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Department of Psychology

University of Mississippi

Labs for Psy 405 & 420

Course and research descriptions for individual faculty members who supervise students in Psy 405 and Psy 420.

Dr. Michael Allen, Psychophysiology.
Dr. Allen’s areas of research are cardiovascular psychophysiology and cardiovascular behavioral medicine. He is currently working on a project that is examining the relationships of behavioral characteristics such as impulsivity and anxiety with measures of autonomic nervous system activity such as heart rate variability. Work in his lab would entail attending laboratory meetings, learning how to use psychophysiological equipment, and assisting in running studies. It is preferable that the student have completed PSY 202 and one of the laboratory classes in psychology.

Dr. Alan M. Gross, Clinical Psychology.
Students interested in working on ongoing research projects may inquire about the availability of opportunities to work with Dr. Gross, or a graduate student who is conducting research. Current projects involve:
1. Alcohol expectancies and sexual coercion
2. Emotional regulation and aggressive behavior in children
3. Contextual variables in Date rape

Dr. Elicia Lair, Social Psychology.
Dr. Lair’s research is focused on how feelings and thinking styles interact. Current work examines how feelings and thinking styles influence social impressions, voting preferences, moral judgments, and visual perceptions, among other topics. Research assistants working in the lab attend a weekly lab meeting (about 1 hour) and contribute approximately 8 hours per week to conduct ongoing research. Prerequisites include an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, a filled-out application form found on the lab website, and consent of the instructor.
For more information see: or contact Dr. Lair at

Dr. Danielle J. Maack, Clinical Psychology.
Dr. Maack is the director of the ADEPT lab. The research in the ADEPT lab broadly fits into the following domains: Anxiety, Depression, Emotion, Personality and Temperament. More specifically, current research interests are in the domains of disgust sensitivity, emetophobia (fear of vomiting), the constructs of reinforcement sensitivity theory and psychopathology.

Students working in the ADEPT lab are strongly encouraged to attend lab meetings and are expected to commit at least 4 – 10 hours per week for at least a semester (a two semester commitment is preferred). Students taking a 405 or 420 course work closely with all members of the ADEPT Lab (including faculty, graduate students, and other research assistants). Duties vary but can include assisting with subject recruitment; helping with laboratory studies; conducting semi-structured clinical interviews; coding, entering, and analyzing data; and helping to present study results at professional meetings and in scientific publications. Interested prospective students with GPAs of at least 3.5 may contact Dr. Maack at for further information and a lab application.

Dr. Mervin Matthew, Cognitive and Social Psychology.
Dr. Matthew focuses on how our social identities affect the processes through which we make decisions. Current projects examine 1) cross-cultural differences in decision processes and 2) the evolution of extreme attitudes toward relevant out-groups. Students working with Dr. Matthew will be expected to engage in a combination of testing subjects, conducting literature reviews, and performing other tasks in line with their qualifications. Proficiency with statistics and/or computer programming are especially welcome but not required.

Dr. Marilyn Mendolia, Social Psychology.
Dr. Mendolia (Office-Peabody 302 A) accepts from 3 to 5 students each Fall and Spring Semester to work on special research projects. Each student works for approximately 10 hours per week in the laboratory.

Dr. Mendolia’s research is in the area of emotion. Students attend weekly laboratory meetings and contribute to a specific research project.

Other laboratory responsibilities may include data entry (e.g., coding and entering data using a computer), minor statistical analyses, and discussion of various research articles.

Dr. Stephanie Miller, Developmental Psychology.
Dr. Miller’s research is focused on cognitive and social development in children from 18 months to early school age. Current work examines how children control their thoughts and behavior, and how that control is related to other social and cognitive factors like social understanding, friendship, and memory. Research assistants working in the lab attend a weekly lab meeting (about 1 hour) and contribute approximately 8 hours per week to ongoing research (including evenings and weekends). Prerequisites include an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and consent of the instructor. For more information see or contact Dr. Miller at

Dr. Nick Prins, Cognitive Psychology.
Dr. Prins studies visual perception. Most of your time in PSY 405 will be spent acting as a participant in research on low-level visual processes. Testing is self-paced and typically not very demanding. Scheduling of hours (about 4 hrs/week) is very flexible as you will learn how to get the experiment up and running yourself after which you can test without supervision. During meetings the background, purpose and results of the research will be discussed. Requirements are that you are reliable (i.e., show up for the times that you have signed up for) and take the testing seriously.

Dr. Matt Reysen, Cognitive Psychology.
Students interested in working on research projects involving: False memory, social influences on memory performance, and other basic memory phenomena, are invited to inquire about the availability of opportunities to work on these and other related projects.

Dr. Karen Sabol, Behavioral Neuroscience.
Student participation in Psy 405 and Psy 420 involves coming to the laboratory 6-8 hours/week to test rats in one of the ongoing experiments. Scheduling each semester depends on the needs of the experiment, and students’ individual schedules. Students learn how to handle rats, conduct the experimental procedure, read scientific articles relevant to the experiment, analyze and interpret data. Students attend weekly lab meetings to discuss the status of the different research; students are asked to present scientific articles to the research group during lab meetings. A term paper is required for Psy 420.

Research in Dr. Sabol’s laboratory focuses on the effects of the abused drug, methamphetamine in the rat. She is interested in determining the long-term effects of methamphetamine on attention, learning, and memory. Other areas of focus include an animal model of attention, and the neurochemical basis of temperature regulation.

Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor; an A or B in 322 (Drugs and Behavior), 390 (Behavioral Neuroscience Lab), or Psy 319 (Brain and Behavior).

Dr. Stefan E. Schulenberg, Clinical Training Program, Department of Psychology.
Director, University of Mississippi Clinical-Disaster Research Center (UM-CDRC). Dr. Schulenberg’s research interests include clinical-disaster psychology, meaning and purpose in life (see for example, Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy), positive psychology, psychological assessment, serious mental illness, and adolescent psychopathology in the legal context.

Dr. Schulenberg co-organizes Out of the Darkness community walks with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and serves as a disaster mental health volunteer in the American Red Cross. He was a mental health consultant on a National Science Foundation research grant issued in response to Hurricane Katrina, and recently conducted evaluation research funded by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health relating to the effects of the Gulf Oil Spill (Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill).

Dr. Schulenberg serves as the Director of the University of Mississippi’s Clinical-Disaster Research Center (UM-CDRC), an integrated research, teaching, training, and service Center with a primary emphasis in disaster mental health and a related emphasis in positive psychology.

Expectations. Students are expected to attend weekly lab meetings (2 hours per week) and to work an additional 6 hours in the laboratory (e.g., collecting data, entering/double-checking data, conducting literature searches, reading/discussing articles, developing papers or posters). Dr. Schulenberg’s research team is involved with a variety of research, teaching, training, and service projects, which presents varied opportunities for student participation in the community.

Prerequisites. Required: An overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, along with consent of the instructor.
Recommended: PSY 417 (Disasters and Mental Health) or PSY 430 (Positive Psychology).

Interested prospective students may contact Dr. Schulenberg at for further information.

Dr. Carrie Smith, Social Psychology.
Dr. Smith is interested in studying how people’s conceptualizations of themselves and their motivations affect their interpersonal experiences (e.g., satisfaction, behaviors). For example, do people who have more interpersonal reasons for having sex have interactions that are more satisfying than people who have more self-focused motivations. She is also interested in examining people’s perceptions of their daily social experiences. More specifically, she focuses primarily on how various situational factors and individual differences affect the way people navigate their daily social lives – who are we friends with? What are social interactions like?

Working in Dr. Smith’s lab involves meeting approximately twice a week and being available to run studies (including evenings and weekends). Students will be exposed to all aspects of the research process, from idea generation to measure selection, data collection to data analysis. Dr. Smith has approximately 3-5 students in her lab each semester. Summer positions are also available.

Students interested in working with Dr. Smith must have taken both Psy 201 and 202, earning a B in each course. In addition, students must have taken or currently be enrolled in Psy 392 or 394. Students must have permission from Dr. Smith before enrolling in either 405 or 420.

Dr. Todd A. Smitherman, Clinical Health Psychology.
Dr. Smitherman’s research focuses on clinical health psychology. In particular, he is interested in the psychological factors that affect migraine headaches and other pain conditions. His research focuses on the roles of depression, anxiety, sleep, and substance use in migraine pain and disability. He is also interested in identifying optimal strategies for treating headache patients who also have psychiatric disorders, as well as in behavioral approaches for managing migraine. Work in his lab would entail attending laboratory meetings, learning how to administer psychological interviews and surveys, data entry, database management, and assisting in running experiments. There are opportunities to be a co-author on conference presentations and/or journal publications. It is preferable (but not required) that the student has completed PSY 202 and maintains a 3.5 overall GPA.

Dr. Ken Sufka, Behavioral Neuroscience.
Dr. Sufka’s research is in the development, validation and utilization of animal simulations of clinical syndromes focusing mainly on stress, anxiety and depression models and chronic pain and analgesia models. The commitment is approximately 6-9 hours per week including weekends. Students acquire knowledge and skills in animal care, handling and testing, drug preparation and injections, brain extractions and dissections, experimental design, statistical analyses, data presentation, etc. Prerequisites include outstanding grades in Brain and Behavior or Drugs and Behavior. Students must also meet compliance with University and Federal requirements for working with research animals.

Dr. John Young, Clinical Psychology
Dr. Young is the director of the Scientific Infusion that Helps (SITH) lab. The research in the SITH lab focuses on evidence-based services for children and adolescents, dissemination efforts, and improvement of mental health care systems.

Students working in the SITH lab may perform a number of duties including the following: assisting with subject recruitment; helping with laboratory studies; conducting semi-structured clinical interviews; coding, entering, and analyzing data; and helping to present study results at professional meetings. Students who are interested, and meet the GPA requirement of 3.5, may contact Dr. Young at for a lab application.