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Department of Psychology

Research Labs

Our faculty are excited to work with undergraduate and graduate students on a variety of research projects. See below for more information on the types of research we do.

Department of Psychology: 
Student Research Opportunities | Faculty Research Interests | Student Research


Student Research Opportunities

Contact any of the faculty below to learn more about how you can get involved with their research.

Department of Psychology

Faculty Name Lab Name
Pitt Derryberry Research of Ethical and Social Topics (REST) Lab
Lisa C. Duffin The Academic Quality (TAQ) Lab
Ryan Farmer Behavioral Assessment & Treatment for Children (BAT-C) lab
Rick Grieve Clinical/Applied Research (CAR) Group
Thomas Gross Behavior in Education, Assessment and Results (BEAR) Lab
Sally Kuhlenschmidt Abilities Research Group
Adam Lockwood Perception and Practice Lab
Sarah Ochs Measurement and Intervention Team
Tony Paquin  Cross-cultural Psychology Lab
Jenni Redifer Attention and Memory Lab
Tim Thornberry Parent Child Research Lab
Steve Wininger Motivation Lab
Qin Zhao Metacognition Lab


 Faculty Research Interests

Pitt Derryberry
My research interests pertain to socio-cognitive development during adolescence and the college years with specific emphases on the development of moral judgment and self-understanding.
Lab: Research of Ethical and Social Topics (REST) Lab

Lisa C. Duffin
My research interest spans the factors that impact academic quality at many different levels (i.e., program-level, group-level, and individual-level) and in many different contexts (i.e., university, K-12 schools, lab).
Lab: The Academic Quality (TAQ) Lab

Ryan Farmer

The Behavioral Assessment & Treatment for Children (BAT-C) lab emphasizes applied research on psychological tests and assessment used in diagnosis and treatment decisions as well as behavioral interventions with children, families, and school classrooms. The BAT-C lab is a member of the Behavioral Innovations for Children’s Success (BICS) research group, along with Dr. Susan Keesy & Dr. Christina Noel (School of Teacher Education) and Dr. Thomas Gross (Psychology). Current and recent research includes:

  • The Good Behavior Game and Student Motivation (with BICS)
  • Efficacy of a teacher-training module for trial-based functional analysis (with BICS)
  • Attitudes and Perspectives of School Psychologists toward Assessment Practices
  • Behavior Management Charts: What are they?
  • Antecedent Interventions for Severe & Challenging Behavior
  • Factor Structure of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale, Third Edition

Rick Grieve
My research interests lie in the area of eating disorders, and right now I am investigating men's eating disorders, especially muscle dysmorphia. I am also interested in sport fan behaviors. I have a number of studies going in both areas through the Clinical/Applied Research (CAR) Group. 
Lab: Clinical/Applied Research (CAR) Group

Thomas Gross

The Behavior in Education, Assessment and Results (BEAR) Lab focuses on applied research with child, family, and learner support systems. There are currently a few ongoing projects:

  1. Broadening Participation Research Project: Investigating the Integration of Mathematics into Biology by Reciprocal Course Content Exchange (NSF Grant #1719262).
  2. The Good Behavior Game and Student Motivation.
  3. School Psychology Diversity Training and Training Assessment.
  4. Family and Youth Assessments and Behavioral Outcomes in School and Community Settings.

Sally Kuhlenschmidt
I work primarily with graduate students and have a variety of research interests that engage me in many types of projects. In terms of populations older adults are a special focus with a sample graduate student project being mindfulness in older adults. I also have an interest in technological applications and implications for clinical practice. I enjoy evaluation of psychological assessments which is a key component of most research topics. Currently I am working on projects involving mindfulness practices.

Adam Lockwood 

My research focuses on educators’ perceptions and practice. Currently, I am investigating the role of special education teachers in the assessment of students with disabilities, and the training they have received in this area. Additionally, I am examining the psychometric properties of a measure of school psychologist self-efficacy and how to increase trainee self-efficacy during graduate school. Future research will focus on examining teacher trainee assessment competency and educators’ assessment self-efficacy. I welcome psychology and education students who are interested in assessment and self-efficacy to join my research team.

Sarah Ochs

My research examines how we can most accurately identify youth at risk for a variety of academic, behavioral, and mental health concerns.  This includes improving measurement through studies of technical adequacy and practical utility.  I am also interested in how we can use technology and other novel assessment approaches to improve accuracy, particularly for diverse student populations.

Tony Paquin

My general research interests include: (1) The impact of culture on workplace behavior (e.g., productivity/organizational effectiveness, leadership, incivility) in traditional and nontraditional organizations; (2) Cross-cultural perceptions of date rape; (3) Psychometric issues in the translation and design of cross-cultural instruments; and (4) Rater agreement in the context of performance appraisal.  Other projects that are either currently being conducted or have been done in the past include:

  •  Impact of benevolent v. hostile sexism on the work performance of women in Turkey (Master’s thesis)
  • Socio-cultural adjustment of international students (Master’s thesis)
  • Depression literacy and help-seeking attitudes in Chinese international students (Honor’s thesis)
  • Cross-cultural differences in adolescent attitudes about infidelity (Gatton Academy student research project)

Jenni Redifer
My research examines cognitive factors related to student learning and achievement. I am interested in how working memory capacity (the limited attentional resources we have available during effortful tasks) influences problem-solving and retrieval of information from long-term memory. Part of this work investigates methods for teaching effective strategies to individuals with low working memory capacity (i.e., fewer attentional resources).
Lab: Attention and Memory Lab

Tim Thornberry

My research relates to primary care psychology topics, especially parenting, prevention, and public health. Ongoing projects include: examining the utility of analog behavior observations of parent-child interactions; implementation of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) with rural families; and behavioral health problem prevention and intervention (e.g., smoking cessation, substance abuse, pediatric obesity).

Steve Wininger

My research interests are in motivation and performance psychology within the contexts of exercise, sport, and education. Primary independent variables include attentional focus, cognitive processing (especially multi-tasking), and goal types. Usual dependent variables assessed are performance, self-selected intensity/pace, perceived effort, and cognitive load.

Recent studies include:

  • Impact of Attempting to Multi-Task on Self-Selected Exercise Intensity
  • Effect of Goal Type (distance vs. time) on Self-Selected Exercise Intensity
  • Effect of Student Classroom Cell Phone Usage on Teachers

Lab: Motivation Lab

Qin Zhao
My current research interest involves how top-down metacognitive processes (e.g., beliefs/mindsets, self-perceptions, expectancies) influence student learning, motivation, and psychological well-being. I am also interested in reducing common bias (e.g., anchoring, overconfidence) in metacognitive judgments.
Lab: Metacognition Lab 

For additional research opportunities in the Department of Psychological Sciences, see http://www.wku.edu/psychological-sciences/research.php




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 Last Modified 11/13/18