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James W. Pennebaker, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

PSY 357 UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS FOR FALL 2013


 Fall 2013 |Spring 2014Summer 2014 | Fall 2014

To view a course description and requirements click on the name of one of the studies listed below.

Descriptions will be added as they become available.


Clinical

Cognitive Systems

Developmental

Social and Personality

IDEP

Perception


Infant Sibling Study

Faculty:

A. Rebecca Neal-Beevers, Ph.D.

 

Contact:      

Jessie-Raye Bodenhamer cdcl@utexas.edu

 

Description: 

Wonderful opportunity to gain valuable research experience!

We are currently:

- collecting & processing data as part for a study examining joint attention abilities and dyadic synchrony in infants with a sibling with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared to infants with a sibling without ASD .

- collecting & processing data as part of an ongoing study to examine the link between emotion recognition, social experiences and social functioning in adolescents and college students with or without High-Functioning Autism.

- processing data for a study to examine how genes, temperament and caregiving behavior interact to predict both prosocial behavior (helping, sharing, empathy) and antisocial behavior (noncompliance and tantrums) in 2-year-old children. 

 

Qualifications:        

Experience working with children, as well as previous course work in PSY 301 and either PSY 304 or PSY333D, is preferred (but not required). 

Note: can either register for course credit (PSY 357) or volunteer. *Two semester commitment. (Summer and Fall or Fall and Spring)

 

Duties: Vary according to experience. Examples include data entry, telephone recruitment, video recording, behavioral coding of mother-infant interactions, scoring assessments, babysitting participants' siblings, etc.  


 

Home Design and Personality: What your stuff says about you

Faculty:

Sam Gosling, Ph.D.

Contact:

Lindsay Graham LindsayTGraham@gmail.com

Description:

Are you a super snooper? Interested in learning what people’s stuff says about the kind of person they are? In the Gosling Lab we are working on a variety of projects investigating the ways in which individuals design their homes, and what those design choices say about their personality and relationships.

Qualifications:

We are looking for dedicated, responsible and reliable students interested in learning more about personality psychology. We are also looking for our researchers to be meticulous, pay close attention to detail, as well as be competent typists. Students should also have flexible schedules to help with experimental sessions.

Duties:

Help run experimental sessions, data entry, audio transcription, conduct literature reviews, actively participate in bi-monthly lab meetings, and contribute thoughts and ideas to the research team.


Personality Research and Clinical Psychology

Faculty

Ray Hawkins, Ph.D., ABPP

Contact:

Ray Hawkins, Ph.D., ABPP, rhawkins@utexas.edu

Description:

I am looking for about six to eight students to assist me with compiling survey data from several ongoing survey research projects approved by the UT Institutional Review Board (IRB):

  • Temperament and the Self-Monitoring of Eating Behaviors and Sleeping, IRB 2006-05-0042
  • Personality and Handwriting, IRB 2007-12-0090
  • Personality and Dreaming, IRB 2007-12-0091
  • Development and preliminary construct validation of the Holtzman Inkblot Technique Brief Forms, IRB 2010-06-0051

Qualifications:

I need responsible, reliable, and eager students who are interested in learning more about the interplay of personality and clinical psychology. Prerequisites include: Psychology 301 with a grade of C or better, completion of 30 hours of coursework. Some knowledge of SPSS statistical software would be helpful, but not necessary. Duties: This data compilation will not be glamorous (i.e., creating SPSS variable lists and calculating interrater reliability) and learning to score inkblot responses; however, you would likely be working directly with me rather than with a graduate student. This means that we will take some time to discuss the projects you will be working on, as well as your interests in personality and clinical psychology. I try to include undergraduate student research assistants as junior co-authors on posters and papers, and write letters of recommendation for graduate school.


Language Project

Faculty sponsor:  

Zenzi M. Griffin, PhD 

Contact name(s):     

Zenzi M. Griffin

Contact Email:     

griffinz@psy.utexas.edu

Description:             

We study how people speak and use language. We have studies that address how people coordinate speech planning with articulation; what makes personal names so hard to learn and remember; and how exposure to multiple languages affects language processing. We use a variety of methods and tools, such as eye movement monitoring and interacting with a computer to understand how individuals say the right (or wrong) thing.

Qualifications:        

We are seeking freshmen, sophomores, or juniors interested in language research. 6 - 10  hours/week (according to your schedule) commitment for two semesters. Ability to program and/or fluency in Spanish a plus.

Duties:          
Duties will include running subjects, attending meetings, coding data, and creating and gathering experiment materials. Students will work closely with graduate students and other members of the lab on various aspects of the lab's research. With increased experience in the lab, there are opportunities for increasing responsibility, such as proposing and completing a study.


Personality in Working Dogs

Faculty sponsor:     

Sam Gosling, PhD

Contact name(s):     

Jamie Fratkin

Contact Email:         

fratkijl@utexas.edu

Description:  Are you interested in learning about how personality principles can be applied to dogs? Are you interested in the relationship between working dogs and the people that care for them? In the Gosling lab, we are working on several projects examining dog personality, the relationships dogs have with people, and how humans influence dogs. 

Qualifications:        

Responsible, self-motivated, and dedicated students, who have some interest in personality and research involving dogs. Basic computer and organizational skills.

Duties:                      

Help with coding dog behavior through videos of puppy and adult tests, data entry, literature searchers, participation in lab meetings, and contribution of research ideas. 


Twin Study of Healthy Development in Young Children

Faculty:

Dr. Paige Harden, Dr. Elliot Tucker-Drob

Contact:

Amanda Cheung akcheung@utexas.edu

Description:

Our lab is a combination of the Lifespan Developmental Lab and the Developmental Behavioral Genetics Lab. We are interested in individual differences, personality, genetics, cognitive functioning, and psychopathology in early childhood. Research assistants in our lab will work mainly on the Twin Project by aiding in recruiting participants and collecting data.

Qualifications:

We are seeking reliable and hardworking assistants who have attention to detail and organization. Research assistants must be comfortable interacting with participants and making phone calls. Spanish-speaking is a plus. Students can also elect to volunteer.

Duties:

Duties include recruiting and following up with participants, and entering data.


The Race Study:  Enhancing Exposure Therapy for Anxiety Disorders with Resconsolidation and Compout Extinction

Faculty:

Michael Telch, PhD

 

Contact:

Cindy Lancaster   cindy.lancaster@utexas.edu

 

Description:

Dr. Michael Telch is looking for students to assist with an exposure therapy study. Broadly, this project explores methods to enhance treatment for anxiety disorders. Specifically, we are testing whether two behavioral strategies (fear retrieval and compound extinction) enhance the efficacy of exposure therapy for specific phobia of snakes and spiders. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in clinical psychology research.

 

Qualifications:

Willingness to commit to 10 scheduled weekly hours.

 

Duties:

Responsibilities may include running participants, scheduling participants, video coding, and animal health checks. 


Ovulation Study

Faculty: David M. Buss, Ph.D.

 

Contact: Dan Conroy-Beam, dconroybeam@gmail.com

 

Description: We’re currently exploring changes in women’s behavior across the menstrual cycle. Previous research has found that women show increased attraction to masculine and symmetrical men at fertile points in the menstrual cycle (around ovulation) relative to other points in the cycle. We are presently examining the role of context and individual differences in the presence and magnitude of these effects. Students interested in human mating, evolutionary psychology, or ovulation and other hormonal effects on behavior should consider joining our research team!

 

Qualifications: We are looking for dedicated and conscientious students who are interested in psychology and research. Having taken the undergraduate course in evolutionary psychology is not necessary, but is considered a plus.

 

Duties:  Primary duties consist of scheduling and running participant sessions, occasional meetings with the graduate student researcher and other RAs. Possible secondary duties include some data entry and management.


Facebook with Friends

Faculty:

Michael Telch, PhD

Contact:

Annie K. Steele steele@mail.utexas.edu

Description:

This experiment investigates how undergraduates respond to social feedback delivered via Facebook messenger or on the Facebook wall.

Qualifications:

Willingness to commit 8 hours a week (or more) to the lab. Ability to bring a laptop to the lab during scheduled weekly hours.

Duties:

Differ depending on position – RAs may help with scheduling and data maintenance, with running participants, or data coding.



Social Rejection

Semester:                   Fall 2013

Psychology Area:    Social/Personality

Title of Project:       Social Rejection

Faculty sponsor:      Dr. Jennifer Beer

Contact name(s):      Gili Freedman

Contact Email:          gili.freedman@gmail.com

Description:  Why do people socially reject others? We are investigating how and why people commit acts of social rejection. We are looking for students to help us with existing experiments and to help us formulate new study ideas.

Qualifications: Psychology major, or taken at least 1 psychology course, and Junior or Senior standing. We are looking for research assistants who have large blocks of time available during weekday mornings and/or afternoons.

Duties: Playing different roles for lab experiments; helping to setup new studies; discussing research ideas; running experiments.


Influence of low-level light therapy on attention bias modification and mood change in dysphoric individuals

Faculty sponsor:     
Beevers & Gonzalez-Lima

Contact name(s):     
Seth Disner

Contact Email:         
disner@utexas.edu

Description:       
The goal of this study is to use low-level light therapy (LLLT) to augment the antidepressant effects of a computer-based treatment called attention bias modification (ABM). LLLT is a safe, non-invasive laser stimulation used across a wide range of areas. ABM is a computer program that’s designed to improve some of the cognitive symptoms that might cause or prolong a depressive episode. We will use active and placebo LLLT over target brain regions to see if stimulating these areas improves the efficacy of ABM. By combining LLLT and ABM, we hope to learn more about the neural processes that underlie cognition and depression.

Qualifications:        
Previous research experience, including time working in a research lab, is strongly recommended. Individuals able to make a two semester commitment (Fall & Spring) will be given priority.

Duties:                      
RAs will be expected to commit 7-10 hours per week, although some of that can be completed outside the lab. Responsibilities include screening and scheduling participants, acquiring informed consent, executing daily study procedures (including ABM but excluding LLLT, which is operated by a trained researcher), following-up with individual participants, and providing clinical referrals if necessary. In addition, RAs will be invited (but not required) to attend weekly meetings in the Mood Disorders Lab to learn more about ongoing research.


The Mood Disorders Lab

Semester:  Fall 2013

Psychology Area:  Clinical

Faculty sponsor:  Dr. Christopher Beevers

Contact name(s):  Robert Chapman

Contact Email:  mdl@psy.utexas.edu          

Description:  Our laboratory is recruiting research assistants for several research studies happening in the upcoming semester. They include an investigative depression intervention protocol using low level light therapy, a comparison study between in-lab and online experimental methods, a facial EMG study, and an eyetracking study.

Qualifications:  Assessed on an individual basis. Two semester commitment preferred.  

Duties:  Running subjects


Genes and New Experiences Study 

Semester:  Fall 2013

Psychology Area: Clinical        

Title of Project: Genes and New Experiences Study (GENES)         

Faculty sponsor: Drs. Kim Fromme and Kathryn Paige Harden

Contact name(s): Emily Wilhite    

Contact Email: ewilhite@utexas.edu

Description:

This study examines the impact of specific genes on patterns of heavy drinking in young adults, ages 18-28. In addition, this study seeks to identify distinct behavioral mechanisms (alcohol response and generalized deviance) through which genes influence heavy drinking.   

Qualifications:

Must be very detail oriented and organized, must be able to commit to at least 10 hours per week. A two semester commitment is preferred though not required.           

Duties:

This study is a longitudinal follow-up of data initially collected by Dr. Kim Fromme. Lab duties will include conducting evening bar lab sessions, which involve administering alcoholic beverages to participants and helping participants to complete study-related tasks and questionnaires.  Research assistants will also help with follow-up and recruitment of participants from the UTE study to complete a survey and submit DNA samples. This is an excellent opportunity to learn valuable skills that will be useful in preparation for graduate school!




Motivation, Decision-making, and Categorization

Faculty:

Todd Maddox, Ph.D.

Contact:

Seth Koslov Koslov@psy.utexas.edu

Description:

A major focus of our research is to examine the neurobiological underpinnings of category learning and attentional processes. We achieve this goal through a blending of empirical data collection, cognitive neuroscience, and mathematical modeling.

Qualifications:

Completion of PSY 418. Organization, professionalism, and punctuality are necessary.

Duties:

10+ hour/week commitment for one semester - Run participants in experiments and collect data - Participant recruitment/ scheduling


The effects of advertising on children’s gender attitudes        

Faculty sponsor:     
Rebecca Bigler, PhD

Contact name(s):     
Caitlin Clark

Contact Email:         
Caitlin.clark@utexas.edu

Description:             
The Gender and Racial Attitudes lab conducts research on children’s social development, with specific emphasis on the development of prejudice (specifically gender and racial prejudice). Currently, we are recruiting undergraduates to assist in a study about the media and how it influences young children’s gender attitudes, particularly their attitudes about gender in the context of relationships.

Qualifications:        
We are looking for responsible and motivated students, who are available to commit 9-10 hours a week in the lab. There is a 2 semester commitment is required. 

Duties:                      
Duties include assisting in data collection (either on campus or at an off-site location), data entry, and data some data coding. 


Personality, Content Sharing, & Motivation to Use Online Social Networks 

Faculty sponsor:     

Samuel Gosling

Contact name(s):     

Gabriella Harari

Contact Email:

gabriella.harari@gmail.com          

Description:

Are you fascinated by the role of technology in everyday social interaction? Ever wonder what a person’s Facebook page says about their personality? How about their smartphone? Our lab is looking for students to help with research studies related to personality and the use of digital media (e.g., smartphones and online social networks). Both 357 and volunteer positions available.

Qualifications:        

We are looking for responsible, motivated students with an intrinsic interest in the topics of personality and technology. Possible backgrounds include: psychology, computer science, communications, or sociology. Previous research experience is a plus, but is not required. Programming experience is also a plus, but not required.

Duties:                      

All research assistants will have to attend bi-monthly lab meetings. Research tasks differ per position. Example duties include: data entry, coding, conducting literature searches, and contributing thoughts and ideas to projects.


Adolescent Development Research

The Adolescent Development Research Group led by Dr. David Yeager (Department of Psychology) and the Motivation and Education Research Group (http://motivationlab.wordpress.com/), led by Dr. Erika Patall (Department of Educational Psychology), are looking for qualified undergraduates interested in getting involved in research as research assistants now or starting in Fall 2013. This semester we will be addressing questions like:

  • Which teacher practices influence students' motivation and engagement in the high school science classroom?

  • How does making choices relate to a person's sense of distinctiveness and affect motivation? 
  • What are the precursors and effects of boredom?

Additionally, we examine how adolescents’ mindset and sense of belonging would help them persist through academic transition. We will provide trainings for various types of qualitative coding, data processing, and literature review. This will be an excellent opportunity for students interested in developmental and educational research.

Dutes: Research assistants have the opportunity to become involved in all aspects of the research process, including design and planning, interacting with human participants and data collection, data management and analysis, literature reviews, and interpretation. Our studies reflect a range of methods including survey, experimental in-person lab studies, classroom observations, and meta-analysis.

We expect 10+ hours per week and 2 consecutive semesters of commitment.  You may either register for course credit (PSY357) or volunteer. Promising research assistants will have the opportunity to be paid for continuing their work with the research group.

Qualifications: We are seeking reliable and hardworking assistants who have attention to detail and organization. Some knowledge of Excel or SPSS is a plus.


For more information, interested individuals should contact:

 Scott Trimble at scottstephentrimble@gmail.com

Consuela Wright at consuela.wright@utexas.edu


Prosocial Behavior

Faculty:  
Marlone Henderson

Contact:
Erin Burgoon (eburgoon@utexas.edu)

Description:  
We are looking for responsible, mature, friendly. outgoing, and competent research assistants to help with several studies related to prosocial behavior. The project involves both lab and field studies (e.g., on campus, in neighborhoods) soliciting donors and volunteers for local organizations. Schedule will be flexible, but will likely include some nights and weekends. No previous research experience required. Completion of Psy 418 preferred, but not mandatory.


Evolutionary Psychology – Disgust and Human Mating

Faculty: David M. Buss, Ph.D.

Contact: Laith Al-Shawaf, laith.alshawaf@gmail.com

 

Description: We’re currently investigating the emotion of disgust. We’re focusing on questions of how and why people differ in their sensitivity to disgust, as well as the relationship between disgust and human mating. Earlier research has led to some fascinating discoveries in this area, including the finding that immunocompromised individuals experience greater disgust as a compensatory defense against pathogens during a time of heightened physiological vulnerability. We are now actively investigating the link between disgust and mating strategies, among other previously unexplored factors. We have some exciting new findings in this area. Consider joining our research team if this sounds interesting to you!

 

Qualifications: We are looking for dedicated and conscientious students who are interested in psychology and research. Having taken the undergraduate course in evolutionary psychology is not necessary, but is considered a plus.

 

Duties: Primary duties consist of running participant sessions, occasional meetings with the graduate student researcher and other RAs, and finding images online that we can use for our experiments. Possible secondary duties are some literature search work and some data coding (we’ll show you how first!). Hours are flexible.


Hormone Administration Effects on Social Behavior


Faculty sponsor:
     
Robert Josephs, Ph.D.

 Contact name(s) & email(s):     

Leslie Rice: lrice@utexas.edu
Ellie Jin: ellieshuojin@utexas.edu

Description:
The UT Social Endocrinology Lab is running studies this fall and spring looking at the effects of hormone drug administrations on participants' behaviors in different laboratory tasks (including prosocial/antisocial and unethical behaviors).  Administered hormones may speed up or slow down biological systems and levels including the central nervous system, heart rate, and the body’s stress reaction (e.g., adrenaline production) thus affecting a person’s behaviors in his or her environment.  Further understanding of these endocrine systems and hormones will have implications for clinical study and treatment of antisocial behaviors and psychopathy as well as other clinical disorders.

 Qualifications:
We are looking responsible, motivated students with an interest in exploring the hormone x environment interaction in people’s actions. PSY 301 completion required.  PSY 418 completion or other laboratory research is recommended.  Availability for a two semester (fall and spring) commitment is given priority.  Being comfortable interacting with experiment participants throughout the session is required.  Ability to actively participate in lab research meetings (frequency TBD) is preferred.  Qualified non-PSY 357 students are welcome to apply as volunteers.

 Duties:                   
Duties include participant scheduling, interaction in research sessions with participants, running experiment sessions in the experimenter role, data coding, literature searches and other contributions to the experiment’s theoretical model and hypotheses. Students will work closely with graduate students and other members (including RA peers) of the lab.  RA training for duties will be provided.


Neural Substrates of Motivated Social Cognition

 

Faculty sponsor:     
Jennifer Beer

 

Contact name(s):     
Taru Flagan

 

Contact Email:
taru@utexas.edu      

 

Description:
Are you interested in how our motivations influence the way we perceive ourselves and the people around us? We use a combination of behavioral and brain imaging techniques to investigate the psychological and neural processes that underlie motivation and social cognition. We are looking for students to help us run the study and analyze data. Both 357 and volunteer positions are available.

 

Qualifications:       
We are looking for responsible, motivated students with an intrinsic interest in the topics of psychology and neuroscience. Previous research experience is a plus, but is not required. Individuals able to make a two semester commitment will be given priority.

 

Duties:                     
Duties include recruiting and scheduling participants, running behavioral studies, assisting in neuroimaging (fMRI) studies, and literature searches. 

 


Virtual Reality: Perception and Action

 

Faculty sponsor:                
Mary Hayhoe

 

Contact name(s):               
Matthew Tong  

 

Contact Email:  
mhtong@gmail.com

 

Description:                         
In the VR Lab at UT, we’re interested in studying human perception and action using virtual reality as a tool. A goal of the Virtual Reality Lab is to create virtual environments as natural as possible while allowing experimental control. One of the motivations for using naturalistic conditions is that the results have immediate applicability to the real world, with consequent applications in a variety of domains including neuropsychological evaluation and human-computer interactions. At a more theoretical level, it is necessary for us to define exactly what the visual system actually has to do in normal functioning.  Our central idea is that the moment-to-moment coordination of the eye and body reveals the underlying neural control mechanisms.

 

Qualifications:                    
Students should be able to commit to working in the lab ten hours a week. Preference given if able to continue in Spring as well. Successful completion of Psy 301 preferred. Matlab proficiency would also be an advantage.

 

Duties:                                     
Students would assist in running subjects through experiments using virtual reality, eye tracking, and/or motion capture. Students would also be responsible for coding video records of experimental data.

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