute of Physiology, in Novosibirsk, Russia. Longitudinal evaluations, following children into the preschool period are currently being planned. For example, infant temperament predictors of early behavior problems and psychopathology will be examined.

Interpersonal Processes Lab

Craig D. Parks
My primary interest is in understanding the internal, individual-level factors that influence a person’s frequency of cooperative responses in an interdependent group setting. I usually study mixed-motive situations, but have also looked at behavior within decision-making groups. I have focused most heavily on two factors: (1) stable individual difference characteristics and (2) actions of others as a stimulus for own choice. However, I have recently begun investigating more cognitively-based factors, in particular retrospection, mood, misperception of others’ actions, and attributions for others’ noncooperative behavior.

Laboratory of Alcoholism and Addictions Neuroscience

Brendan M. Walker
The primary interest of the LAAN is to understand the neurobehavioral impact of acute and chronic drugs of abuse such as alcohol, psychostimulants and heroin. Behavioral, neurochemical and molecular approaches will be utilized to achieve this goal. As information is obtained about the acute and chronic substrates of addiction and dependence, that information can be used for the development of pharmacotherapeutics to treat addictive disorders.

Neural Mechanisms of Pain Modulation

Michael Morgan
The analgesic effects of morphine and other opioids decrease with repeated administration. Our lab has shown that a brain structure known as the periaqueductal gray plays an important role in morphine analgesia and tolerance. Our current objective is to understand the neural mechanism within the periaqueductal gray that causes this change in morphine potency. These studies use in vitro electrophysiology and behavioral pharmacology to link molecular changes in cell signaling to behavior.

Pedagogical Research Lab

Donelle “Dee” C. Posey
In my research, I focus on the effectiveness of instructional strategies and related student factors. My current interests include evaluating instructional strategies in Elementary Statistics in Psychology (Psych 311) as well as statistics anxiety. In my research and practice, I have two goals: 1) ease the anxiety that many students have coming into a statistics course, and 2) convey statistical concepts in a way that are relevant and interesting, and enduring.

Personality and Affect Lab

Sarah L. Tragesser
In the Personality and Affect Lab, we focus on the personality and affective processes that contribute to a variety of behaviors including interpersonal behaviors and relationships, substance use and abuse, and cognitive processing of emotional stimuli. Our research methods include the use of questionnaires, neurocognitive (EEG, ERP) measures, and palm pilots, among others.

Personality, Psychopathology, and Assessment Lab

Walt Scott
Broadly, I am in interested in basic personality structures and processes (e.g., temperament, self-beliefs/schemata, goals, etc.), how to measure them, and how to understand their contributions to personality functioning and to clinical depression.

Political Interaction Lab

Francis Benjamin
and G. Leonard Burns
The Political Interaction Lab focuses on the political engagement of individuals. Of particular interest is the motivation and interaction of individuals and their effect on the political process.

Psychopharmacology Lab

Rebecca M. Craft
Psychoactive drugs are widely used, both therapeutically and recreationally, throughout the world. Much of the basic pharmacology of these drugs has been elucidated over the past few decades; however, until recently nearly all drug research – indeed, nearly all biomedical research – was conducted only in male subjects (e.g., male mice, male rats, male monkeys, male humans). Increasing evidence indicates that “reproductive hormones” such as estrogens have multiple effects on nervous system function that are not directly tied to reproductive processes. Thus, “male” and “female” biology per se can predispose an organism to experience drugs differently. Using animal models, the broad research goals of the Craft laboratory are to determine how gonadal steroid hormones such as testosterone and estradiol modulate pain, mood, and the therapeutic and side-effects of psychoactive drugs such as opioids and cannabinoids. The clinical applications of this work are (1) the development of sex-specific guidelines for use of psychotherapeutic and analgesic medications; and (2) improved prevention and treatment of gonadal steroid hormone-mediated pain and depression.

Resilience Lab

Paul Kwon
We are interested in how people cope with stress in their lives, particularly the question of why some people are able to adapt to difficult situations more easily than others. I am interested in examining how resilience variables, such as hope, can influence how individuals from stigmatized groups (such as sexual minorities and ethnic minorities) cope with environmental stressors.
Joyce Ehrlinger for Everything FSU.

Social Cognition Lab

Joyce Ehrlinger
Accurate self-insight is critical for learning and goal pursuit. However, the confidence people hold all too rarely matches the confidence they merit. As a result, those with great confidence pass up opportunities to gain actual knowledge and skill. Others are held back by a failure to recognize their strengths.

My research applies a dual-faceted approach to shed new light on the processes that underlie accuracy and error in self-judgment and, in particular, overconfidence. Taking a bottom-up perspective, I have identified important factors that keep people from learning about mistakes and, consequently, their abilities. I also examine the top-down consequences of beliefs about ability and objectivity on self-judgment. Finally, my work examines the consequences of over- and underconfidence for goal commitment, persistence, and achievement.

Traumatic Brain Injury Neuropsychology Research Lab

Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe
Difficulties with memory, attention and complex problem-solving are common cognitive problems that can occur after someone experiences a traumatic brain injury (TBI). By bridging basic science research with rehabilitation techniques, our work is designed to help persons with TBI overcome cognitive difficulties. Participants in our studies complete standardized neuropsychological tests and cognitive experimental tasks that assess many different types of cognitive abilities. In conjunction with St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, we are currently investigating the recovery process of several important cognitive abilities (e.g., time perception, prospective memory, focused and divided attention, and metamemorial abilities) following a TBI.

Youth Personality Behavior Lab

Chris Barry
Our research team, conducts studies dealing broadly with risk and protective factors related to child and adolescent behavioral problems. More specifically, we have focused on self-perception (e.g., narcissism, self-esteem) and callous-unemotional traits as they relate to various aspects of youth adjustment, particularly aggression and delinquency. Additional projects involve evidence-based assessment of child/adolescent conduct problems and the role of self-perception on social media behavior. The latter has included how individuals perceive narcissistic status updates from others and the association between narcissism and self-photography (i.e., “selfie”) posts on social media.
Washington State University