Skip to main content

Labs

Research and Applied Opportunities

research labs

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

Research

Senior Field Placement in Clinical Psychology (Psyc 090)

An opportunity for advanced psychology students to gain supervised experience in off-campus clinical settings. Students have completed placements in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, clinical research centers, psychiatric hospitals, special education settings, and crisis hotlines. Requirements include 8 hours per week in an off-campus placement, weekly meetings to discuss placement experiences and relevant readings, and a major term paper. Students are expected to have clinical contact with clients/patients and to have an on-site supervisor. Prerequisites: PSYC 001 and Psyc 038 and at least a B average. Students must apply in the Spring of their Junior year.

Perceptual Affective Neuroscience Lab: Brian Metzger

It’s often tempting to think that perception is a direct mapping from our senses to the physical world, such that we all share the same sensory experience. However, what we perceive is influenced by internal and external factors, including attention and emotional status. Our research draws from a variety of behavioral and neuroscientific methods including eye-tracking, EEG (scalp and intracranial), computational modeling, and neuromodulation to understand the cognitive, emotional, and perceptual neural processes that give rise to our experience of the world. As research assistants, students are encouraged to get involved in every aspect of research including experimental design, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of scientific findings. Please feel free to contact Brian Metzger at bmetzge1@swarthmore.edu.

Diet, Behavior, and Cognition Lab: Wambura Fobbs

The Diet, Behavior, and Cognition lab combines behavioral neuroscience techniques (behavioral tasks, pharmacology, fiber photometry, and optogenetics) to better understand the interplay between dietary experiences, behavior, and cognition. We use rodent models to ask questions about how different food environments and food choices (e.g. junk food and binge eating) impact affective states and cognitive performance through their actions in the brain. Students can get involved in the lab through PSYC 103 (Research Practicum in Behavioral Neuroscience), through thesis or independent research work, or as volunteers. Contact Professor Wambura Fobbs by email at wfobbs1@swarthmore.edu for more information.

Cognition and Perception Lab: Frank Durgin

The Cognition and Perception Laboratory at Swarthmore conducts research on systematic distortions in the perception of outdoor locomotor space as well as on perceptuo-motor calibration and multimodal feedback processes that allow us to nonetheless act accurately in space. The laboratory also investigates the processing of extended metaphor using eye-tracking during reading, ERPs, divided-visual-field techniques, and survey methods to study the communicative efficiency of figurative language. The laboratory is equipped with multiple stereo virtual reality and eye-tracking set-ups, as well as a variety of high-quality display generation equipment for psychophysical experiments on a variety of topics including unitization in numerosity perception.

COgnitive NEuroscience of Language And Bilingualism (CONE LAB): Benjamin Zinszer

In the CONE LAB we study how human brains learn language, represent linguistic information, and are shaped by our different learning experiences. We're especially interested in the solutions that learners find when provided conflicting information about categories. A very common example of this experience is bilingualism, where people learn not only two languages' worth of information, but they also manage conflicts in the ways that these languages organize the world. Our work includes all kinds of language learners, from babies to adults, and many levels of proficiency. We use behavioral, computational, and brain imaging methods (like EEG, fNIRS, and fMRI) to study the cognitive and neural systems that represent linguistic knowledge in people who speak one, two, or many languages.​

Link to Professor Zinszer's Introduction Video.

EEG/ERP Lab

Affiliated Faculty Members: Frank Durgin, Daniel Grodner, Catherine Norris, Benjamin Zinszer; Lab Research Fellow: Peiyao Chen

We use electrophysiological techniques (EEG, ERP) to measure the brain's electrical activity while participants engage in research studies. These studies include cognitive tasks such as language processing or visual perception, and social and emotional tasks such as gambling or face perception. The lab has two dense-array EEG systems that can be incorporated with eye-tracking, virtual reality, and/or brain-computer interface facilities.

Identity, Culture, and Immigration (ICI) Lab: Barbara Thelamour

In this lab, we focus on the interplay of cultural adjustment and identity development, predominantly in Black and immigrant adolescents and emerging adults. We also consider schools, both K-12 and colleges and universities, as settings that can promote or inhibit identity and subsequently academic and social-emotional outcomes. Last, relationships with peers, parents, and teachers are examined as facilitators of these processes. Our research will take place on college campuses, local schools, and community settings. We use both quantitative and qualitative methods to address these issues. Contact Prof. Barbara Thelamour (bthelam1@swarthmore.edu) for more information.

The Psycholinguistics Laboratory: Dan Grodner

The Psycholinguistics Laboratory investigates how people comprehend, produce, and acquire of language. Recent work explores how people take the perspective of others in communication, how adults and children learn to resolve linguistic ambiguity, and connections between language and memory. Students can get involved in the lab through PSYC 104 (Research Practicum in Language and Mind), through thesis or independent research work, or as volunteers. Contact Professor Dan Grodner by email at dgrodne1@swarthmore.edu for more information.

Resilience and Well-Being Lab: Jane Gillham

Our research focuses on: (1) identifying and understanding the personal, social, and contextual factors that promote resilience and well-being or that increase risk for psychological distress (e.g., depression, anxiety); (2) evaluating school- and community-based intervention programs designed to promote resilience and well-being. Most projects focus on adolescents (including middle and high school students) and young adults (including college students). Students can get involved in the lab through PSYC 109 (Research Practicum in Social and Emotional Well-Being), through thesis work, or as volunteers.

Social Neuroscience Lab: Catherine Norris

Our research approach is to examine social behavior using neuroscience methods, such as event-related brain potentials (ERPs), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and psychophysiological measures such as electrodermal activity (EDA), facial electromyography (EMG), and electrocardiography (ECG). We study a broad range of topics, including emotion, ambivalence, race bias, imitation and empathy, meditation and attention, and social rejection. One focus in the laboratory is on individual differences and personality, or how different people can respond to the same event in very different ways, and how these differences relate to mental and physical health.Students can get involved in the lab through PSYC 105 (Research Practicum in Social Neuroscience), through thesis or independent research work, or as volunteers. Contact Professor Catherine Norris by email at cnorris2@swarthmore.edu for more information.

Social Psychology Lab: Andrew Ward

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. Students can get involved in the lab through thesis work, through PSYC 094, or as volunteers.

Demonstrating Emotion-Environment Relationships Lab (DEER Lab): Dr. Tyler Jacobs

The DEER lab researches how we can leverage emotions and the self-concept to motivate pro-environmental action. Current research questions include: What are the benefits of expressing gratitude to nature for pro-environmental behavior and personal well-being? How does spending time in nature affect our sense of identity? How does exposure to extreme weather affect people’s beliefs in climate change? How can our relationships with pets lead to moral concern for nature? We examine these questions using diverse methods including lab experiments, field experiments, online samples, and analyzing “big data”. Currently, students can get involved with the lab through thesis, independent research work, or as volunteers. Contact Dr. Tyler Jacobs at tjacobs1@swarthmore.edu for more information.

Swarthmore OCD, Anxiety, and Related Disorders (SOAR) Lab: Jedidiah Siev

We are interested in the development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders, especially OCD. A common theme through much of our research is cognition, including meta-cognition (thinking about thinking), information-processing, and decision making in OCD. OCD is heterogeneous, and another emphasis is the symptom dimension referred to as unacceptable thoughts, which includes violent, sexual, and religious obsessions. Contact Professor Jed Siev by email at jsiev1@swarthmore.edu for more information.

Applied Opportunities

Senior Field Placement in Clinical Psychology: Jane Gillham and Beth Krause
Instructor for Spring 2023: Beth Krause

An opportunity for advanced psychology students to gain supervised experience in off-campus clinical settings. Students have completed placements in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, clinical research centers, psychiatric hospitals, special education settings, and crisis hotlines. Requirements include 8 hours per week in an off-campus placement, weekly meetings to discuss placement experiences and relevant readings, and a major term paper. Students are expected to have clinical contact with clients/patients and to have an on-site supervisor.

  • Prerequisites: PSYC 001
  • One of the Following: PSYC 038, PSYC 041, PSYC 050
  • Students must apply in the Spring of their junior year. 
  • Students applying must have at least a B average.