Undergraduate Research Labs

Social and Organizational Psychology Research Lab
Dr. Jack Aiello

The program of research of the Social and Organizational Psychology Research Lab investigates the process by which people regulate and control their social interaction with others at home and at work.

Read more: Aiello, Jack

Research Division and the Cardiac Neuroscience Laboratory at CAS
Dr. Marsha Bates

Dr. Bates is Distinguished Research Professor and associate director of the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies (CAS). She directs the Research Division and the Cardiac Neuroscience Laboratory at CAS. The mission of this multidisciplinary lab is to conduct integrated physiology, psychology and neuroscience research aimed at understanding alcohol and other drug effects on behavioral flexibility, and developing innovative bio-behavioral treatment approaches for persons with alcohol and drug use disorders. The lab is especially interested in learning how visceral bodily reactions are integrated with cognitive and emotional regulation through the baroreflex feedback loop.

Read more: Bates, Marsha

Cortex Learning Epigenetics & Function
Dr. Kasia Bieszczad

Disorders of learning and memory are a major issue facing many people and families today. My laboratory focuses on the neuroplasticity of the brain, and in particular how neuroplasticity supports information processing and storage when animals (like humans) learn and remember something new. What are the biological mechanisms that control learning-induced plasticity in the brain? And how does neuroplasticity contribute to long-term memory about newly learned information?

Read more: Bieszczad, Kasia

Regulation Action and Motivated Perception Lab
Dr. Shana Cole

The Regulation, Action, and Motivated Perception Lab is currently recruiting motivated research assistants interested in a rich and comprehensive research experience. The RAMP Lab, directed by Dr. Shana Cole, studies the social cognitive and perceptual processes that predict and promote effective goal pursuit. Current projects explore the role of motivated visual perception in managing relationship, dieting, smoking, political, and exercise goals.

Read more: Cole, Shana

Dr. Richard Contrada

My students and I conduct research on social and psychological factors involved in the development and course of physical and mental health problems. With regard to physical health, our primary focus is heart disease, a leading killer. With regard to mental health, our primary focus is anxiety/anxiety disorders, a highly prevalent set of conditions. 

Read more: Contrada, Richard

Dr. Maurice Elias

The unifying themes in my action-research, clinical work, and policy/advocacy are the development of positive, constructive life paths for children and youth and the organization of opportunities to allow this to happen in equitable ways.  This has brought me into areas such as social-emotional learning (SEL), its more recent variation, social-emotional and character development (SECD), emotional intelligence, social competence promotion, character education, primary prevention, school-based, evidence-based intervention, and socialization of identity.  It has also brought my work increasingly into the areas of implementation and sustainability of interventions,  and cutting edge issues such as the link of SECD and academics and the distinguishing features of sustainable, versus well-implemented, empirically supported innovations.  Finally, I have most recently begun to work in the area of promoting civic engagement among Rutgers University students via the creation of a Collaborative for Community-Based Research and Service (engage.rutgers.edu).

Read more: Elias, Maurice

Dr. Jacob Feldman

My research concerns perceptual organization, grouping, visual similarity, shape representation, object categorization, and other aspects of human visual cognition.

Read more: Feldman, Jacob

Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center
Dr. Kate Fiske

Behavioral and educational research conducted with children and adults with autism. Areas of research include evaluating the effectiveness of treatment procedures, assessing family functioning, and influencing social behavior in autism.

Read more: Fiske, Kate

Dr. Rob Foels

I study the causes and consequences of social injustice, gender myths, and effective teaching. My theoretical approach involves a blend of cognitive complexity, social identity, and social power. My research has shown that those with more complex cognitive representations engage in less intergroup bias, that those with a feminist identity or racial identity engage in less bias, and that these social identities relate to higher levels of cognitive complexity. Other social researchers have shown that those with high social power are less cognitively complex, and engage in more intergroup bias. In combination these results suggest that being raised with social power (e.g., dominant ethnic, gender, or economic group) makes one less cognitively complex, which in turn makes one less aware of social injustice and more likely to blame victims and lash out at low power groups. Inducing cognitive complexity helps to reduce intergroup biases and social injustice.

Read more: Foels, Rob

Dr. Arnold Glass

Human cognition is best understood in terms of a set of inter-connected functional neural systems. There is a huge need for functional schematics and functional anatomical maps of these systems and I have taken up this challenge. Anyone who likes to draw and is interested in neuroscience will find this work very rewarding.

Read more: Glass, Arnold

Rutgers Whole School Restorative Practices Project
Dr.  Anne Gregory

The Morningside Center Whole School Restorative Practices (RP) Project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a whole school discipline reform program based on integrating restorative practices and social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum in 18 K-12 public schools in Brooklyn, NY. The whole school RP program is designed to build community among administrators, teachers, staff, students, and families within a school to strengthen relationships and reduce exclusionary discipline, like office discipline referrals and suspensions. Our program evaluation asks: Does the Whole School RP Project have a positive impact on reducing overall discipline referrals and especially reducing disparities in discipline referrals of Black, male, and special education students in elementary, middle, and high schools in a high needs district? RCT evaluation will be based on NYC DOE data records of discipline, attendance, and achievement, as well as survey, interview, and focus group data collected in the spring of each school year for three years. Data will be collected using schoolwide surveys for teachers and students to measure SEL competencies and perceptions of school climate in the program implementation schools with RP and in the business-as-usual schools for comparison.

Read more: Gregory, Anne

Dr. Pernille Hemmer

We are currently looking for a part time lab assistant for the 2017-18 academic year. Please visit our lab website to apply.

Read more: Hemmer, Pernille

Racism Identity Coping and Health (RICH) Lab
Dr. Lori Hoggard

We are currently inviting interested and enthusiastic individuals to apply to be research assistants in the Racism, Identity, Coping, and Health (RICH) Lab under the direction of Dr. Lori Hoggard, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology (Social area). We seek to understand the physical and mental health consequences of racism and discrimination encountered by African Americans and members of other racial/ethnic minority groups. In doing so, we focus on identity, coping, and important mechanisms that underlie the associations between racism and health. The lab employs diverse approaches, including surveys, experiments, and psychophysiological (e.g., heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure) methods.

Read more: Hoggard, Lori

Dr. Judith Hudson

My research is concerned with mental time travel, that is, how we think about the past and future and how memory and foresight abilities develop. We currently have a number of studies underway that examine various aspects of autobiographical memory and future thinking in children and adults:

Read more: Hudson, Judith

Dr. Margaret Ingate

Research interests: human memory, consumer behavior, adjustment and identity among minority group adolescents; personality.

Read more: Ingate, Margaret

Black Couples Research Project running Summer/Fall/and Spring
Dr. Shalonda Kelly

The purpose of this study is to understand how African Americans view and cope with racial factors such as oppression and racial stereotypes within their couple relationships. African American couples have been recruited from the community to complete questionnaires and participate in videotaped discussions regarding the role of racial issues in their lives, both as individuals and as a couple.

Read more: Kelly, Shalonda

Eye Movements and Cognitive Processes
Dr. Eileen Kowler

Movements of the eyes are needed to gather information from the visual world because we must look at objects in order to see them clearly. From this simple fact comes 3 questions, all of which are under study in our laboratory. First, what factors determine where the eye moves and how accurately and quickly it arrives at its intended destination? Second, which patterns of eye movements are most useful for gathering visual information? Third, what can we learn about cognitive processes by studying an observer's pattern of eye movements?

Read more: Kowler, Eileen

Dr. Alexander Kusnecov

The nervous and immune systems share a mutually interactive relationship, which promotes various forms of physiological and behavioral adaptations in the face of pathogenic challenges from viruses and bacteria. The focus of my lab is on understanding this relationship through (I) studies that determine the mechanisms by which stress affects immune function, and (ii) studies that examine the cognitive and emotional consequences of immune system activation. These studies involve animal models of immunological activation and/or stressor exposure. Interested students should therefore be prepared to learn and conduct research that involves sterotaxic surgery, behavioral testing, and collection and processing of brain and lymphoid tissue for histological and biological assessment. This would be appropriate for students wishing to progress towards graduate education in Biopsychology/Behavioral Neuroscience, as well as in areas of Health Psychology that focus on Psychoneuroimmunology.

Read more: Kusnecov, Alexander

Dr. Alan Leslie

The Cognitive Development Lab studies the development of mental capacities underlying our understanding of physical objects, number, causation, social agency, pretending, and reasoning about other people’s mental states. Research is carried out, as appropriate, with normally developing infants (6 to 18 mos.) and preschool (3 to 5 years) and autistic and mentally handicapped children (6 to 18 years). We are always seeking eager undergraduates for research opportunities in our lab. Students should be willing and able to work in the lab for two semesters or a semester and a summer.

Read more: Leslie, Alan

Dr. Howard Leventhal

Our group is currently involved in several different types of study of health behavior. The areas are as follows:

Read more: Leventhal, Howard

Dr. Teresa Leyro

In the Affective and Biological Underpinnings of Anxiety and Substance Abuse (ABUSA) lab we seek to identify underlying vulnerabilities that place individuals at risk for co-occurring anxiety pathology and substance use disorders, and/or may serve to maintain associated dysfunction.

Read more: Leyro, Teresa

Dr. Louis Matzel

Our overall focus is on individual differences in general cognitive abilities (c.f., "intelligence").   Genetically heterogenous and transgenic mice are used in studies of behavioral processes as well as neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, and molecular/genetic mechanisms of learning, reasoning, and attention as they relate to general cognitive performance.  Students are provided with the opportunity to participate in the design and implementation of all aspects of these studies.

Read more: Matzel, Louis

Dr. John McGann

I use the rodent olfactory (smell) system to study how the brain processes sensory stimuli. I am especially interested in how the brain changes based on an animal's environment and prior experience. In my lab we use a wide variety of techniques, including behavioral experimentation, optical imaging of neural activity under a microscope, and tissue assays for various proteins and neurotransmitters. Students who wish to work in my lab should have taken Physiological Psychology or an equivalent undergraduate neuroscience course and should submit a resume and transcript. Please see my website for more information.

Read more: McGann, John

Dr. Julien Musolino

Based on our needs, we offer opportunities for undergraduate students to join our lab and participate in the research we conduct. We are looking for highly motivated individuals with strong organizational and interpersonal skills willing to commit for at least two consecutive semesters.

Read more: Musolino, Julien

Dr. Timothy Otto

The primary focus of our work is to explore the biological basis of memory formation in the mammalian brain. Many of these studies involve an examination of the genes and proteins within neurons that contribute to neuronal plasticity and, ultimately, the formation of lasting memories. These studies span several levels of neurobiological analysis, and employ behavioral, neuropsychological, immunohistochemical, and molecular biological techniques. Our primary focus is on the hippocampus, and much of our research seeks to characterize the dissociable contributions of the CA1, CA2, CA3, and dentate gyrus subfields within both dorsal and ventral hippocampus to a variety of different “types” of memory. Many of these findings are explained in more detail on our laboratory  website: www.ottolab.org

Read more: Otto, Timothy

The School System Improvement (SSI) Project
Dr.  Linda Reddy

(Sponsor: Maurice Elias)

The way teachers instruct their students, manage behavior in the classrooms, and provide opportunity to learn (OTL) makes a big difference in student performance. However, there is currently no practical approach to measuring how teacher’s classroom practices affect student academic and behavior functioning. Identifying the instructional and behavior management strategies teachers’ utilize daily, as well as their influence on OTL, is crucial for determining which strategies are the most effective in promoting academic, behavior, and social success for students.

Read more: Reddy, Linda

Rutgers Paraprofessional Coaching Project
Dr. Linda Reddy and Dr. Todd Glover

Sponsor: Dr. Maurice Elias

The Rutgers - Paraprofessional Coaching Project is a randomized controlled trial of an innovative coaching program designed to enhance elementary school paraprofessional classroom aides' use of evidenced based behavioral interventions for students with externalizing behavior disorders (e.g., Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder).

Read more: Reddy, Linda and Glover, Todd

Rutgers Collaborative Coaching Project
Dr. Linda Reddy/Dr. Elisa Shernoff  

Sponsor: Dr. Maurice Elias)

The Rutgers - Collaborative Coaching Project is a randomized controlled trial of an innovative coaching program designed to enhance teachers’ use of instructional and behavior management strategies in high poverty elementary schools.

Read more: Reddy, Linda and Shernoff, Elisa

Dr. Benjamin Samuels

Based on our needs, we may have some opportunities for undergraduate students to join the lab and participate in our research program. We are looking for highly motivated individuals with strong organizational and interpersonal skills that are willing to commit for at least two consecutive semesters. 

Read more: Samuels, Benjamin

Dr. Diana Sanchez

The  Close Relationships, Identity and Stigma (CRIS) lab is recruiting research assistants. Research assistants in the CRIS lab are expected to be exceptional undergraduates with an interest in psychology. We require that all students have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and be either a major or minor in psychology. Participation in the lab requires a 1-year commitment (2 semesters).

Read more: Sanchez, Diana

Dr. Edward Selby

The Emotion and Psychopathology Lab is currently recruiting undergraduate research assistants. The EmP Lab, led by Professor Edward Selby, Ph.D., examines how difficulties regulating emotion contribute to psychological disorders such as eating disorders, self-harming behavior, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Current studies underway in the lab include an investigation of the impact of stress on eating behavior, as well a project testing the influence of food on emotion and cognitive task performance. Upcoming studies in the lab will examine differences in emotional reactivity between individuals with Bulimia Nervosa, Major Depression, and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Read more: Selby, Edward

Interactive Virtual Training for Early Career Teachers in High Poverty Schools: Undergraduate Research Experience
Dr. Elisa Shernoff

SPONSOR: Dr. Maurice Elias

Dr. Elisa Shernoff in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, is developing Interactive Virtual Training (IVT), a video game training model in which early career teachers working in high poverty schools can improve their behavior management skills with disruptive avatars in a virtual training environment.

Read more: Shernoff, Elisa

Dr. Manish Singh

The way the world looks to us is a remarkable achievement of our visual system. The visual inputs we receive are just the two-dimensional images projected on our retinas. But from these our brain is able to construct representations of three-dimensional objects and surfaces laid out in space. Research in our lab is aimed at understanding how the human brain computes representations of objects and surfaces from the retinal images, and how it uses these representations for various tasks.

Read more: Singh, Manish

Dr. Karin Stromswold

The research in this lab investigates the cognitive and neural bases of language. Ongoing projects fall in five general areas.

Read more: Stromswold, Karin

Dr. Arthur Tomie

Research interests: My research is conducted in the NeuroPharmacoGenetics Lab at the Center of Alcohol Studies. My research interests are generally related to animal learning models of alcohol drinking; Pavlovian conditioning of sign-tracking; intergender effects on alcohol drinking; gene expression correlates of alcohol drinking in mice.

Read more: Tomie, Arthur

Dr. Elizabeth B. Torres

I have three lines of research in my lab: Theoretical, electrophysiology-behavioral and clinical. The common theme of this research is to understand how the primate brain integrates sensory-motor information to perform purposeful tasks in every day life. The main goal of this research is to ultimately help patients of various kinds. These include both adults and children with developmental disabilities. Adult patients may be in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, or may have had a stroke in the past. Children may be patients who have been diagnosed with autism and/or infants who we will study seeking better future diagnosis tools in the sensory-motor domain.

Read more: Torres, Elizabeth B.

Neurobiology of Vocal Learning
Dr. David Vicario

Songbirds use their songs and calls to communicate in social and reproductive contexts. They learn to make these sounds through a process of vocal imitation that has much in common with human speech acquisition. Very few animals are capable of this form of behavioral learning. It involves auditory discrimination, auditory memory and sensorimotor learning. We can study the brain mechanisms of each of these processes, because the relevant brain pathways have been identified in songbirds. Experiments in the laboratory involve a range of techniques from behavioral observations and sound processing to neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. Opportunities exist for interested students to participate in ongoing projects if they can make a significant time commitment.

Read more: Vicario, David

Dr. George Wagner

Study of schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease using animal models. Assessment of the neurochemical and behavioral deficits following the administration of psychomotor stimulants.

Read more: Wagner, George

Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory
Dr. Mark West

In my laboratory we study neural mechanisms of cocaine and opiate addiction, binge eating, reward, and motor skill learning in the mesolimbic and nigrostriatal dopamine systems in rat models of behaviors involving dopamine transmission. We analyze behavioral measures and activity of single neurons in conjunction with the animal's affective state measured via ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) that rats emit. One USV frequency range signals positive affect, whereas another signals negative affect. USVs provide new insights into what rats are experiencing, sometimes surprisingly at odds with what experimenters presume.

Read more: West, Mark

Dr. David Wilder

Students attend weekly lab meetings to plan and prepare research.  Research topics include the following:

Read more: Wilder, David

Research on Self Understanding and Self Evaluation
Dr. Robert Woolfolk

Our research examines such traditional topics as self-concept and self-esteem and their relation to questions in contemporary studies of social cognition. We are interested in how knowledge about the self is represented cognitively and how such knowledge structures are configured. We are also interested in the relationship of self-understanding and self-evaluation to areas in clinical psychology. Most specifically we are studying the connection of cognition about the self with depression and the personality disorders.

Read more: Woolfolk, Robert


Undergraduate Office
(848) 445-4036
Tillett Hall, Rm 101

Undergraduate Vice Chair
Professor Karin Stromswold

Associate Undergraduate Vice Chair
Professor Linnea Dickson

Director of Advising
Professor David Wilder

Undergraduate Student Counselor
Bonita Holt-Griffith
(848) 445-4036
Dept of Psych, Rutgers, New Brunswick
Tillett Hall, Rm 101

Psychology Staff