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Getting involved in research is easy!Save the date

There are a variety of ways to get involved in research with the Psychology department, including:

Ask your academic advisor or our lab technician about current opportunities to get involved!

 Current research

 2016-17 Honours thesis research

 T-Jay Anderson

For my thesis, I am looking at how caffeine affects attention in patients with schizophrenia versus healthy populations. We are using electrodes placed on the scalp to measure the brain activity of attentive processes that we perform all the time without conscious effort. Our brain automatically separates sounds that we need to pay attention to, from those we don’t without trying. It’s this process that is theorized to be deficient in those with schizophrenia and may help us better understand the presence of auditory hallucinations. Since caffeine helps this attention process it may be the reason that patients with schizophrenia consume so much caffeine. We want to see if this process is improved when patients are given caffeine relative to a placebo. Additionally, we will be investigating if patients experience more improvement compared to their healthy control counterparts.

 Megan Muise

My research study is examining how forgiveness might influence people's memories for emotional events. I am asking participants to write about two of the worst things people have ever done to them: one in which they forgave the person, and one in which they did not. I will study the emotional response to the recollections by asking them questions about how vivid their memories are as well as measuring their physical response to the memory  (e.g., measuring heart rate).

 Kathleen WalshI am conducting my thesis with 3- and 4-year-olds, looking into how they are able to use symbols (e.g. pictures, written words, etc.) to boost their attention. Previous research demonstrates they are able to do this, but I want to study how it works; specifically how their understanding of symbols in general might help this boost. I am also looking at whether or not symbols help children to separate themselves from the task they are doing, making it easier for them to think through the task. I am doing this by having the children play a number of different games that require children to use their attention to resist temptation and control their impulses. Sometimes children get to use symbols during the tasks and sometimes not, to see under what circumstances the symbols are effective in helping performance.
 Emily WoodFeatures in language such as rhythm and intonation are known as prosody, and help us communicate with others. In particular, prosody helps us interpret the emotions being expressed in spoken sentences. Prosody also exists in silent reading, but its role in understanding emotions in text is currently unclear. My thesis is looking at the role prosody has in emotional understanding of poetic texts by manipulating the rhythm of different poem segments. I want to see whether or not this manipulation interferes with people’s interpretation of what they read.

 Other research projects

 Sean O'RourkeUnder the supervision of Dr. Christine Lackner, Sean O'Rourke, a Research Masters of Arts student, recently completed a series of comprehensive research papers focusing on the neurophysiological consequences of exposure to stress in indigenous populations.  Neuroscientific literature has demonstrated long-term changes to the stress response and gene transcription systems following stress and adversity, but little research has focused on how these neurobiological changes may influence the historically disadvantaged indigenous population.  This comprehensive literature review is currently being prepared for journal submission.