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Experience in a research lab is highly recommended if you are considering graduate school in the future. Research is also a great way to:

  • earn upper division course credit
  • gain invaluable experience 
  • make important connections that can lead to letters of recommendation

Psychology Undergraduate Advising recommends a minimum of two semesters of research experience if you plan on applying for a Master’s degree and a minimum of four semesters if you would like to apply for a PhD program.

If you are interested in research, this page can help you investigate which professor, research area, or current research topic may be an incredible fit for you. To get involved, follow the instructions that the professor has posted for inquiries; you may have an application to fill out, or may simply need to send the professor or listed contact person a short email expressing your interest in working as a research assistant in their lab.

If you need any additional assistance, please schedule an appointment with Psychology Undergraduate Advising or email psych.advising@psych.utah.edu


This lab has three overarching aims and interests, which are: (1) to build a better understanding of the mechanisms that maintain and underlie meaningful change in fear- and stress-based symptoms (e.g., anxiety, OCD and PTSD); (2) to improve outcomes that matter to a wider diversity of individuals so that we empower our communities and reduce ongoing health disparities; and (3) to harness technological and other innovations in order to broaden the access and scope of evidence-based interventions locally and globally.

STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES

As I get my new lab at the U started, I’m excited to prioritize training opportunities for students across various levels of training (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and doctoral candidates) to provide a range of research and clinical experiences for those who are interested in joining my lab. I highly value the role of mentorship, support and collaboration with students to help them reach and exceed their potential by providing a space to explore their own unique career paths and pursuits.

My research interests include the study of self-regulation (how people plan, control, and revise their own actions as they pursue long-term goals that are important to them) and the roles played by emotions and expectations in this process. Specific areas of interest include future-oriented thinking (optimism, proactive coping, and preventive behaviors), positive affect, and the processing of negative events and information. 

Our research group is currently conducting a number of interdisciplinary projects on many different aspects of couple interaction. These projects include studies of couple therapies and relationship education programs in the United States, Germany, and Australia, a study of couple based therapy for married couples where one spouse has been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, a study of the links between family violence and couple interaction, and a study of couple interaction during daily life.

Another major focus of our research group is the development of computational tools and statistical models for studying couple interaction. Most current projects involve collaboration with colleagues from a number of disciplines such as electrical engineering and biostatistics. As a result, our research group is active in a number of areas outside of clinical psychology including speech signal processing, affective computing, computational linguistics, and statistical modeling for multiply nested designs. These aspects of the lab make it an excellent fit for students with backgrounds both within and outside of clinical psychology, students with interests in couple interaction, couple therapy, and behavior & emotion, and creative thinkers who are excited about interdisciplinary collaboration.

Our lab is accepting applications for a limited number of volunteer RA positions that would begin immediately. If interested, please contact Feea Leifker to apply and for further information about opportunities in our lab.

RA opportunities

RAs will be involved with several studies related to couple relationships and health. Course credit is available for interested U students, but not required. If you meet the requirements below and are interested please email your CV (resume) and a copy of your unofficial transcripts to me.

Requirements for RAs

  • Particular interest in relationships and health
  • Able to commit at least 6 hours/week for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020
  • GPA 3.0 or higher

***I do not serve as a primary mentor to graduate students***

In the Life-Span Development Laboratory we examine how individuals across the life span together with close relationship partners adapt to their daily environments through joint cognitive, interpersonal, and emotional processes. We have found that individuals cope with daily problems frequently together, and that collaborative coping can facilitate cognitive performance, mood, and adherence to health regimens. We use a variety of methodological techniques including surveys, interviews, daily diaries, coding of interpersonal processes, and physiological measurements via both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs.

Student Opportunities

We are also looking for undergraduate research assistants who are excellent workers, as well as independent and able to take direction well. We are particularly interested in applicants who are majoring in psychology or a health-related field (at least in their sophomore year) with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. We do require at least 3 hours of work per week, and prefer 6, so only those students who are able to commit to that time should inquire. We will provide all the necessary training so no previous research experience is required, although any students who have had experience should not be discouraged from applying. Interested students should have some degree of computer experience (i.e., familiar with the internet and Microsoft Word and have access to email). Interested parties with special skills (e.g., bilingual with excellent communication skills in English and Spanish, data entry experience) are particularly encouraged to apply. Cindy Berg's Lab is looking for research assistants. If you are interested fill out the application. Download Application.

Contact Info for lab: 

Jessica Mansfield - jess.mansfield@psych.utah.edu                                    

Our research integrates systems concepts with quantitative innovations (statistical and methodological). Systems theory is essentially the study of change or how multiple components interact to form behavior that cannot be seen in its parts, but can be studied through its patterns in time. Systems theory is inherently interdisciplinary, sharing a language with mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry and more. Thus, it has its own jargon.

Additionally, many of the advanced approaches that fit a systems logic are designed in fields where a widget can be studied hundreds of thousands of times. Though we sometimes collect data in this manner, it is definitely not the norm for psychology. So, we are actively exploring new directions that are both systems approach and functional within psychological confine.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS

I am currently looking for graduate students interested in the quantitative aspects of dynamical systems theory. I work closely with several interdisciplinary teams to examine complex behavior and am currently working to have both cutting edge and approachable methods for doing systems analyses.

My research examines how an individual's psychology is shaped by his or her social group memberships. We seek to improve scientific understanding of diverse perspectives and provide empirical findings relevant to social issues.

Student Opportunities

My lab is currently full but we plan to recruit undergraduate students for research assistant positions for Fall Semester 2020. Interested students should email me between August 1-15, 2020 to request an application.

I am currently recruiting graduate students to work with me starting this Fall. Students have the opportunity to learn more about the fields of behavioral epigenetics and psychobiology with the goal of carving their own research niche in these areas. We will also be collecting data with pregnant women living in poverty and, ultimately, their newborns. Students will learn about how chronic and episodic life stress experienced by the mother while pregnant may shape infant physiological susceptibilities to their early environment. Students will learn about epigenetic and physiological methods with pregnant women and with infants.

Students also have the opportunity to publish on existing data sets that include a sample of 1,388 children with prenatal substance exposure, many of whom have also experienced significant stressful events in their early lives.

Are you an undergraduate interested in joining the lab? If so review our newsletter and fill out an application which can be found at canlab.psych.utah.edu

The Visual Perception and Spatial Cognition (VPSC) laboratory has many opportunities for undergraduate research assistants to participate in all aspects of our research. Our research is fun and interactive, involving tasks measuring space perception and spatial cognition in real and virtual environments. It is a great experience to add to graduate school applications as well! If interested, please email Dr. Creem-Regehr and see our lab web page.

Dr. Creem-Regehr will be considering graduate student applicants to start in Fall 2020. Please email her with your interests.

Student Opportunities

Students under my training will enjoy a wide range of opportunities and will be well prepared as both scientific researchers and clinicians. My research is conducted with highly complicated individuals, many of whom are facing their most difficult life challenges. Thus, clinical skills are developed in every interaction and scientific endeavors have meaningful implications for prevention and treatment. Currently, I am co-directing an NIMH-funded study of emotion dysregulation among pregnant women and potential epigenetic effects on children. With my collaborators, I also have ongoing research on adolescent depression, adult substance use, genetics of suicide, childhood trauma, personality disorders, sleep, and relationship processes. Almost all of my work involves rich biological and contextual measures (e.g., psychophysiological methods, interpersonal dynamics), with the goal of promoting a nuanced understanding of risk and resilience. The psychological conditions I study affect individuals from all backgrounds, although the burden is most often borne by those with few available resources for treatment. Students who are interested in examining issues of diversity, disempowerment, and oppression will find the Department of Psychology to be an engaging environment for this line of research, and I encourage interested students to review the work on my ResearchGate page, which I update regularly.

My interests are focused on the development and application of methods for the analysis of intensive, intraindividual time series. In particular I focus on the development and application of derivatives, differential equation modeling, and dynamical systems concepts to time series that have characteristics common to behavioral and some physiological measures such as relatively low sampling rates, large amounts of measurement and/or dynamic error, and unequally spaced or missing observations. In analyzing such data, I often focus on questions related to the role of variability and less-stable change (the “error” in many statistical models). These methods have the potential to inform theories that address how, when and why people change over time.

I have worked with a range of applied topics including: resiliency and affect in older adults, health and depression as long-term outcomes of daily stress processing, sustained attention while driving, adult attachment, the coupling of maternal depression with child behavior, modeling of proteins associated with Alzheimer's, mood change in patients with rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and the motion of dancing individuals and dyads.

STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES

I am currently looking for graduate students interested in combining expertise in quantitative methods for modeling repeated observations with Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Cognition & Neural Science, or Clinical Psychology.

My research focuses on sexuality, gender, and intimate relationships, and their implications for health and well-being over the life course. My primary research areas include (1) fluidity in sexual and gender expression among women and men, (2) biological underpinnings of sexual desire and experience, (3) the impact of early-life adversity on social and sexual development, and (4) the implications of sexual well-being for physical and mental health.  In addressing these questions, I use a diverse range of research methods, including longitudinal observation across multiple time spans, controlled laboratory experiments, and collection of biomarkers (such as oxytocin, cortisol, and markers of systemic inflammation).

Student Opportunities

I am currently seeking motivated undergraduate students to assist with my current research project investigating the health implications of sexual activity among heterosexual and non-heterosexual women. Contact me directly for more information!

I am currently seeking motivated graduate and undergraduate students to assist with a variety of current research projects which involve studying: 
1). The role of visual attention in diagnostic radiology.
2). The electrophysiological underpinnings of visual attention and working memory.
3.) The interactions between searching through memory and searching through visual space.

Contact me directly for more information!

Graduate students would ideally have some experience with Attention, working memory, medical image perception, EEG, ERPs, or Eye-tracking. 

Cognition in context, medical decision making, human error in medicine, human factors, visualization, and visual attention.

AUTONOMOUS DRIVING - We have three ongoing research projects examining human interaction with autonomous vehicles. We are looking at how cognitive workload, distractions, and physiological measures affect quantitative and qualitative reactions.

ADHERENCE ENGINEERING - A current research study uses a controlled laboratory paradigm to determine the underlying factors that contribute to lack of handwashing adherence in health care settings.

COMMUTER SAFETY ON CAMPUS - This study aims to address the dangerous interactions between bikers and pedestrians around campus. We are identifying problem areas and will use an applied human factors approach remedy conflict. Results of this study will be presented to the University's campus safety to potentially increase the safety of commuters.

PERCEPTUAL JUDGEMENTS - We are evaluating how people perceive sizes of objects in digital images based on different rotations in space. We are interested in determining if using a body as a frame of reference increases accuracy in discrimination of size.

Student Opportunities

Our lab supports students pursuing the Human Factors Certificate, senior thesis projects, and those who are interested in gaining research lab experience

As an overarching goal of my career, I seek to leverage knowledge from both evolutionary biology and developmental science to address core issues in developmental psychopathology, especially in relation to child and adolescent health. This work employs life history theory to model stress-health relations over the life course.  A major emphasis of my research has been the development of Biological Sensitivity to Context theory and its recent extension the Adaptive Calibration Model, which focus on how our biobehavioral systems respond to specific features of family environments and the larger ecological context.  My empirical work examines the impact of fathers, family relationships, and socioecological conditions on children’s biological stress responses, timing of pubertal development, risky adolescent behavior and cognition, and related health outcomes.  In addition to this basic research, I am interested in real-world applications in the form of theoretically-based interventions

Student Opportunities

Research opportunities will be available for students interested in conducting research on social and cognitive adaptations to harsh environments. Please contact Bruce Ellis.

Opportunities for Students

Prospective Applicants for Fall 2021: Thank you for your interest in our lab! I will be reviewing applications for the current recruitment cycle. However, due to uncertainties related to the ongoing pandemic, it is not guaranteed that the lab will ultimately be able to recruit a new student. In light of that, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to review the information on this pagebefore deciding to apply.

Students who are apt to have the best fit with the lab are those seeking a career in clinical neuropsychology, and who also have a strong interest in electrophysiology and neural mechanisms of cognition. Prior experience with electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and/or programming is highly valued, as is prior experience in clinical settings or with patient populations.

Students who join the lab will have many opportunities to contribute to the projects described above, and to develop their own novel directions that are consistent with the general laboratory focus.

Behavioral understanding and treatment of obsessive compulsive-spectrum disorders with an emphasis on Tourette & tic disorders; Dissemination of empirically supported interventions- especially through technology (e.g., telehealth and online/computerized treatment protocols); Behavioral Skills Training.

Student Opportunities

Undergraduates interested in learning more about research projects in the lab, or to apply as an undergraduate research assistant, please contact my graduate students at theticlab@utah.edu

  1. Cancer patients and their family caregivers: My team collected quantitative data on cancer patients and their family caregivers (dyads). By analyzing who they are, how they cope with cancer, and what supports they need, we are developing psycho-social support programs both for cancer patients and for family caregivers.
  2. People with severe neurological disorders: My team will collect both qualitative and quantitative data on the experience of people with ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease) and of people with MS (multiple sclerosis). We aim to investigate the mental health of the patients and their family caregivers. As the first study on the topic in S.Korea, the research will initiate in March 2020.

As a developmental psychopathologist, my research focuses on the developmental processes that contribute to risk or resilience across the lifespan. I have long-standing interests in understanding and ameliorating the effects of trauma and violence on child development and family processes, including studies of interparental conflict, family violence, maltreatment, parent-child discord, and other forms of trauma exposure

The main focus of my lab's current program of research concerns the quest to better understand the mechanisms accounting for the link between childhood trauma and adolescent delinquency. We have received a grant from the National Institute of Justice for a 4-year (Jan 2015 – Dec 2019) longitudinal study investigating the emotional, cognitive, interpersonal, and psychophysiological mechanisms underlying the link between various forms of trauma exposure and youth's involvement in the juvenile justice system. This project provides many opportunities for students to be involved in data collection, analyses, and publications.

Student Opportunities

I maintain an active lab group and involve students in all phases and aspects of my research. Undergraduates wishing to join our lab are welcome to complete an application, available on our lab webpage.

The Social Development Lab is jointly supervised by Dr.'s Monisha Pasupathi and Cecilia Wainryb. At our lab, we study how children, adolescents, and adults of various ages make sense of their own and others' moral transgressions, interpersonal conflicts, and other self-relevant experiences. We are interested in the developmental effects of both everyday events and conflicts - for example when friends disagree about what game to play - and more large-scale, societal events and conflicts - for example, when individuals are involved in violent political happenings of their country. We are also interested in understanding how close others, in particular parents, siblings, and friends, either support or hinder individuals' attempts to make sense of and integrate social and self-relevant experiences within their sense of self. We employ both developmental (e.g., narratives, structured interviews, and observations) and experimental designs, with an emphasis on quantitative approaches. Our most recent work focuses on the factors that influence whether people in conflict feel heard by one another.

Student Opportunities

We are currently seeking volunteer research assistants to help with all of our projects. For credit only, 2-3 credits, 6-9 hours per week. Students interested in ultimately doing an honors thesis are especially encouraged to apply. Email Professor Monisha Pasupathi (monisha.pasupathi@psych.utah.edu) with: GPA in psychology, past coursework, research and career interests long-term. You'll get a response from the faculty member (Wainryb or Pasupathi) or graduate student whose projects have the best fit with your interests.

Research in my lab is centered on understanding the nature of language and memory systems across the adult lifespan, how these systems are modulated by attentional control, and the functional organization of these systems in the human brain. We take an interdisciplinary approach to this work, merging theoretical models from the cognitive and neural sciences, gerontology, linguistics, and quantitative and experimental psychology, as well as adopting a multi-method approach including the non-invasive measurement of brain activity (e.g., event-related brain potentials), human performance (e.g., eye-movement control), and physiology (e.g., pupillometry).

Research topic interests in the lab range across a number of fields including: Cognitive and brain aging, sentence processing, semantic memory, working memory, cognitive electrophysiology, eye-movement control, intraindividual variability, cognitive interventions

Student Opportunities

Interested in joining the lab? Contact me for information about opportunities at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral level.

Undergraduate: Research assistants, honors thesis students, and human factors certificate program.

How do early experiences with caregivers shape individuals’ social, emotional, and cognitive development? What are the neurobiological processes that underlie these effects? Are interventions that target the early parent-child relationship effect at promoting healthy development among at-risk populations?

Student Opportunities

Our undergraduate research assistants are a very important element to our research. Currently, there are several opportunities for undergraduate students to assist with current research projects in the lab. If you are interested in joining our team, please go to the Early Experience Lab website. On the 'Students' tab, you will find a newsletter outlining the lab’s current activities, information on being a research assistant, and an application to apply as a Research Assistant.

My current research examines these processes in the context of cancer genetic testing and other health-risk communications that offer people the opportunity to proactively manage cancer risk through prevention and early detection. I am also interested in the different ways in which people think about genetic causes (for example, of mental and physical health outcomes) and whether they are modifiable through behavioral or environmental factors.

Lab contact Info: Kate Warnock – utahadoptionproject@gmail.com

I am fortunate to be collaborating with a number of colleagues who are leaders in their fields. Much of our work is concerned with the basic processes through which decisions are made. One line of research with Steve Posavac investigates the dynamics of serial decision making. These are decisions in which alternatives are assessed one at a time and where people often pass on good options in the hopes of later encountering better options. We are also beginning work on singular choice and are hoping to continues our studies of the role of the self in task decisions.

We have also been engaged in applied decision-making research on driving safety and performance. David Strayer and I have conducted several studies investigating the causes and consequences of distracted driving. Our research has also examined more generally why people multi-task. Interestingly, our findings indicate that the people who multi-task the most tend to be the worst at it. More recently, we have begun investigating the important factors affecting the acceptance and adoption of technologies designed to improve driving safety. Our research shows that people are often resistant to automated driving systems because of ignorance or negative attitudes toward technology. We have also begun investigating how automated systems designed to increase driving safety are utilized and experienced by consumers.

Finally, we have broad interests in the science of science. We believe that our knowledge of basic inference processes provides us with a unique perspective on how science works. Some of this research examines the strategies used by scientists to test their hypotheses and theories. We are also writing a series of papers on disciplinary differences in theory development, methodology, and organization. This work should help people to understand how and why fields such as psychology and economics differ from the natural sciences.

Student Opportunities

We are recruiting undergraduate students for research assistant positions. Interested students should email me directly.

I will not be recruiting a graduate student to begin our program next fall.

My research interests focus on intrinsic motivation; self-regulation of motivation; gender differences in motivation for math and science; life span development differences in self-regulation; and self-regulation of motivation in online learning.

Most of my research addresses personality and social risk factors for cardiovascular disease. I am interested in the application of theory and methods from the interpersonal tradition in clinical, personality, and social psychology to the conceptualization and assessment of psychosocial risk factors for disease, and to the study of the psychophysiological mechanisms linking risk factors to disease. A basic premise of this perspective is that personality characteristics are reciprocally related to characteristics of the social environment. Over long periods of time and throughout the course of personality and social development, people shape and are shaped by their relationships and the social contexts they inhabit. This transactional process through which people influence and are influenced by social contexts, in turn, can impact the individual's risk for serious illness.

Student Opportunities

Interested students please contact Kim

I am interested in understanding how people perceive, act in, and remember the spaces around them. For example, how do we perceive the steepness of hills or the magnitude of heights? How do we effectively navigate spaces and remember where we have been? Theoretically, my research addresses whether a person’s bodily states, be they emotional, physiological, or physical, and their bodily size modulates their perception of and memory for spatial layout (e.g., distance, slopes, height, and size). To conduct this research, I gather data in outdoor natural settings, indoors in hallways or buildings, and in mixed realities (virtual and augmented environments). I also test a wide range of age groups to further examine how the relationship between emotion and spatial cognition develops and changes over the lifespan. I find my work rewarding because I strive to make it applicable to issues beyond psychology, including but not limited to the design and development of virtual environments for simulation and training, the participation of women in STEM fields, and the treatment of anxiety disorders and phobias.

Student Opportunities

I love hearing from students interested in joining our research group as an undergraduate research assistant, graduate student, or postdoctoral scholar. Please email me your credentials if interested.

Attention and Performance, Skill Acquisition and Skilled Performance, Mathematical Modeling of Human Performance, Cognitive Psychophysiology (eye tracking, EEG), Cognition in the Wild (Attention Restoration Theory), Cognitive Distraction in the Vehicle

My work examines how attention functions within multiple research domains, from assessing the limits of human multitasking ability while performing complex tasks such as driving, to studying how attentional capacities can be restored by interacting with nature. We use converging methodologies in our lab to measure changes in both attention and performance, from psychophysiological (EEG and fMRI), subjective ratings, to primary (e.g., driving performance) and secondary task (e.g., reaction time) measures.

Student Opportunities

We regularly have undergraduate research assistant volunteer positions available at the beginning of Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters. Contact my graduate students for more information.

Contact Info:

ConVExA Lab

Contextually Valid Executive Assessment (ConVExA) is a model developed in our laboratory with the goal of improving our ability to use measures for executive functioning for prediction of functional outcomes. The model posits that (a) the association between Executive Functioning (EF) and functional outcomes (e.g., instrumental activities of daily living, functional independence, medication management, driving ability, etc.) is moderated by certain contextual factors (e.g., sleep, pain, stress, life complexity) and/or certain individual-difference factors (e.g., demographics, personality, IQ etc.), whereas (b) the association between certain contextual and individual-difference factors and functional outcomes is mediated by EF

Exective Functioning Lab

Executive Functioning (EF) refers to those neurocognitive abilities that allow one to plan, select, and execute actions that are purposeful and adaptive, goal-directed and future-oriented, and socially informed (Suchy, 2015, p. 10).

Lab Location: 1119 BEHS

Student Opportunities

I will be recruiting a new graduate student for Fall 2019. I will be looking for students who are interested in neuropsychological research on normal and abnormal aging, and on identifying (a) early preclinical markers of cognitive decline among older adults and (b) markers that signal risk of executive lapses in daily life, as they relate to the ConVExA model (described above).

Currently, we are starting a large project that will follow the daily functioning of community dwelling older adults in their homes. We are interested in seeing how executive functioning interacts with personal characteristics (e.g., IQ, personality) and with a variety of potentially deleterious contextual factors (e.g., poor quality of sleep, experience of pain, emotion regulation demands, complexity of daily life) in predicting risk of daily functional lapses.

Students in my laboratory are motivated to generate publications, and are generally well published by the time they leave graduate school.

Our program of research has been aimed at examining how social relationships influence health at multiple levels of analysis. We have been examining the social (e.g., types of social interactions), cognitive (e.g., how these interactions are interpreted or construed), and physiological (e.g., cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune) processes associated with our all-important social relationships (see Uchino, Cacioppo, & Kiecolt-Glaser, 1996; Uchino, 2004; Uchino, 2009 for reviews). For instance, in our program of research we have found that perceptions of supportive relationships predicts reduced cardiovascular reactivity during stress (Uchino & Garvey, 1997; Uno, Uchino, & Smith, 2000), lower blood pressure in older adults (Uchino, Kiecolt-Glaser, & Cacioppo, 1992; Uchino et al., 1995; Uchino et al., 1999), and lower ambulatory blood pressure during daily life (Bowen et al., 2013).

Lab Contact Info: healthandrelationshipslab@gmail.com

My work explores how children and adolescents make sense of interpersonal and group conflict situations, especially the types of conflicts in which one or both parties feel hurt or mistreated. I'm particularly interested in how the specific ways in which children interpret these experiences both affect their actual behavior in conflict situations and further their moral development. I have studied this process by interviewing children about hypothetical conflict situations (Shaw & Wainryb, 2006; Wainryb, Shaw, Langley, Cottam & Lewis, 2004; Komolova & Wainryb, 2011) and, also, by eliciting children's narrative accounts of their own conflict experiences (Wainryb, Brehl, & Matwin, 2005; Pasupathi & Wainryb, 2010a; Recchia, Wainryb, & Pasupathi, in press; Wainryb & Recchia, forthcoming-a).

STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES

We are currently seeking volunteer research assistants to help with projects relating to: social and moral development; self and identity development; parent-child interactions; peer interactions; group identity and discrimination. Depending on individual interests and experience, volunteers may be involved in recruiting participants, assisting with interviews, transcribing audio files, entering and coding data. If you are interested in being a part of our research team, please email me (wainryb@psych.utah.edu) and tell me a bit about yourself. Including a copy of your transcript and academic/employment references would also be helpful. Students interested in doing a senior thesis are especially encouraged to apply. Email me with: GPA in psychology, past coursework, research and career interests long-term.

My research interests can be placed in three "P's" of social psychology: persuasion, prejudice/ethnic issues, and performance. The question we ask can be simplified to "what motivates behavior" in these areas. In this pursuit, the three areas often overlap in our investigations.

For persuasion, the main focal points are what role does ethnicity/stigma play in persuasion and what happens when we are not motivated or able to pay attention to a message. We explore how the characteristics of the source or target of a message (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation) affects the persuasiveness and attention given to the communication. Also, we are investigating the possible differential impact that motivation and ability may have on attitude change. In addition, work is underway to investigate the phenomenon of stealing thunder as a persuasive technique and its possible limitations.

For prejudice, we examine the effects of subtle prejudice via persuasion and stereotype trait paradigms. Our main focal point is the development of models for intergroup relations that include the viewpoint of different stigmatized groups toward themselves and other such groups (e.g., African Americans relationships with Asian Americans). In addition, work is underway to explore how and why certain interactions are labeled as prejudicial.

For performance, we investigate what motivates performance and the factors that may undermine performance. We examine how evaluation by self or others influences affects performance on a task and the impact evaluation has on goal setting. Also, we explore when people may underachieve for social reasons (e.g., not hurt someone's feelings) and the role it may play in group identity/formation. In addition, research is underway to examine the effects of stereotype threat and the impact of its elimination on the performance of those considered not at risk.

Research Interests 

Broadly speaking, my research focuses on individual differences in risk and resilience for adverse mental and physical health outcomes, and potential mechanisms underlying these associations. The individual differences of interest include personality, cognitive (especially executive) functioning, and psychophysiological factors (especially tonic respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]). My program of research focuses on the inter-relations among these individual differences in risk and resilience in the context of stress regulation (i.e., stress exposure, reactivity, recovery, and restoration). Current research is particularly focused on restoration and stress, including 1) phenotypic and endophenotypic characteristics of habitual short sleepers; and 2) individual differences in the experience of aesthetic stimuli (i.e., art, nature, and beauty).

 

 

Last Updated: 6/4/21