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Jacqueline Woolley, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

PSY 357 UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS FOR SPRING 2014

Spring 2014 | Summer 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.


Behavioral Neuroscience

Clinical

Cognitive Systems

Developmental

IDEP

Social and Personality

Perception


PTSD Treatment Studies

Faculty:
Michael Telch

Contact:
Adam Cobb adamrcobb@yahoo.com
Cindy Lancaster cindy.lancaster@utexas.edu

Description:
Professor Michael Telch is seeking highly motivated students to assist with two clinical treatment studies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One project, near completion, is investigating whether a memory enhancing medication boosts the efficacy of exposure therapy. A second project, currently underway, tests two behavioral strategies for enhancing exposure therapy. This opportunity will especially benefit those interested in pursuing graduate training in clinical psychology.


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.


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. 


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!


Smoking Cessation Studies

 

Faculty sponsor:      Jasper Smits

 

Contact name(s):      Brooke Kauffman & Scarlett Baird

 

Contact Email:          bkauffman@utexas.edu

                               Scarlett.baird@utexas.edu

  

Description:             

Professor Jasper Smits is seeking highly motivated students to assist with two clinical treatment studies for smoking cessation. One project is investigating whether an integrated PTSD and Smoking Treatment leads to better smoking abstinence compared to smoking treatment alone. A second study examines the effects of d-cycloserine (an antibiotic that has been shown to be effective in fear extinction) in augmenting treatment for smokers with a history of panic attacks. This opportunity will especially benefit those interested in pursuing graduate training in clinical psychology.

 

Qualifications:        

3.5 GPA


OMEGA, White Glove, First Responders

 

Faculty sponsor: Dr. Robert Josephs

 

Contact name(s): Ellie Shuo Jin and Leslie Rice

 

Contact Email: ellieshuojin@utexas.edu and lrice@utexas.edu

 

Description: The UT Social Endocrinology Lab is running studies this spring and summer looking at the effects of hormone drug administrations on participants’ behaviors in different laboratory tasks.  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., cortisol 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 such as depression.

 

Qualifications: We are looking for responsible, motivated students who are interested in examining the onset and maintenance of various clinical disorders from the perspective of hormones and behavior. PSY 301 completion required.  PSY 418 completion or other laboratory research is recommended.  Availability for a two semester (spring and summer) commitment is given priority.  Being comfortable interacting with experiment participants throughout the session is required.  Ability to actively participate in lab research meetings (once a week) 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.


Adult Family Study

 

Faculty sponsor:      Karen Fingerman

 

Contact name(s):      Eden Davis

 

Contact Email:          adultfamily@austin.utexas.edu

 

Description:

We are looking for 4 or 5 students to help us study 3 topics this semester:

a) Grandparent, parent, child, and sibling relationships among Mexican American families

b) Older adults’ daily social interactions

c) Online dating profiles among younger and older adults.

 

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 to maximize learning experience.

 

Duties:

Students will engage in many activities to prepare for graduate school and future employment. Duties may include: literature searches, survey design, interviewing, preparation of data files, and basic analyses. Students also will learn to read social scientific studies. We offer support for students to prepare their own poster presentation for the undergraduate research fair.


Canine Cognition and Behavior

 

Faculty sponsor:      Dr. Michael Domjan

 

Contact name(s):      Elizabeth Bryant

 

Contact Email:          erbryant@utexas.edu

 

 

Description:             
The Canine Behavior Lab examines the cognitive abilities and behavior of domestic dogs through non-invasive behavioral tests conducted on dogs recruited from the general public.  Our current project involves assessing the ability of dogs to understand and use mirrors. 

 

 

Qualifications:        
We are looking for students who are self-motivated and have strong organizational skills.  They should be comfortable interacting with dogs and be professional in their interactions with human handlers.  Students must be available to work some evenings and weekends at the on-campus lab.  Basic computer skills are required; an interest in cognition and/or canine behavior is recommended.

 

 

Duties:                      
Lab duties consist of conducting phone interviews, scheduling participants, coding video data, performing data entry and literature searches, as well as assisting in conducting testing sessions.  Research assistants are expected to participate in lab meetings and are welcome to contribute research ideas.  Students should understand that while they will be assisting in conducting testing sessions, many duties will not be hands-on with dogs; the bulk of the work will be centered around data analysis.


Infant Sibling Study

 

Faculty sponsor: A. Rebecca Neal-Beevers, Ph.D.

 

Contact name(s): Mishon Lecheler           

 

Contact Email: 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. (Spring and Summer or Spring and Fall)

 

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.  


The Twins and Development Study in Children and Adolescents

Faculty sponsor:      Elliot Tucker-Drob and Paige Harden

  

Contact name(s):      Daniel Briley

  

Contact Email:          daniel.briley@utexas.edu

  

Description:             
The Twin Project just started an exciting new study of hormones and development! We are examining the interplay between genes, hormones, and cognitive functioning in a sample of child and adolescent twins in grades 3 to 8.  We are seeking reliable and hardworking assistants who are motivated and have the ability to learn quickly. Research assistants should be comfortable interacting with participants and their parents (Spanish-speaking is a plus). You can join as a volunteer, or receive course credit by enrolling in PSY 357.

  

Qualifications:        
We are looking for RAs that are motivated, comfortable working closely with children, and able to keep the children on track during our in-lab protocol. As all of the participants are in school during the week, must be willing to work at least some weekend hours running participants.

 

Duties:                      
Our protocol includes in-person cognitive testing and hormonal hair sample collection. Other responsibilities will include scheduling and contacting participants. A major advantage of this experience is learning how to administer and score many tests of cognition and decision making including the Wechsler Scales of Intelligence, the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement, and a number of executive functioning measures.  This is great experience for anyone who is interested in graduate school in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, medicine, and social work, and anyone else who would like experience working with children and adolescents.


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


Attention Training

Faculty sponsor:     
W.T. Maddox

Contact name(s):     
Seth Koslov, Todd Maddox, Marissa Gorlick

  

Contact Email:         
Seth.Maddoxlab@gmail.com

  

Description:             
The Maddox Lab is looking at long-term effects of attention training on cognition and behavior.   We are looking for a self-motivated research assistant needed to help with a cutting edge collaborative project examining a novel way to reduce depressive symptoms using cognitive training.

 

Qualifications: 
Organization, professionalism, and punctuality are necessary.

Applicants should be enthusiastic about learning how to code and implement Java Script based for online experiments, scheduling participants, administering neurospychological tests, and entering data.  Some programming experience is preferred for this position, but not necessary for the right candidate.

Duties:             
You will be asked to help program and carry out an exciting new project.  Your duties may range from running/interacting with participants to collecting data, to web design and programming, depending on experience and ability.


Cognition, Culture, and Development Lab

Faculty: Cristine Legare, Ph.D.

Contact: Katie Cullum katherinecullum@utexas.edu

Description:

We study cognitive development from an interdisciplinary perspective by using a variety of methods to examine how children learn across cultures. We conduct research on a number of foundational research topics in cognitive developmental psychology including causal reasoning, social learning, the development of scientific and supernatural beliefs, and science education. Research assistants in our lab work with young children, administering interviews and cognitive tasks that help us understand how children solve problems and learn new information. RAs are also involved in the design of new studies and have opportunities throughout the year to learn more about the fields of developmental and cognitive psychology.

For more information, please visit our website: http://www.ccdlab.net.

Qualifications:

We are seeking reliable students who are hard-working and enthusiastic about psychology and research. Students are required to commit to two semesters in our lab. Students must commit 10 hours per week each semester, including regular weekends, according to your schedule. If you would like to work in the summer, you must be able to commit to the entire summer. The two semesters you work in lab do not need to be consecutive, but consecutive semesters are preferred. We collect data at area preschools, the Austin Children’s Museum, and on campus. Previous experience with young children is preferred.

Duties:

In addition to collecting data by interacting with children in one-on-one experiments, responsibilities include interacting with parents, transcribing and coding data, reviewing research literature, and recruiting participants. Advanced research assistants may be involved in designing new studies. At the end of each semester, RAs are expected to write a short paper on the research in which you were involved. 


The Perpetration of 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.

 


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.


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

Faculty:

Michael Telch, PhD

 

Contact:

Cindy Lancaster   cindy.lancaster@utexas.edu


A Twin Study of Healthy Development in Children and Adolescents

 

 

Faculty sponsor:     
Kathryn Paige Harden and Elliot Tucker-Drob

 

 

Contact name(s):     
Natalie Kretsch

 

 

Contact Email:         
natalie.kretsch@gmail.com

 

 

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 childhood and adolescence. 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.

 

 

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. 


Behavioral correlates of bias

 

Faculty sponsor:
Judith Langlois, PhD

Contact name(s):
Erin Anderson

Contact Email:
langloislab@utexas.edu

 

Description:
The Langlois Lab is investigating behavioral correlates of biases and stereotypes. Research assistants may be able to help collect data for up to three new studies. We are looking for one or two motivated and personable research assistants ready to jump in with our fast-paced study schedule and gain hands-on research experience!

 

Qualifications:

Applicants with “people skills” and an ability to learn quickly are strongly preferred.

A two-semester commitment is required, due to the time it takes to train new research assistants. (Note: second semester does not need to be summer)

PSY 301 and PSY 418 coursework required. An interest in children’s development & developmental coursework preferred.

 

Duties:

Research assistants will interact with and collect data from college-age participants. Other responsibilities include preparing data for analysis, reading and discussing relevant research literature, learning to use image manipulation software, and other small lab tasks.

Research assistants will spend 9 to 10 hours a week in the lab. You will be able to decide your schedule, but must be able commit between 1.5 to 3 hours at a time, during business hours (9 – 5, weekdays).


Identity Fusion

Faculty sponsor:     
William Swann

Contact name(s):     
Leah Fredman

 

Contact Email:         
leahafredman@utexas.edu

Description:             
The Swann lab will be conducting a variety of studies investigating the effect of fusion on a number of psychological and behavioral outcomes. Recent research has demonstrated that fusion with a group, as compared to identification with it, is a better predictor of taking extreme measures on behalf of one’s group. In our lab we are interested in investigating what the boundaries of such sacrificial behaviors are, and what mediates them.

 

Qualifications:        
Students must be interested in investigating group affiliation processes. They must be enthusiastic and responsible, and have completed PSY 301. Students must also be able to interact with subjects. Although prior research experience is not necessary, priority will be given to students who have had other research experience, or have completed PSY 418. Priority will also be given to students available for two semesters. Students will additionally be highly encouraged to attend weekly lab meetings, which will include other graduate students, as well as Dr. Swann. Qualified volunteers (non 357 students) are encouraged to apply as well.

Duties:                      
Depending on the nature of the studies run this semester, duties may include literature reviews, running studies, assistance with the creation of online studies, and data cleaning and coding. Training will be provided.

 

 


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.

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