Labs and Research Projects

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Michigan School Program Information (MiSPI) Project

Using networks and the power of "six degrees of separation" to bring public school administrators and education researchers closer together to make informed decisions.

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SaferSex Research

Evaluating a series of community mobilizations and structural change interventions to link HIV-positve youth to medical care, promote HIV testing and prevent HIV infection among youth.

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Allman T.I:M.E. lab

Research in the T.I:M.E. lab includes behavioral psychophysical assessments of timing and time perception, and cognitive assessments of psychological time, temporality and mental time travel. Research focuses on how this develops in infancy through childhood to adulthood, and differences in individuals with psychiatric, behavioral and developmental disorders (particularly autism).

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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.

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Mother and Babies Study

Does stress during pregnancy affect womens and infants physical and emotional health? Our research examines whether relationship conflict is a stressor that works like other stressors by affecting the bodys 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 childs 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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MSU Child Emotions Lab

Join us in learning about childrens emotional life, including temperamental differences in emotional experience, and how these are related to the family environment and parents personality and emotions.

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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 womens 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.

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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.

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Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence

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.

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Cognitive Control Neurolab

Our research focuses on the cognitive processes necessary to achieve ones 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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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").

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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.

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Expertise Lab

We study the origins of skill in domains such as music, science, chess, and sports.

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Brascamp lab - Visual Neuroscience

Perception is a cognitive act. It happens when stored knowledge and intentions engage with the information that currently enters through the senses. This is why a person's eardrums or retinas, which contain little in terms of knowledge or intentions, can be said to sense but not to perceive, whereas the person as a whole perceives. Our research centers on the interactions in the brain that construct conscious visual perception out of retinal input. One way of summarizing these interactions is in terms of interpretation and selection.

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The Future of Urban Networks

Convening scholars from around the world in Belgium to figure out what we know, and what we still need to learn, about how networks make cities and communities work.

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Computational Basis of Cognitive Control Lab

Our memories define us as individuals, they record our personal histories on an autobiographical timeline. Memory is also central to our intellectual lives, as almost every cognitive task requires retrieving information from memory. Thus, memory is among our most important cognitive faculties. But some individuals are better at searching memory than others. And we all tend to get worse at searching memory as we grow older.

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Yan Lab

Focusing on the modulatory effects of ambient light on emotion and cognition. Besides its role in visual perception, light has profound effects on brain and behaviors. Such non-image forming effects include entraining circadian rhythms, promoting alertness or sleep (in diurnal or nocturnal species, respectively), and modulating emotion and cognition.

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MSU Clinical Neuroscience Lab

The goal of our lab is to understand the cognitive and biological mechanisms of psychotic disorders, with a focus on schizophrenia.

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