Undergraduate Research Labs

Social and Organizational Psychology Research Lab
Dr. Jack Aiello
Website: http://jraiello.webnode.com/researchteam/

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
Website: http://research.alcoholstudies.rutgers.edu/active/cardiac-neuroscience-laboratory-cn
Email: mebates@smithers.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484453559

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
Website: https://cleflab.myportfolio.com
Email: kasia.bie@rutgers.edu

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
Website: http://www.ramplab-rutgers.com/
Email: shana.cole@rutgers.edu

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. Maurice Elias
Website: http://www.SECDLab.org
Email: melias@psych.rutgers.edu

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

Rutgers Emotion, Health, and Behavior (REHAB) Lab
Dr. Samantha Farris
Website: https://psych.rutgers.edu/rehab-lab/home
Email: rehab@rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484452189

Chronic disease and health-risk behaviors are often comorbid with psychological disorders that maintain those conditions. In my lab, we conduct research on the effects of anxiety and stress on health and behaviors across multiple domains including women’s health, cigarette smoking, and physical activity. Our aim is contribution to a better understanding of the influence of psychological components on physical health in order to improve treatment outcomes for clinical populations as well as community wellbeing. Students interested in gaining research experience are encouraged to apply via the application on the lab webpage.

Read more: Farris, Samantha

Vision Cognition Lab
Dr. Jacob Feldman
Website: http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/jacob
Email: jacob@ruccs.rutgers.edu

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

Dr. Rob Foels
Email: rob.foels@rutgers.edu

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

Rutgers Whole School Restorative Practices Project and Examining Restorative Practices in Urban Schools Project
Dr.  Anne Gregory


The Morningside Center Whole School Restorative Practices (RP) Project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a whole school intervention based on integrating restorative practices, equity, 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, surveys, and interviews. Data will be collected using school-wide 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 DOE data, surveys, and interviews. Data will be collected using school-wide 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

Priors and Memory Lab
Dr. Pernille Hemmer
Website: https://primelab235.wordpress.com/
Email: pernille.hemmer@psych.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484458948

Our lab is broadly interested in how our prior expectations influence our memory and decision making. Specifically, our research addresses how expectations compensate for noisy and incomplete memory (e.g. for color or objects in scenes) and impact our decision making for the future (e.g. patient health choices)..

Read more: Hemmer, Pernille

Racism Identity Coping and Health (RICH) Lab
Dr. Lori Hoggard
Email: lori.hoggard@rutgers.edu

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

Human Development Lab
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

Black Couples Research Project running Summer/Fall/and Spring
Dr. Shalonda Kelly
Email: skelly@gsapp.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484453922

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
Website: https://ruccs.rutgers.edu/kowler
Email: eileen.kowler@rutgers.edu

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
Email: kusnecov@psych.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484453473

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.

Cognitive Development Lab
Dr. Alan Leslie
Website: http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/~aleslie/undergra.html
Email: aleslie@ruccs.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484456152

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. Louis Matzel
Email: matzel@psych.rutgers.edu

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
Website: http://rci.rutgers.edu/~jmcgann/
Email: jmcgann@psych.rutgers.edu

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.

Michel Computational Vision and Psychophysics Lab
Dr. Melchi Michel
Website: https://mmmlab.org/
Email: melchi.michel@psych.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484458919

We are the Michel Computational Vision and Psychophysics Lab at Rutgers University.

Our lab studies the human visual system, with a focus on investigating how we integrate sensory information to make perceptual judgments, how we exploit statistical regularities in the environment, and how we adapt when these statistical regularities are altered or when new statistical contingencies are introduced.  Central to our approach are the treatment of vision as a problem of probabilistic inference, the theoretical framework of optimal computation, and the derivation and use of a mathematically optimal observer for the task under investigation as a standard against which to compare human performance.

Read more: Michel, Melchi

Dr. Julien Musolino
Website: http://julienmusolino.com/

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
Email: totto@psych.rutgers.edu

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
Website: https://ssiproject.rutgers.edu/
Email: lreddy@scarletmail.rutgers.edu

(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

Dr. Benjamin Samuels
Email: ben.samuels@rutgers.edu

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. 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
Website: https://gsapp.rutgers.edu/research/technology-focused/IVT-T
Email: elisa.shernoff@rutgers.edu

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
Website: http://www.ruccs.rutgers.edu/~manish/
Email: manish@ruccs.rutgers.edu

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

Tobacco Research & Intervention Lab
Dr. Marc Steinberg
Website: http://rwjms1.rwjms.rutgers.edu/steinberg-lab/index.html

The Tobacco Research & Intervention Lab (Director: Dr. Marc L. Steinberg) focuses on tobacco use and dependence, including tobacco dependence treatment development, tobacco use in smokers with psychiatric comorbidity, the relationship between smoking and task persistence/distress tolerance, and motivational interviewing as an approach to encourage smokers to make a quit attempt.

Read more: Steinberg, Marc

Dr. Arthur Tomie
Website: https://sites.rutgers.edu/arthur-tomie/
Email: tomie@psych.rutgers.edu

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.

Dr. Elizabeth B. Torres
Email: ebtorres@psych.rutgers.edu

Join my lab to learn about personalized smart health! Come to learn how the brain controls bodies in motion and how we can measure brain-body interactions with high precision. Learn about the development of objective biometrics to analyze data from wearable biosensors and isolate joy from stress and pain in the motor stream that our nervous systems generate. Learn to measure how dyads interact in the social dance and how dancers project their emotions to the audience. Help us build new tools to measure the outcomes of treatments in autism, Parkinson’s disease and other medical conditions.

Neurobiology of Vocal Learning
Dr. David Vicario
Email: vicario@psych.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484452907

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
Email: gcwagner@psych.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484454660

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

Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory
Dr. Mark West
Website: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~markwest/
Email: markwest@rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484452419

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

Research on Self Understanding and Self Evaluation
Dr. Robert Woolfolk
Email: rwool@psych.rutgers.edu
Phone: 1.8484452088

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.


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

Undergraduate Vice Chair
Professor Alexander Kusnecov

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