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Research Opportunities

The Department of Psychology is home to several laboratories conducting research in various areas of psychological science. The activities that take place in these labs not only expand our understanding of behavior and mental processes, they provide unique opportunities for students to apply what they’ve learned under the close supervision of faculty research mentors.

Students who work on research teams often

  • Pursue research questions that captivate their intellect, curiosity, and creativity
  • Develop close friendships with their research colleagues
  • Become more engaged students
  • Get to know their professors better
  • Have a richer university experience that includes attending psychology conferences
  • Increase their chances of getting into graduate school

Some of Psychology’s active research labs include the SPARK Lab, the Cognitive Processes Research Lab, and the Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory.



Dr. Anne Duran’s Social Psychology Academics, Research, and Knowledge (SPARK) Lab is a forward thinking laboratory that aspires to promote the study of social psychology through encouraging and fostering student involvement in research, as well as student-driven research and collaborative research between students and faculty. 

 One of the most prominent goals of the SPARK lab is to demonstrate to students the gratification of conducting research. Those involved in the lab are committed to the practice of sound theory and methodology; we pride ourselves on professionalism and the commitment to contributing to the theoretical knowledge base of social psychology.

For more information about the SPARK Lab, please contact Dr. Anne Duran,

Cognitive Processes Research Lab

Cognitive processes labIn the Cognitive Processes Research Lab (CPRL), we are interested in questions about brain processes such as memory, perception, attention, and language. By measuring response time and accuracy while people perform different cognitive tasks, we can begin to understand the amazingly complicated work the brain is doing to help us perform our daily tasks seemingly effortlessly. Current projects include human factors research on voice characteristics of computerized command programs such as GPS systems, research on the factors that affect students' abilities to understand their own knowledge, and research on how voice characteristics affect reading and memory for spoken words.

For more information about the Cognitive Processes Lab, please contact Dr. Marianne Abramson,

Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory

Neurobehavioral lab

One of the primary focuses of the Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory (BNL) is to provide undergraduate students with a research experience that will prepare them for graduate study via the use of animal models.  Currently, the lab investigates the effects of high fat diets on learning and memory in rats kept in long-term enriched environments.  Additionally, the BNL studies the indoleamine neurohormone, melatonin and its in vivo behavioral effects in animal models including Parkinsonism, Depression and Anxiety. Of special interest is the behavioral effect of melatonin on the D2 dopaminergic receptor system during extrapyramidal motor disturbances and the circadian effects of D2 dopaminergic agonists and antagonists.   

For more information about the Neurobehavioral Lab, please contact Dr. Isabel Sumaya,

Students at the annual convention of the Western Psychological Association in Reno, NV, April 2013