Undergraduate Research Labs

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

Autism Spectrum Disorder is often perceived as a childhood disorder. However, most autistic individuals experience challenges in adult life and maintaining engagement in their communities across multiple domains, including navigating postsecondary education, obtaining and sustaining employment, engaging in desired relationships and accessing services to help them achieve positive quality of life. On the other hand, autistic adults exhibit a range of strengths and positive attributes. Unfortunately, research on autism in adulthood is limited across the board, with very few studies focusing on strengths.

Read more: Bal, Vanessa

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

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

Youth Anxiety and Depression Clinic

Learn what makes psychological therapy work! We are conducting a randomized clinical trial comparing three cognitive behavioral interventions for children and adolescents with anxiety and depression. We are looking for undergraduate research assistants (RAs) to provide research support and complete independent research projects in our lab. You will learn about treatment outcomes (which treatments are best), how they work (mediators and moderators of treatment), and how to increase access to underserved populations. RAs become familiar with daily operations of multiple large research projects and how to carry out large clinical studies. RA will conduct behavioral assessments with youth and caregivers. RAs will have opportunities to write comprehensive literature reviews and complete independent research projects.

For more information and to apply, please visit our lab website at https://gsapp.rutgers.edu/centers-clinical-services/YADC

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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

In our clinical/community psychology lab, we conduct research projects related to social-emotional learning and character development (SECD), primarily (but not only) with urban school districts in New Jersey. We aim to engage young people in schools to take action and make positive changes in their communities. The Rutgers students who join our team will have the opportunity to  help out with three different projects (listed below), and receive course credit for their work. Please check out our website for more information about each project.

Read more: Elias, Maurice

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

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

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

  • The Morningside Center Whole School Restorative Practices (RP)
  • Dr.  Anne Gregory


The Morningside Center Whole School Restorative Practices (RP) research project is a randomized control trial evaluation of a school wide discipline reform program based on integrating restorative practices, social emotional learning curriculum, and racial equity in K-12 public schools in Brooklyn, NY. We, Dr. Anne Gregory and her Rutgers Evaluation team at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, are interested in recruiting highly motivated undergraduate research assistants to play a vital role in collecting data to evaluate the impact of the whole school RP and Racial Equity Project. 


Read more: Gregory, Anne

Adolescence is a period of increased risk for suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and death by suicide. Our research group examines individual and systemic factors that increase suicide risk during this developmental period, particularly focused on the role of social media and sleep. To better assess these factors as they unfold in real time and in the real world, our research uses self-report surveys, qualitative interviews, clinical interviews, and monitoring methods that are active (e.g., asking questions several times per day) and passive (capturing sleep and smartphone activity). Students should be willing and able to work in the lab for at least two semesters (or a semester and a summer). There is an online application available about our research and the position on the lab website.

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

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

Much of the research on suicide has measured suicidal ideation and its risk factors with long periods of time (e.g., years, months) between measurements.Our research group uses wearable physiological monitors and smartphone-based real-time monitoring technology (i.e. Ecological Momentary Assessment) to explore the day to day or hour to hour variation in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Through the use of these new methods and technologies we are able to assess the contextual factors associated with suicide risk and resilience as they actually occur. Students interested in joining my lab can complete the online application found on lab’s website.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

At the Nicolas lab we study how people make sense of the social world. Specific topics include stereotyping, perceptions of individuals who belong to multiple social groups (e.g., Multiracial and intersectional identities), first impressions based on facial appearance, and social biases in Artificial Intelligence. We use a variety of innovative methods to study social perceptions, from text analysis of laboratory and internet data to eye tracking and face images morphing. Our research has implications for our understanding of social behavior and discrimination. 

We are inviting interested students to apply to join the lab as research assistants. RAs in the lab will have multiple opportunities to obtain research experience, including participating in data collection and coding, material design, the development of new ideas, participating in lab meetings, and learning about methods and analysis.  

No specific prior experience is required; however, preference will be given to students who are able to commit to at least two semesters of working in the lab. RAs will be expected to spend approximately 5-10 hours/week involved in lab activities. Finally, we also encourage students with interdisciplinary backgrounds or interests (e.g., cognitive science, computer science) to apply to join the lab.   

For more information and to apply, please visit our lab website at nicolaslab.org

(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

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

SPONSOR: Dr. Maurice Elias

The overall goal of Dr. Shernoff’s work includes expanding mental health practices in schools to include supporting teacher effectiveness as a mechanism for promoting positive outcomes with underrepresented children and youth. Undergraduate students who work in her research lab gain hands-on experience conducting research in schools. Dr. Shernoff is currently recruiting undergraduate research assistants to play a vital role on one of two projects:


Read more: Shernoff, Elisa

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

Our research group studies the foundations of human cognition. Research topics include, but are not limited to: how young children and adults perceive quantities, how numerical perception contributes to mathematical reasoning, what children and adults believe about the origins of human knowledge, and how changes in knowledge impact future learning. We are looking for bright, motivated Rutgers undergraduate research assistants. A two-semester commitment is required. You can learn more through our webpage https://sites.sas.rutgers.edu/cognition/.

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.

In our laboratory, we study the computational principles that make human memory efficient. We use a combination of behavioral methods and neural imaging to optimize human memory recalls. We are always looking for motivated psychology undergraduates with a quantitative background (programming skills, minor in CS or stats etc.) to join the lab!


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

Undergraduate Vice Chair
Professor Judith Hudson

Associate Undergraduate Vice Chair
Professor Linnea Dickson

Director of Advising
Professor David Wilder

Psychology Staff