research labs

Faculty and students engage in research and development activities in various arenas of Psychology through laboratories operating in the Department.

Child Development Lab

Investigations in the child development laboratory concern how children learn concepts and acquire word meanings, particularly concepts of artifacts. Research takes place both in the laboratory on campus and in local preschools.


We use electrophysiological techniques (EEG, ERP) to measure the brain's electrical activity while participants engage in cognitive tasks like language processing or visual perception.  The lab has two dense-array EEG systems that can be incorporated with eye-tracking, virtual reality, and/or brain-computer interface facilities.  The lab allows for 10-12 undergraduates to take on research positions each semester.  Students who participate in the lab for more than a year often go on to do advanced research (e.g., honors thesis) in collaboration with a faculty advisor.

Physiological Lab

Emotion plays a critical role in regulating the strength of retention. The work in the physiological psychology laboratory has sought to clarify this relationship by investigating the neurochemical systems and brain areas involved in enhancement and impairment of memory formation related to emotion.

Social Psychology Lab

The social psychology lab investigates issues relevant to how individuals think about and behave in the presence of others. Particular areas of inquiry include self-regulation, conflict and negotiation, and strategies and shortcomings of social perception.

Visual Perception Lab

The Visual Perception Laboratory at Swarthmore conducts research on visual adaptation and calibration, perceptuo-motor calibration, visual attention, face recognition, visual consciousness, and cognitive interference. The laboratory is equipped with stereo virtual reality and eye-tracking equipment, as well as a variety of high-quality display generation equipment for psychophysical experiments. The laboratory hosts four or five high school and college students in research positions each summer.