The Department of Psychology
Current Research Opportunities for PSY5030
Dr. Loren Naidoo – I/O Psychology
The purpose of the social and cognitive processes in I/O psychology lab is to investigate work behavior using theory and methods from social psychology, human motivation, and cognitive psychology. Areas of interest include leadership, leader-follower relationships, employee motivation and performance, organizational justice, self-regulation, and emotions.
Current projects include the examination of how leader verbal and nonverbal communications elicit motivational orientations in followers which influence their subsequent work performance, and an investigation of rhetoric in political leadership. Doctoral students and undergraduate research assistants play vital roles in helping to design and carry out the psychological research conducted in the lab. Further information is available at:
Dr. Kristen Shockley– work, family, and gender lab
The Work, Family, and Gender Lab focuses on issues related to how employees manage the intersection of their work and family lives. Specific topics include investigating the division of labor between couples (how this process is negotiations and the outcomes associated with these processes); exploration of work-family conflict as a stressor and its link to employee health; assessment of theory related to work-family systems; understanding work-family conflict as an episodic process, with a focus on how decisions are made, attributions that follow decisions, and the impact of these factors on work and family performance-related behaviors; organizational responses to work-family issues (e.g., flexible work arrangements); and the implications of cultural context in work-family relationships.
Students interested in conducting research in the lab must have completed PSY 3001. Contact Dr. Shockley at Kristen.firstname.lastname@example.org for information about available roles in current projects.
Dr. Jaihyun Park – Social Psychology
Dr. Jaihyun Park has been interested in several research areas in social and personality psychology. Among others, he has conducted a program of research on (a) stereotyping and prejudice, (b) culture and personalitY, and (c) jury decision-making. More specifically, Dr. Park has been interested in investigating the mental process and representations that affect social judgment and behavior, with a special focus on the implicit and unconscious ways in which social category information influences our judgment and behavior. He has also been interested in exploring the impact of culture on human personality and behavior. Lastly, he has been conducting research on psychological variables that might affect jury decision making in civil cases.
Dr. Jennifer Mangels – DYNAMIC LEARNING LAB
What do you want to learn about and why? Seeking out of new knowledge is a dynamic motivational state. The overarching goal of this lab (the Dynamic Learning Lab) is to understand how the to-be-learned material, the motivation of the individual learner, and the social context in which the individual is learning work together to facilitate or inhibit the acquisition and implementation of new verbal and mathematical knowledge. Recently, this work has expanded to include how new information is acquired in social networks and the role that trust in the source plays in decisions to implement that knowledge. To gain access to learners' cognitive and emotional processes, we use behavioral and neuroscience methods (primarily EEG/ERP), and will be adding eye-tracking. We use findings from basic research to design interventions that may help students bridge gaps in knowledge and overcome academic challenges.
For more information about specific projects, please go to the lab website at www.mangelslab.org.
Prerequisites: Prefer a B+ or better grade in Cognition (3081) and/or Mind, Brain and Behavior (3082), but students are considered on a case-by-case basis. Applications for 5030 (Research Practicum) and volunteer positions can be found at www.mangelslab.org under "Participate!"
Dr. Kristin Sommer – interpersonal processes lab
Dr. Sommer’s research interests lie with the myriad ways in which people respond to social rejection. Specifically, she and her students are investigating the circumstances under which social rejection and social ostracism lead to relatively prosocial behaviors, such as helping and conformity, versus antisocial behaviors, such as withdrawal and aggression. They are particularly interested in understanding the emotional and cognitive processes -- such as empathy and social expectancies -- that mediate the link between rejection and interpersonal behaviors.
Another line of work examines pertains to the functions of social influence. This area of research explores the needs or goals that are met by having influence on others, within the contexts of both close, interpersonal relationships and work settings.
The type of tasks in which student researchers working in her lab would be involved include: primary data collection as lab experimenter; content analysis of qualitative written data; transcription and behavioral analysis of videotaped social interaction data; data entry and analysis.
Dr. Yochi Cohen-Charash – I/O Psychology and Emotions
At the emotions in organizations lab we examine we examine the role of emotions in motivating behavior in work organizations. In particular, we examine reactions to comparisons with others. Because we believe that we all compare ourselves to others, these comparisons (called social comparisons, in the literature), are of extreme importance. For example, they serve a way of gauging where we stand relative to others, and then motivate us to change the situation or how we perceive it. Thus, these social comparisons lead to various emotional and behavioral reactions toward others and the organization. To examine our research questions regarding social comparisons and reactions to them we utilize a wide variety of research methods such as laboratory experiments, correlational studies, survey research, longitudinal studies, archival studies, and qualitative studies.
Our lab is composed of students at various levels (Ph.D., MS, undergraduate students, volunteers who have graduated and want to gain research experience). Our lab usually meets weekly, which allows the more advanced students and me to mentor the younger students. All lab members are expected to contribute to discussions on research design and partake in data collection. Most students are also involved with questionnaire preparation, working with experimental software, web-based programs, and statistical analyses. We expect students to learn through these experiences and to provide us with insight and feedback throughout their tenure in our lab. The points of view of our undergraduate students are of a particular interest to us and we hope to have a mutually beneficial experience for all members. As such, working at our lab provides experience and knowledge to our students which will serve them later when applying to graduate programs.
Dr. David O’Brien – Cognitive Psychology and Experimental Psychology
Dr. O’Brien’s research program investigates declarative knowledge, i.e., knowledge that can be expressed with linguistic propositions, beginning with the epistemological assumption that in order to store declarative knowledge in memory, there must be a representational format with which to store it. This format must be capable of representing properties and the things that have those properties and to distinguish between the two, and to keep track of which things have which properties and vice versa. In other words, the mind must have some basic logical predicate/argument structure. Further, the mind should have some ways of representing alternatives among properties or the entities that have those properties, as well as conjunctions, suppositions,and negations—the sorts of things that are done, for example, with English-language words such as or , and , if , and not . These assumptions are the basis for the “mental-logic” theory O’Brien co-developed with the late Martin Braine of New York University.
The basic research approach could be called “experimental epistemology,” because it brings the methods of experimental psychology to bear on these epistemological issues. The idea is to discover what is psychologically basic in such knowledge, and this goal requires investigating not only the thinking of adults, but also addressing what sorts of representational formats and inferences are available early in development and across languages and cultures. O’Brien thus engages in empirical research across a varied set of populations, including children, and deaf and illiterate populations in Portuguese-speaking Brazil. Recently he has been engaged in setting-up research projects with recently discovered indigenous groups in the northwestern Amazon basin. In addition, he remains engaged in more traditional research in his laboratory located in the Psychology Department at Baruch College. He welcomes inquiries from students who are interested or curious about gaining research experience working in his laboratory.
Students working in Dr. O'Brien's laboratory at Baruch College are responsible for becoming engaged intellectually in the project on which they work. At the least, they are expected to have a basic understanding of the goals of the project. They are expected to be involved in data collection and data analyses, both of which will be closely supervised. In this way, the research skills that are learned abstractly in classes such as statistics and experimental psychology will be advanced through hands-on use and extensive feedback.
Dr. Mindy Engle-Friedman - Environmental Psychology and Sleep Psychology Lab: Sleep loss, Fatigue and Effort
The research in our lab focuses on the effects of sleep deprivation and fatigue on performance requiring varying degrees of effort. I am particularly interested in how people make choices depending on the effort tasks require and one’s current level of energy resources. Researchers in our lab have been exploring the impact of fatigue and sleep loss on the use of mental short-cuts, choice behavior in math tasks, engagement in social situations an d risk-taking.
Other researchers in our lab are considering how attitudes and behaviors responsible for environmental protection vary over time, how the genders conceive of environmental protection differently and how various ethnicities consider environmental protection. We are also exploring the factors responsible for engagement in environmentally protective behaviors.
Our lab consists of dedicated post-graduate and undergraduate students who have a passion for research and who enjoy working on projects as a team. Many of our researchers have had presented posters at regional and national professional conferences and a number have been authors on papers published in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Charles Scherbaum – I/O Psychology and Psychometrics
The I/O psychology and measurement lab focuses on issues of diversity in the context of employee selection, measuring individual differences, and assessing employee attitudes. We study sources of bias on cognitive tests, non-cognitive predictors of job performance, attitudes toward stigmatized employee, attitude measurement, linking employee attitudes to organizational outcomes, and employee selection. The research conducted in this lab draws heavily on recent advances in analytical and methodological techniques, and computer technology.
One of the main areas of research conducted in the lab examines possible explanations for racial differences on intelligence and cognitive ability tests. This research involves developing alternative formats and types of intelligence tests as well as the role previous experience and test taking skills in performance on these types of tests.
Other projects include: (1) utilizing item response theory to detect response distortion (i.e., faking) on measures of personality and biodata in employment contexts; (2) impact of identified surveys on response behavior; (3) assessing attitudes toward employees with disabilities and female managers; (4) synthetic validity; (5) impact of stereotype threat on test-taking behaviors.
Dr. Angela Marinilli Pinto: Clinical & Health Psychology
Dr. Angela Marinilli Pinto’s research focuses on two related areas: obesity and eating disorders. Her research in obesity has included working with community-wide weight loss initiatives and conducting randomized clinical trials of weight loss interventions. She is particularly interested in the development of accessible and cost-effective behavioral weight loss treatment programs and working with publicly available commercial weight loss programs (e.g., Weight Watchers). Her research examines outcomes of weight loss treatment in terms of clinical effectiveness (e.g., weight loss, behavioral changes in diet and physical activity), health parameters (e.g., health-related quality of life), and factors related to costs associated with delivery of such programs. She has also examined the relationship between health and lifestyle behaviors using cross-sectional survey designs. Her work in eating disorders centers on cognitive factors (e.g., motivation for change, self-efficacy, perception of hospital admission) that impact the patients’ experience and engagement in treatment.
For more information about Dr. Pinto’s research, email her.
Dr. Catherine Good: Social Psychology
My research focuses on the social forces that shape academic achievement, intellectual performance, motivation, and self-image. In particular, I study stereotype threat, that is, how negative stereotypes contribute to females’ underachievement and under-representation in math and science fields. In addition, I apply lessons learned from the achievement motivation literature to better understand methods of helping females overcome vulnerability to stereotype threat. My recent work highlights the importance of females’ sense of belonging to the math community for their academic self-concepts, intention to pursue math in the future, and their math achievement.
I also study these issues as they relate to minority student achievement.
My work entails controlled laboratory studies, applied studies with students in public schools, and the application of these ideas to the development of educational materials in order to help students overcome stereotype threat.
For further information, please email Dr. Good.
DR. ERIN EATOUGH: I/O PSYCHOLOGY - OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PSYCHOLOGYLAB
The research of the Occupational Health Psychology lab focuses on the potential consequences of stressful job conditions. Research studies in this lab focus on how stressful job conditions can impact psychological health (emotions, job attitudes) and physical health (pain, safety) of organization members. Further, our lab is interested in a variety of aspects of job performance, including behaviors that benefit the organization and are above and beyond formal employee duties (such as altruism and helpfulness) and behaviors that have negative consequences for the organization (such as theft and sabotage). We also conduct research on the predictors of health and safety behaviors of employees (i.e., exercising, complying with safety practices and protocols).
We are currently looking to include an undergraduate in our research. Potential projects to be a part of include the following topics: Exploring how people who feel “called” to their work experience workplace stress; examining how daily stressors impact exercise and emotions; exploring the stressors faced by employed students; or investigating whether stressors vary from nation to nation.
Interested students are encourage to contact Professor Eatough at email@example.com.
DR. TATIANA EMMANOUIL- PERCEPTION LAB
In this lab we try to understand how people perceive the visual world. When we open our eyes we often feel that we see everything and that our visual system may be like a camera faithfully recording what is around us. However, it turns out that we may miss a lot of details in the environment, as anyone who has played “Where is Waldo” can attest to. Through several lines of research we try to understand how it is possible to have rich visual experiences in the absence of perception of details. One phenomenon we investigate is how people may extract statistical summaries of scenes, perceiving statistical properties (e.g. mean size, speed, orientation) of sets of objects as opposed to the details of each separate object. Another question we ask is what happens to those details that we miss, is it possible that the brain still extracts information about them in the absence of awareness or do they entirely perish?
In most of these experiments we bring people into the lab and show them images on a computer monitor. Following a standard protocol, we give them instructions and ask them to make button presses in response to a task. We measure people’s reaction times and accuracy in judging different types of visual properties, and through these objective measurements we gain an insight into visual information processing mechanisms. In other experiments, we assess brain activation while participants perform visual tasks, using neuroscience methods such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Using this diverse set of methods, our goal is to relate participants’ performance with their neural activations in order to gain insight into the processes that give rise to our visual experience.