College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychology

Research Interests


Affective & Cognitive Influences on Decisions (ACID) Lab
(Dr. Whitney & Dr. Hinson)

Affective & Cognitive Influences on Decisions (ACID) Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. John Hinson

Contact Information:
Email: hinson@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 350
Phone: (509) 335-1089
Lab web site:

http://www.wsu.edu/psychology/research/labs/ACID/home.html

Summary:

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.

Adult Psychopathology Lab
(Dr. David Marcus)

Adult Psychopathology Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. David Marcus

Contact Information:
Email: david.marcus@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 223C
Phone: (509) 335-7750


Summary:

The two main areas that the Adult Psychopathology lab is focused on are

   (a) Psychopathy and other externalizing disorders
   (b) Health anxiety/hypochondria

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.

Aging and Dementia Laboratory
(Dr. Schmitter-Edgecombe)

Aging and Dementia Laboratory

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe

Contact Information:
Email: schmitter-e@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 312
Phone: (509) 335-0170
Websites:

http://www.wsu.edu/psychology/research/labs/neurorehablab/index.html

Summary:

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
(Dr. Fournier)

Attention, Perception & Performance

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Lisa Fournier

Contact Information:
Email: lfournier@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 233D
Phone: (509) 335-4415
Fax: (509) 335-4050
Websites:

http://public.wsu.edu/~fournier/index.htm

Summary:

Selective attention is assumed to allow one to consciously perceive and act on certain information while ignoring other information. Working memory can allow us to translate, withhold, organize, and prioritize various motor actions. Because both selective attention and working memory have been shown to be a mental resource with a limited capacity, we can only process and respond to a limited amount of information at one time. 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
(Dr. Burns)

Attention-deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Research

Principal Investigator:


Dr. G. Leonard Burns

Contact Information:
Email: glburns@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 212
Phone: (509) 335-8229


Summary:

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
(Dr. Wright)

Behavioral Pharmacology Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Jay Wright

Contact Information:
Email: wrightjw@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 317
Phone: (509) 335-2329


Summary:

Our focus is on gaining an understanding of how habituation, sensitization and explicit memories are encoded and consolidated in the hippocampus and how dysfunctional memory disorders (dementias) can be better treated. We have synthesized several angiotensin analogs that show promise as notropics. We are also interested in developing new drug treatments for seizure disorders. Finally, we continue to investigate the underlying physiology of blood pressure and better treatment strategies to control hypertension.

Depression and Personality Lab
(Dr. Kwon)

Depression and Personality Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Paul Kwon

Contact Information:
Email: kwonp@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 233
Phone: (509) 335-4633


Summary:

Etiology of Depression, Integration of Cognitive and Psychodynamic Perspectives, Hope and Adjustment.

Infant Temperament Lab
(Dr. Gartstein)

Infant Temperament Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Masha Gartstein

Contact Information:
Email: gartstma@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 352D-F
Phone: (509) 335-4651
Websites:

labs/temperament/index.html

Summary:

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
(Dr. Parks)

Interpersonal Processes Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Craig Parks

Contact Information:
Email: parkscd@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 209
Phone: (509) 335-8946


Summary:

Individual Differences in Cooperative Choice
Cognitive and Strategic Approaches to Social Dilemma Resolution
Attributions for Poor Performance by Groups

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
(Dr. Brendan Walker)

Laboratory of Alcoholism and Addictions Neuroscience

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Brendan Walker

Contact Information:
Email: b_walker@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 210
Phone: (509) 335-8526
Websites:

http://public.wsu.edu/~b_walker/

Summary:

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
(Dr. Morgan)

Neural Mechanisms of Pain Modulation

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Mike Morgan

Contact Information:
Email: morgan@vancouver.wsu.edu
Office: VANC CL 208V (Vancouver Campus)
Phone: (360) 546-9726
Websites:

http://directory.vancouver.wsu.edu/people/michael-morgan

Summary:

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.

Occupational Health and safety Lab
(Dr. Probst)

Occupational Health and safety Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Tahira Probst

Contact Information:
Email: probst@vancouver.wsu.edu
Office: VCLS 05 - Vancouver (Regional Campus)
Phone: (360) 546-9746
Websites:

http://research.vancouver.wsu.edu/ohs-lab

Summary:

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.

I invite you to explore the OHS Lab website to learn more about our research in these areas and how you can get involved! Many of our studies have been several student-initiated research projects. So, if you have a great idea for some I/O-related research, but don't see it described on this site, chances are you can still pursue your interests.

Operant Conditioning Lab
(Dr. McSweeney)

Operant Conditioning Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Fran McSweeney

Contact Information:
Email: fkmcs@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 212
Phone: (509) 335-3508
Websites:

http://www.wsu.edu/psychology/research/labs/operantconditioning/index.html

Summary:

My current research examines systematic changes in the ability of reinforcers to support responding (changes in reinforcer value). Response rates are not constant within sessions when animals respond on operant or classical conditioning procedures. Instead, responding usually starts slowly, increases to a peak, and then decreases within the session. These systematic changes in response rate occur mainly because the value of the reinforcer changes with its repeated delivery across the session. The changes in reinforcer value are, in turn, produced by sensitization and habituation to the sensory properties of the reinforcer. I believe that sensitization-habituation may eventually provide the key to understanding the termination of many behaviors that are currently attributed to different mechanisms. For example, the termination of feeding is usually attributed to satiation; the termination of running to fatigue; the termination of videogame playing to boredom; and the termination of drug taking to achieving the desired high. Arguing, instead, that all of these behaviors stop in part because of habituation to the sensory properties of their reinforcers suggests a common theoretical explanation for the behaviors, as well as entirely new methods for controlling these behaviors in practice.

Personality and Affect Lab (Tri-Cities)
(Dr. Tragesser)

Personality and Affect Lab (Tri-Cities)

Principal Investigator:


Sarah L. Tragesser

Paul S. Strand

Contact Information:
Email: stragesser@tricity.wsu.edu
Office: Tri-Cities (Regional Campus)
Phone: (509) 372-7388


Summary:

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.

Political Interaction Lab
(Francis Benjamin & Dr. Parks)

Political Interaction Lab

Principal Investigator:


Francis Benjamin

Dr. Craig Parks

Contact Information:
Email: benjamin@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 106
Phone: (509) 335-7146


Summary:

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.

Projects currently in process include:

The Treatment of Others Project’s focus is on issues of political discrimination. It looks at how often political discrimination happens, why, what types are socially acceptable and how to move from political discrimination to collaboration.

The Legislative Service Project’s focus is to improve the current Washington State legislative process and better prepare the next generation of leaders for public service. The Legislative Service Project’s area of emphasis includes:

• Improve the recruitment and preparation of students serving legislative internships
• Increase civic engagement in the legislative process
• Provide perspectives of the legislative process from current and past legislators
• Provide insight into changes which have affected the legislative process
• Improve understanding of bipartisanship from the media, lobbyist, student intern, staff and legislator’s
perspective
• Improve legislative civility in Washington State
• Better prepare future student interns, staff and legislators

Results from the 2009 Legislative Service Project - Legislative Surveys
Legislator - Executive Summary
Legislator - Full Summary
Lobbyist - Executive Summary
Staff - Executive Summary
Intern - Executive Summary

Results from the 2012 Legislative Service Project
Legislator – Executive Summary
Legislator – Full summary
Lobbyist – Executive Summary
Staff – Executive Summary

The Partisan Cues Project’s focus is on what people do when they don’t have the partisan cues of party preference to guide their vote choice.
The Student Vote Project’s focus is on college student involvement in the political process. It looks at understanding student perception of government and elected officials, their voter decision making process and their engagement in politics and their community.
Psychopathology and Psychodynamics Lab
(Dr. Sharpless)

Psychopathology and Psychodynamics Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Brian Sharpless

Contact Information:
Email: jacob.zimmerman@email.wsu.edu (lab manager)
Office: Johnson Tower 352-A to 352-C
Phone: (509) 335-3587
Websites:

 

Summary:

Broadly speaking, the Psychopathology and Psychodynamics Lab focuses on adult psychopathology and treatment issues. We have a strong interest in anxiety and anxiety disorders and a current focus on expanding the range of psychopathology through studying some of the lesser-known (and more unusual) manifestations (e.g., isolated sleep paralysis, exploding head syndrome, death anxiety, taijin kyofusho).

Other current and ongoing lab interests include psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy, professional issues in clinical psychology (e.g., how to assess therapist competence), as well as the intersections between continental philosophy and clinical psychology.

 

 

Psychopharmacology Lab
(Dr. Craft)

Psychopharmacology Lab

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Rebecca Craft

Contact Information:
Email: craft@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 233D
Phone: (509) 335-5040
Websites:

http://public.wsu.edu/~craft/

Summary:

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.

Self and Social Cognition Laboratory
(Dr. Joyce Ehrlinger)

Self and Social Cognition Laboratory

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Joyce Ehrlinger

Contact Information:
Email: ehrlinger@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 211
Phone: (509) 335-9127
Websites: http://joyceehrlinger.com


Summary:

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 Research Laboratory
(Dr. Schmitter-Edgecombe)

Traumatic Brain Injury Research Laboratory

Principal Investigator:


Dr. Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe

Contact Information:
Email: schmitter-e@wsu.edu
Office: Johnson Tower 312
Phone: (509) 335-0170
Websites:

http://www.wsu.edu/psychology/research/labs/neurorehablab/index.html

Summary:

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.

Department of Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-4820, 509-335-2631, Contact Us