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Violence Against Women The Violence Against Women Research and Outreach Initiative is a multidisciplinary group of faculty at Michigan State University committed to engaging in community-based, collaborative research and evaluation that is highly rigorous while also having significant practice and policy implications at local, state, national and international levels.
Cognitive Control Neurolab Our research focuses on the cognitive processes necessary to achieve one's goals in a constantly changing environment. In our research, we emphasize two cognitive abilities that allow us to successfully perform many everyday tasks - working memory and task switching. Through the use of converging methodologies such as fMRI, neuropsychological, and behavioral techniques, we are able to investigate these abilities in novel ways. Essentially, we emphasize both words in the term "cognitive neuroscience"; that is we attempt to refine theories of working memory and task switching in cognitive psychology by determining whether its claims are supported by models of brain functioning. In the same way, we test predictions about the functions of neural regions based on theories provided by cognitive psychology.
The Wade Lab We seek to understand how structural and biochemical changes within the central nervous system regulate behavior. One effective method for investigating this topic is the exploitation of naturally occurring differences in behaviors. We study courtship and copulatory displays because they are stereotyped, sexually differentiated, and in many species displayed seasonally. Therefore, we can evaluate mechanisms regulating behaviors within a sex in and out of the breeding season, as well as between the two sexes. We focus on factors involved both in organizing critical regions of the brain, spinal cord and muscles during development, as well as those that confer varying levels of plasticity in adulthood. Members of my lab are working with two model systems, zebra finches and green anole lizards. These species have the potential to not only increase understanding of the evolution of the processes regulating behavioral differences, which have commonly been studied in mammals, but also to address the ubiquity of the mechanisms employed in diverse situations.
The Transfer of Training to the Job: The Concept and Measurement of Use Dr, J. Kevin Ford, Dr. Steve Yelon, and Sarena Bhatia
Ford, Baldwin and Huang (2010) conducted a meta-analysis of training transfer research. They noted that transfer has been measured as both the use of a trained knowledge or skill on the job (behaviors) and the effectiveness of the trainee in applying the knowledge and skill. However, they noted a lack of development of a systematic taxonomy of “use” or actions taken by trainees once back on the job. While almost all of the studies attempted to answer questions about generalization from training to the job, the questions have been confined to the participants’ direct application to a job task. There is a need for an expanded definition of use in order to enhance understanding of possible uses on the job outside of direct application. This project aims to develop a taxonomy of use on the job and develop measures of use to more comprehensively evaluate training transfer and to understand the behavioral effects of training.
Knowledge in Development Lab Our lab researches how children think about information in the world around them and how children seek out and evaluate knowledge throughout their development. We are interested in questions such as: (How do children decide where to look for answers?), (What kinds of information do children share with other people?), (How do children know when an answer is satisfactory?)
Time to Expertise Dr. Kevin Ford, Jessica Santoro, and Morgan Showler
This project is looking into how long it takes individuals at work to develop deep specialization in core jobs such as IT, electrical engineering, and maintenance. While many popular press publications have stated that it takes 10,000 hours of experience to become an expert, we are looking at ways to measure or quantify time to proficiency and time to expertise. We are also focused on factors that can accelerate development towards expertise. We are focused on developing a frameworks for understanding the road to expertise and creating metrics to operationalize expertise atvarious career stages
The Breedlove Jordan Lab We are interested in hormonal modulation of the developing and adult nervous system that leads to changes in behavior. Steroid hormones such as testosterone can alter the survival and differentiation of glia, neurons and target tissues such as muscle. Using a range of rodent species, we try to understand which cells directly respond to the hormone, which genes are regulated in those cells, and how the structure and function of the cell changes as a consequence of that gene regulation.
Michigan State University Twin Registry In sum, the MSUTR research will allow for better understanding of the environmental, genetic and neurobiological factors that influence psychological functioning and behavior. Our research will aid in the identification of the origins of internalizing and externalizing symptoms, ultimately informing treatment and prevention efforts.
The Autism Lab In typical development, social-communication skills emerge in a predictable pattern, with nonverbal skills, such as imitation and joint attention, preceding language development and theory of mind. In autism, these early, non-verbal social-communication skills are significantly impaired. Children with autism also experience delayed or deviant language and social-emotional development. We are interested in understanding the role that early non-verbal, social-communication deficits play in development of later emerging language and social impairments.
MSU Rhythms Research Group The Rhythms Research Group at Michigan State University is a collection of Neuroscientists who share research interests, lab equipment and techniques. Members of the group benefit from their frequent interations and close collaborations. Our research focuses on the processes and mechanisms of biological rhythms of mammals.
The Influences of Social Context on Multiple-Goal Regulation Over Time SinHui Chong and Dr. Rick DeShon
Given the prevalence of teams as the organizing unit of work in organizations, employees must balance the simultaneous pursuit of both individual and team goals. Existing research clearly demonstrates that, when given two distinct but equivalent goals, individuals differentially allocate resources toward the task with the highest performance-goal discrepancy (e.g., Schmidt & DeShon, 2007). This finding is consistent with a control theory representation of multiple goal pursuit. However, team goals are somewhat unique in that they involve both task and social components (Marks, Mathieu, & Zaccaro, 2001), yet the role of social context has not received attention in the multiple-goal pursuit paradigm. Our research uses an experimental design to investigate whether the social context presented by a team goal will amplify the salience of the performance—goal discrepancy of the team goal as compared to the individual goal.
Consortium for Multicultural Psychology Research PI: Dr. Frederick Leong
Our primary mission is to generate and apply psychological science to increase our understanding of multicultural issues in both domestic and international contexts.
Lonstein Lab We are interested in the neural and hormonal regulation of maternal behaviors and changes in emotional regulation during lactation, as well as the regulation of sex differences in social behaviors and the brain in monogamous voles.
Sakai Lab Our lab is interested in the factors that led to the evolution of large brains. We are evaluating if brain size varies with such factors as sociality, ecological complexity and life style variables among carnivores.
Personal Agency and Knowledge Integration Networks Dr. John Schaubroeck and Dia Chatterjee
This project aims to develop an annotated bibliography of the literature on personal agency and knowledge sharing, knowledge integration, and innovation.
The Sisk Lab The common theme of research projects in the Sisk Lab is the influence of steroid hormones on nervous system structure and function. Gonadal steroids, such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, profoundly affect neuronal activity, connectivity within neural circuits, and behavior at different stages of life, including early neural development, puberty, and in adulthood. Neural and behavioral responses to steroid hormones vary with developmental stage. Our work focuses on the role of pubertal hormones in shaping development of the adolescent brain and maturation of adult behaviors, and it contributes to an understanding of the ways and extent to which the capacity for functional plasticity within the nervous system changes across the lifespan. Research in the Sisk Lab is a combination of neuroendocrinology, developmental neurobiology, and behavioral neuroscience. We employ a variety of experimental techniques, ranging from analysis of gene expression to analysis of behavior.
Intergroup Relations Lab Research in the lab adopts an evolutionary perspective on cognition, attitudes and behavior relevant to intra and inter-group phenomena. Current projects explore the links among intergroup bias, coalitional and sexual aggression, and moral judgment. Methods include experiments that employ questionnaires, physiological measurement, preferences for certain visual stimuli, and reactions to 3-D images in immersive, virtual environments (or "virtual reality").
Neuroimaging of Perception and Attention Laboratory How do we perceive the visual world--a world full of different types of sensory stimulation-- brightness, color, movement, shapes, etc? How do we seletively attend to certain things while ingore other things? How does the seletive processing of information guide action and affect memory? These are some of the questions that we are investigating in our laboratory. We study the brain mechanisms of perception and attention using a combination of human psychophysics and funtional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Our ultimate goal is to understand how we attend and how attention influences other cognitive functions. Our approach is to relate behavioral performance to brain activity in order to gain insight into the fundamental mechanisms of perception and attention.
Laboratory for Cognitive and Decision Sciences Using cognitive models to understand causes of risky behavior / Experience-based decision making / Cognitive Architecture of judgment and decision making
Perception & Attention Lab My lab investigates how attention alters the way visual information is represented. Some of our research suggests that conscious awareness of visual scenes is very limited, containing only the 3 to 5 items which are the current focus of attention. Further, once attention leaves an object it is no longer consciously represented. This close link between attention and conscious experience highlights the importance of allocating attentional resources efficiently to the “appropriate” parts of a visual scene.
MSU Mother Infant Study The study is focused on understanding the influences of domestic violence on the lives of women and children. Half of our original sample experienced some level of abuse from their partners (from mild to severe) and half served as the control group. Over time, however, some women have moved into and some out of abusive relationships. We are interested in what creates conditions of risk and resilience for these women and children. We also study how women's parenting and mental health as well as the social and psychological adjustment of their children are affected by various levels of hardship posed by domestic violence and other life circumstances.
Clinical Psychophysiology Lab Our mission is to utilize experimental, psychophysiological methods to understand emotion and cognition in healthy individuals and to uncover emotional and cognitive abnormalities in anxious and depressed individuals.
Motivation and Social Cognition Lab In our laboratory, we study motivation science across a variety of domains (health behaviors, academic achievement, attitude change, intergroup behavior, etc.). A primary focus is to understand the general processes of self-regulation, which means to uncover consistencies across both domains and levels of psychology. We also take a pragmatic, functionalist philosophical position, with an emphasis on the ecology of the person in understanding behavior and cognition.
Moving to a Learning Organization in the Wildlife Division Dr. Kevin Ford, Dr. Shawn Riley, Catherine Ott-Holland, Stanton Mak, and Emily Pacic
The study seeks to develop and implement a process of evaluation of the State of Michigan Wildlife Division strategic plan. The objectives of this study are to: (1) develop an evaluation process the defines metrics of performance relevant to becoming a learning organization; (2) determine factors affecting trust and credibility of the Division among segments of priority stakeholders; and (3) determine limiting factors to achieving increase quality and quantity of collaborative governance regarding wildlife management in Michigan Currently we are conducting a meta-analysis of inter-organizational trust. The project represents as collaborative effort between the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Psychology.
Sleep and Learning Lab The Sleep and Learning Lab investigates the acquisition and consolidation of complex skills and episodic memory. A primary focus of the lab is on memory consolidation, the processing of memory after initial acquisition. This processing can serve to change memory, often strengthening and stabilizing memory, and increasing resistance to forgetting. We approach this question from several different perspectives, with a special emphasis on the role of sleep in consolidating memory. While we do not understand much about the biological and psychological functions of sleep, there is growing evidence that sleep plays a role in the process of memory consolidation. The lab uses basic behavioral paradigms as well as implementing polysomnography during sleep and using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Timing, Attention & Perception Laboratory Work in the Timing, Attention, and Perception (TAP) Lab focuses on understanding how humans and other animals perceive the timing of events (e.g., duration, tempo, and rhythm) and use this information to (a) coordinate perception and action, (b) direct attention, and (c) in the case of humans, facilitate speech and language processing. We use a range of methodologies, including behavioral methods with children and adults, mathematical modeling, targeted lesions and pharmacological manipulations in animal models, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. With respect to language, TAP lab research focuses on both the pitch and time (prosodic) characteristics of spoken language and their role in speech perception, word segmentation, and lexical processing. In this regard, we are particularly interested in commonalities in the neural and cognitive underpinnings of music and language.
Lab for Social and Affective Neuroscience Research in our laboratory brings together two relatively new and rapidly expanding areas of neuroscience: social neuroscience and affective neuroscience. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in conjunction with physiological, behavioral and self-report measures to study the neural foundations of cognitive, affective, and personality processes in individual decision making and social interactions. Following an interdisciplinary approach, our hypotheses are drawn form social/affective neuroscience and theoretical propositions in social, organizational and medical psychology. Our study designs range from processing of visual stimuli, to variations on standard economic games such as the ultimatum game, to context-rich patient-provider interactions.
Mother and Babies Study Does stress during pregnancy affect women's and infant's physical and emotional health? Our research examines whether relationship conflict is a stressor that works like other stressors by affecting the body's stress system and emotional responses to stress. We are recruiting 160 women and their one-year old children. The women will include those with and without relationship conflict during pregnancy and those with and without relationship conflict during the first year of the child's life. Looking at differences among these women and children will allow us to understand how relationship conflict affects women and children at different times in their lives.
SaferSex Research The mission of our lab is to contribute to basic understanding of how to avert the HIV epidemic in the United States. The research we conduct focuses on adolescent and emerging adults at high risk of exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and on community-based efforts to prevent HIV among youth and young adults. Our lab has a particular focus on African American and sexual minority youth populations and efforts to protect their health and foster their well being. At the individual level, we seek to understand factors that impact on young people's ability to remain healthy. At the program level, we seek to identify programs and practices that help young people reduce their risk of exposure to HIV. At the organizational level, we seek to improve understanding of how HIV prevention programs are implemented in community settings, learn what organizational and environmental contingencies govern the application of evidence-based programs to community-based service provision, and examine the long-term consequences of implementing evidence-based programs and practices in community settings.
The Diversity Research Group Dr. Ann Marie Ryan, Christine M. Y. Kermond, Abdifatah A. Ali, Danielle D. King, Marissa Mann, Emily Pacic
On a broad level, we study diversity in the workplace. Specifically, we seek to understand how diversity interacts with other elements of the workplace, how and why members of various social identities manage their identity in a work context, the conditions under which certain identity management strategies are adopted, and the consequences of adopting such strategies. Our studies also focus on how diverse individuals experience discrimination in their attempts to enter and remain within the workforce and how this discrimination can be reduced. Currently, a number of our projects focus on the identity management strategies of job seekers of potentially stigmatized groups to answer questions such as: What strategies do individuals employ when they are concerned about facing discrimination in employment contexts? How do these strategies impact their job seeking behaviors? How do these strategies affect the effectiveness of their job search and employment outcomes? How can organizations design hiring processes to reduce the potential for unconscious bias and discrimination? We have completed or have in progress studies focusing on individuals from a diversity of backgrounds: female job applicants for male-dominated jobs, religious minorities (women who wear the hijab, Atheists) and majorities (Christian employees), individuals with physical and psychological disabilities, younger and older job-seekers, LGB employees, and others.
Personality and the Workplace Dr. Ann Marie Ryan, Marissa Mann, Patrick Wadlington (Birkman International), Fabian Elizondo (Birkman International),
This group is currently collecting data to examine the relationship of personality traits to the management of work-life boundaries, job embeddedness, beliefs about the malleability of personality, and other topics.
Michigan State University Adolescent Project (MSUAP) The Michigan State University Adolescent Project (in collaboration with Ingham County Circuit Court) has provided quality advocacy services to youth in Ingham County since 1976. Michigan State University trains undergraduate students as advocates to provide a strength-based intervention to youth who are referred by the Ingham County Circuit Court. The primary goal of MSUAP is to help youth avoid future involvement with the juvenile justice system. Advocates design intervention programs tailored to each youth's strengths, skills/abilities and unmet needs. The goals are accomplished by providing the youth with an oppurtunity to gain access to community resources, partake in civic engagement, etc.
Cross-culture Family and Work Behavior Study Dr. Frederick Leong, Dr. Ann Marie Ryan, JoAnn Lin, Dr. Hannah Nguyen, Morgan Showler
Scholars have long studied cultural differences on traits such as familism, collectivism-individualism, traditionality, and interpersonal relatedness. However, very few studies have linked these cultural differences in traits to other outcomes. This study develops a comprehensive model to examine how these traits might predict several individual and interpersonal outcomes such as self construal, interdependence with family, family conflict, perceptions on leadership, etc, and how these links vary across cultures. Currently, data have been or will be collected via questionnaires from several locations in US and Asia. Findings from this study would enhance theoretical understanding on cultural differences in the relationships between individual traits, and family and work behavior. They could also provide practical insights into how to better manage employees from different cultures.
ARI Computational Modeling & Team Simulation Lab Dr. Steve W. J. Kozlowski, Dr. Georgia T. Chao, Dr. Michael Braun, Dr. James Grand, Dr. Goran Kuljanin, Daniel Pickhardt, Stanton Mak, Derrick Stobaugh, & Emily Pacic
This research is building on our prior work that developed a computational model (CM) / agent-based simulation (ABS) coupled with a synthetic team task simulation to examine how collective team-level knowledge emerges from the interaction of individual experts as they each acquire problem-relevant knowledge, share it, and then leverage it to make a series of decisions (funded by ONR). We are now extending our work to develop a much more flexible CM architecture to study team leadership structures, team processes, and team adaptability to internal and external shocks. The agent teams will allow us to conduct "virtual experiments" to identify promising ways to improve team leadership, processes, and effectiveness.
International Career Adaptability Project Dr. Frederick T.L. Leong. Dr. Christopher Nye, Catherine Ott-Holland, Sinhui Chong
In 2008, psychologists from 15 different countries met in Berlin at the International Congress of Psychology to start work on the International Career Adaptability Project. As an extension of Donald Super’s model, the project’s aim was to create a model and measure for how individuals approach their careers during adulthood. The model consist of 4 dimensions: (a) becoming concerned about the vocational future, (b) taking control of trying to prepare for one's vocational future, (c) displaying curiosity by exploring possible selves and future scenarios, and (d) strengthening the confidence to pursue one's aspirations. Career adaptability denotes an individual's readiness and resources for handling current and anticipated tasks, transitions, and traumas in their occupational roles that, to some degree large or small, alter their social integration. We are currently working to validate the Career Adapt-abilities Inventory (CAI) as well as examining correlates of career adaptability such as subjective well-being, job satisfaction, work engagement, and other adaptability measures.
Moral Crediting and Workplace Behavior Dr. Chu-Hsiang Chang, Dr. Russell Johnson, Dr. John Schaubroeck, Catherine Ott-Holland
Previous work by Monin and Miller (2001) and others suggests that individuals “credit” themselves for engaging in moral behaviors. Conversely, engaging in selfish or unethical behaviors may cause individuals to notice a deficit in their moral credentials, leading to subsequent behaviors that have positive moral connotations. This “moral crediting” process may explain why altruistic behaviors often immediately follow self-centered behaviors, and vice versa. We are seeking to extend this framework to extra-role behaviors in the workplace. In our initial study, we established that examples of organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) have the properties of crediting behaviors (moral, altruistic, etc.) while examples of counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) have the properties of credit spending behaviors (unethical, selfish, etc.) We are currently conducting a lab study that explores whether recalling past OCBs or CWBs affects the likelihood of engaging in a subsequent altruistic behavior.
The NASA Lab - Studying Processes and Effectiveness in Lab, Field, and Astronaut Analog Teams Dr. Steve W. J. Kozlowski, Dr. Chu-Hsiang (Daisy) Chang, Samantha K. Baard, Simon Golden, Jessica Santoro, Rory Dixon, & Derrick Stobaugh
The primary focus of our research is on understanding and assessing the dynamics of team functioning. The research is designed to improve team effectiveness for long duration space crews (funded by NASA, $1.2M; $110k; $1.2M). The research has multiple studies in progress organized around two primary foci. First, we are conducting several data collections of "analog" team operating in isolated, confined, and extreme environments (i.e., the Antarctic and Mars mission simulations). These studies provide benchmark data on the dynamics of team functioning. Second, we are developing social interaction "badges" to capture team interaction dynamics in real time. Long term, the goal is to provide real time assessments of team functioning and to aid the team as needed to maintain effectiveness.
Emergency Medical Teams Research Group Dr. Steve W. J. Kozlowski, Dr. Georgia T. Chao & Dr. Rosemarie Fernandez (University of Washington), Dr. James A. Grand (University of Akron), Samantha K. Baard, Marina Pearce, Simon Golden, Jessica Santoro, Rory Dixon, & Emily Pacic
The Emergency Medical Teams research group is focused on bringing the science of team effectiveness to emergency medicine. Our team has developed an infrastructure capable of creating, manipulating, and assessing “synthetic” experiences. To this end, we have designed and tested event-based scenarios, behavioral measures, and data capturing techniques to utilize a high-fidelity patient simulator as an experimental research platform to study team processes and effectiveness. Our current research is focused on developing and evaluating team leader training. The research is funded by the Agency for Health Research Quality (AHRQ, $1M; another AHRQ $1M is starting in 2015).
Approach and Avoidance in Work Domains Dr. Russell Johnson, Dr. Chu-Hsiang Chang
We extended research on approach and avoidance motivations by investigating (a) motives in work organizations, (b) interactions among approach and avoidance motives, and (c) effects at implicit levels. Results of Studies 1-4 demonstrated that approach and avoidance work motives are markers of more general approach and avoidance temperaments, distinct from other personality traits (e.g., conscientiousness and self-esteem) and cognitive ability, and stable over time. Approach and avoidance motives predicted work-based mastery and performance goals. In Study 5 we found that motives predicted job satisfaction, organizational commitment, perceptions of support, and work-related strain at a later time. In addition, we observed significant approach by avoidance interactions. In Study 6 we found that approach and avoidance motives, and interactions between them, predicted task performance, citizenship and counterproductive behavior, and turnover cognitions at a later time. In the final study, we replicated the main and interactive effects of motives on behavior using an indirect measure that captures motives at implicit levels.
The Community Advocacy Project The Community Advocacy Project, an evidence-based program designed to help women survivors of intimate partner abuse re-gain control of their lives. This project, which is strengths-based and survivor-centered, can be incorporated into many domestic violence programs fairly easily and inexpensively. It has been shown to decrease women’s risk of re-abuse, and to increase their quality of life, level of social support, and ability to obtain the community resources they need.
MSU Child Emotions Lab Join us in learning about children's emotional life, including temperamental differences in emotional experience, and how these are related to the family environment and parents' personality and emotions.


Research Publications    
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2012Lucas, R. E., & Brent Donnellan, M. (2012). Estimating the reliability of single-item life satisfaction measures: Results from four national panel studies. Social Indicators Research, 105(3), 323-331. doi:10.1007/s11205-011-9783-z
2011Ingersoll, B., Meyer, K., & Becker, M. (2011). Short Report: Increased rates of depressed mood in mothers of children with ASD associated with the presence of the broader autism phenotype. Autism Research, 4, 143-148.
2011Hopwood, C.J., Donnellan, M.B., Blonigen, D.M., Krueger, R.F., McGue, M., Iacono, W.G., & Burt, S.A. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on personality trait stability and growth during the transition to adulthood: A three wave longitudinal study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 545-556.
2010Hopwood, C.J. & Donnellan, M.B. (2010). How should the internal structure of personality inventories be evaluated? Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14(3), 332-346.
2010Hopwood, C.J., Donnellan, M.B., & Zanarini, M.C. (2010). Temperamental and acute symptoms of borderline personality disorder: associations with normal personality traits and dynamic relations over time. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1871-1878.
2009Burt, S.A. & Donnellan, M.B. (2009). Development and validation of the Sub-Types of Antisocial Behavior questionnaire (STAB). Aggressive Behavior, 35, 376-398.
2008Burt, S. A., & Donnellan, M. B. (2008). Personality correlates of aggressive and non-aggressive antisocial behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 53-63.
2008Trzesniewski, K. H., Donnellan, M. B., & Robins, R. W. (2008a). Is “Generation Me” really more narcissistic than previous generations? Journal of Personality, 76, 903-917.
2008Donnellan, M. B (2008). A psychometric evaluation of two achievement goal inventories. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 68, 643-658.
2008Kashy, D. K., Donnellan, M. B., Burt, S. A., & McGue, M. (2008). Growth curve models for indistinguishable dyads using multilevel modeling and structural equation modeling: The case of adolescent twin’s conflict with their mothers. Developmental Psychology, 44, 316-329.