College of Natural Sciences Colorado State University Department of Psychology


Department Research Labs and Equipment

Applied Memory Lab

My lab group conducts research on various topics in the area of applied learning and memory. Questions center on basic learning and memory principles, but with an eye toward phenomena that may be applied in educational settings to enhance teaching and student learning. As an example, my students and I have published a number of papers in recent years on the so-called testing effect, the finding that memory tests may enhance subsequent memory for tested information. This benefit of testing, consistently observed in the well-controlled conditions of the lab, also extends to educational settings. Tests not only assess what students have learned, but also enhance learning for tested material. With this in mind, several applied projects in my lab have examined the effectiveness of practice quizzes, instructor questioning, and study-strategy instruction on student performance. The take-home message? Don't just read and re-read. Don't just study and re-study. Instead, take some of that time you would've devoted to re-reading or re-studying, and use it to engage in practice testing. Or get together with classmates and test each other. Research in well-controlled laboratory conditions as well as real-world classroom environments shows that you can expect this practice testing to enhance your learning of the information and boost later test performance.

Former Doctoral Students:

Julie Bugg, Assistant Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

Shana Carpenter, Associate Professor, Iowa State University

Megan Littrell-Baez, Research Associate, University of Colorado, Boulder

Paul Merritt, Assistant Teaching Professor, Georgetown University

Christopher Rowland, Assistant Professor, Eckerd College

Amanda Sensenig, Assistant Professor, Goshen College

Nancy Zook, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), University of the West of England (UK)

Behavioral Science 252

Lab Faculty Member: Edward L. DeLosh

Canetto Gender and Culture Research Team

Dr. Canetto studies cultural norms, beliefs and narratives of femininity and masculinity in four domains. A stream of her research examines cultural norms, stereotypes and narratives of womenís and menís interest, persistence and success in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM). A second stream of her research explores cultural scripts of gender and suicidal behaviors--including suicidal thoughts, nonfatal suicidal behavior, suicide, and assisted suicide--across intersectionalities of age, sexual orientation, social class, and disability. Her third research area is on stereotypes of gender, aging and sexual orientation. Finally, she studies cultural and gender issues in human rights.

Clark Building

Lab Faculty Member: Silvia Sara Canetto

Cleary Memory Lab

This laboratory engages in the scientific study of human memory. There are many ways to study human memory. In our laboratory, we conduct experiments aimed at investigating various human memory processes. In a typical experimental session, a research participant sits down at a computer and is first presented with a list of items (such as pictures or words) to remember. Then, his or her memory for these items is tested with a computerized test. This particular method is useful for examining many aspects of memory, such as how people recognize that something was experienced recently, or what sorts of activities lead memory to be better or worse. In this laboratory, the list learning method is primarily aimed at studying residual memory during retrieval failure. A classic example of is when a person recognizes another person's face as familiar, but cannot recollect the details of when or where the face was seen before. Much of the research in this lab attempts to address what features of an event or situation can give rise to a sense of memory during retrieval failure, and what types of mental processes underlie the sense that something is familiar or the sense that something is in memory during retrieval failure.

Behavioral Sciences Building

Lab Faculty Member: Anne Cleary

Davalos Laboratory

In our lab, we investigate temporal processing, aspects of cognitive aging, and cognitive processes in clinical populations. One line of research focuses on understanding the development of time processing abilities over the life span. Of particular interest is the relationship between one's ability to process time accurately and higher cognitive skills such as planning, sequencing, and executive functioning. We also study time processing in clinical populations. Our research involves behavioral testing, EEG, and neuropsychological testing and we maintain active collaborations with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the Center for Neurorehabilitiation Services.

Behavioral Sciences Building

Lab Faculty Member: Deana Davalos

Driving Simulator Lab

Within the Behavioral Sciences Building lies CSU's research driving simulator. It is owned and used by the Psychology department for applied cognitive experiments, perceptual experiments, social experiments, and for upper-division psychology lab classes. The driving simulator is an example of technology purchased on CFT (Charges for Technology) funds.

The technical name for the simulator is a Drivesafety DS-600C system model. It is literally the front half of a Ford Focus automobile which contains the driver seat and passenger seat. Three projectors surround the cab to create a 180 degree field of view. The simulator also contains TV screens for the side and rear view mirrors give the driver extra viewing dimensions and realism. A recent improvement to CSUís driving simulator is the addition a motion platform. The simulator at rest has a downward tilt, but when the participant accelerates the whole simulator tilts up to simulate motion. If the participant turns right the whole simulator will accommodate so that the participant feels the change of direction.

When participants first get into the driving simulator to start the experiment, they buckle their seat belt. Why would they buckle their seat belt if they are sitting in a hacked off Ford Focus which is not going anywhere? They buckle their seat belt because it feels and looks like a car. A driving simulator's purpose in a general sense is to simulate the experience of real-life driving. It takes hardware and software to accomplish this simulated experience.

Behavioral Sciences Building room 009

Web Site

Electrophysiology Facility

A state-of-the art EEG/ERP facility is available. This facility houses two EEG systems, with a control area and two separate subject-running rooms. The newest system is a 128 channel Electrical Geodesic system that supports source localization and uses a proprietary technology that allows the cap to be applied and tested in just ten minutes. We also have a 32-channel Neuroscan system.

Behavioral Sciences Building room 011

Web Site

Graham Behavioral Medicine Lab

This laboratory operates on the premise that what we eat and how much we move relates directly to our short-term and long-term well-being. We are interested in promoting physical activity and healthy eating, and in understanding how to make these behaviors the defaults in situations where they are currently impeded by various environmental and psychological obstacles. We use experimental and observational methods to identify barriers to healthy behaviors and we design interventions to reduce/remove/circumvent these impediments. Some of our current projects are described below.

Lab Faculty Member: Daniel Graham

Harman Close Relationships Lab

Dr. Harmanís lab focuses on interpersonal relationships and health behaviors using social psychological theory. Employing experimental and qualitative techniques, undergraduate and graduate students actively collaborate with Dr. Harman to study a range of topics that lead to publications and conference presentations. Undergraduate students work in groups or on individual projects (e.g., honorís theses) and routinely meet with all lab members to discuss research issues, ideas, and proposals. A sample of some recent research topics studied in the lab include:
The role of sexual arousal on perceptions of risk for STIs
An examination of how health intervention elements impact perceptions of risk and vulnerability for HIV infection
Determining how racial and social demographic changes impact punitive attitudes (in collaboration with faculty in sociology)
Examining how commitment is defined among polyamorous individuals
Exploring how confident people feel in limiting food portions alone or with others
Examining the impact of a personality feedback intervention among inmates on recidivism She collaborates with faculty and students from all over the world,from Austin, TX and Fort Collins, CO to Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nepal.

Fort Collins, CO

Lab Faculty Member: Jennifer Jill Harman

Jessica Witt

Dr. Witt studies how a person's ability to act influences their perception. For example, softball players who are hitting better than others see the ball as bigger. Objects that can be reached and grasped look closer and smaller. Targets that are easier to catch look slower. These studies show that perception is action-specific.

Behavioral Sciences Building

Lab Faculty Member: Jessica Witt

Web Site

Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life

Clark C19

Lab Faculty Member: Michael Steger

Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) Research Group

Research in the Occupational Health Psychology lab focuses on worker health and well-being, and characteristics of the work environment that impact individuals and organizations. The lab serves to build a community of those studying occupational health psychology topics.

C46, C50

Lab Faculty Member: Gwenith G. Fisher

Web Site

Rojas Laboratory

The Rojas Lab group utilizes the following technology in its research: 1. NIRx Near Infrared Spectroscopy cap-based fNIRS system with 48 emitters and 32 detectors 2. g.Tec 128 channel HiAmp active electrode EEG system 3. SR Research Eyelink 1000 Plus eye tracker with 2 kHz camera upgrade

BSB 273

Lab Faculty Member: Don Rojas

Seger Cognitive Neuroimaging Lab

Our lab uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), cognitive testing, and anatomical imaging to investigate a variety of topics in the cognitive neuroscience of human learning and cognition. Our core research examines how interactions between basal ganglia and cortex in corticostriatal "loops" contribute to category learning. We also collaborate on a variety of projects in areas as diverse as risk taking in adolescence, recognition memory, musical harmony and rhythm processing, and neuroeconomics.

Behavioral Sciences Building room 267

Lab Faculty Member: Carol A. Seger

Web Site

Virtual Reality Facility

A state-of-the art virtual reality system is available. This facility houses a designated computer for running virtual reality simulations along with a head-mounted display for 3D immersive interaction within virtual reality environments.

Behavioral Sciences Building

Web Site

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