Research & Outreach - Psychology

All students in the psychology program complete a 12-credit research core that culminates in an original research project. Many students also collaborate with faculty in one of the eight full-time research laboratories.


Psychology Laboratory

The Psychology program maintains an eleven-room laboratory in Turnbull Hall for faculty and student teaching and research. The lab is equipped with  computers and research equipment including a 64-channel ERP system for the collection of brain waves. The lab is staffed by approximately fifteen to twenty psychology students each semester who are conducting independent research or work study. Students interested in working in the lab may contact any of the lab directors listed below.


Faculty Research

Clinical: Dr. Eric W. Corty

  • The role of classical conditioning in relapse to drug abuse.
  • Dual diagnosis (patients with substance abuse and other mental illness).
  • The reliability, validity, and development of psychological measures.

Cognitive: Dr. Dawn G. Blasko

  • Psycholinguistics: How do people use and understand language? I'm especially interested in nonliteral language such as metaphor, irony, and idioms.
  • Working Memory capacity: Do people with greater working memory capacity process language differently?
  • Problem solving and Creativity: How is creativity and problem solving related?
  • Applied Cognition: Training spatial skills on the Web with Kath Holliday-Darr in Engineering.

Developmental: Dr. Charisse Nixon

  • Children's social cognition.
  • Young children's theory of mind.
  • Family experiences and children's socioemotional understanding.
  • Relational aggression.
  • CASS project

Perception: Dr. Clare Porac

  • Research on differences between left and right handed people
  • Research on hand switching preference
  • Cross-cultural comparisons of hand preference
  • Research on visual illusion

Cognitive Neuroscience: Dr. Victoria A. Kazmerski

  • The examination of memory, language, and attention in both normal functioning and clinical populations using the recording of event-related brain potentials (ERPs)

Social: Dr. Carol L. Wilson


Outreach and Special Projects

  • Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research and Evaluation (CORE): CORE provides research, evaluation and grant writing services for both public and private organizations.
  • COR: CourseWare for Observational Research: COR is an interactive computer program that uses digital video and interactive coding forms to help illustrate basic concepts of observational research.
  • High Aspirations: High Aspirations is a Penn State outreach program that links K-12 and university professors and researchers for courses and activities to promote achievement for boys and girls.
  • VIZ: Visualization Assessment and Training Website: VIZ is an interdisciplinary project designed to create web-based modules for the assessment and training of spatial skills.