Undergraduate Research Opportunities
The Psychological Sciences department at Kansas State University is dedicated to a variety of research areas. Our undergraduates have a unique opportunity to work alongside our faculty and graduate students while employing the skills they have learned in the classroom.
Undergraduate Research Laboratories
Dr. Brase Lab
Adaptive Reasoning & Decisions
We do studies on how people make judgments and decisions across different real-life situations. This includes how people use numbers to understand things like medical test results, how people reason about social rules about behavior, and how people make decisions about relationships (judgments of attractiveness, choosing partners, and having children). We apply cognitive, social, and evolutionary theories across all this work.
GPA Requirement: 3.0
Career Interest: Research
Class Requirement: Good performance in PSYCH 350
Contact: Dr. Brase
Dr. Young Lab
Dynamic Decision Making
Research typically involves the study of decision making in dynamic environments. Dr. Young is currently studying the situational and individual variables related to impulsive and risky choice in video game and other dynamic environments. Undergraduates help with collecting data, attend and present at weekly lab meetings, and obtain professional experience opportunities.
GPA Requirement: 3.0 but will consider students with strengths in other areas.
Special Requirement: New lab students should be able to commit 6 hours/week for 2 credits of Psych 599
Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 and/or STAT 325 with A or B
Contact: Dr. Michael Young
Laboratory Informational Flyer
Dr. Bailey Lab
Memory & Aging
Dr. Bailey’s research focuses on how memory differs across individuals and how it changes with age. Some of her students are evaluating how strategies influence students’ learning, memory and problem solving. Other students are studying how young and older adults use information they have learned in the past to help them learn and remember new information. Finally, others are evaluating how individuals with PTSD learn and remember everyday activities. We use different methods to evaluate these questions, including computer tasks, eye tracking, and neuroimaging. Undergraduate research assistants help to collect and analyze data, develop experiments, participate in weekly lab meetings and engage in professional development opportunities.
GPA Requirement: 3.0 but students who can provide a strong reference letter will also be considered
Special Requirement: Must be available 6 hours a week
Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 or equivalent course from another department
Contact: Dr. Bailey
Dr. Pickens Lab
Cognition, Learning, and Psychopharmacology
The Cognition, Learning, and Psychopharmacology lab is interested in the relationship between drug use (including alcohol and illegal drugs) and learning abilities in a variety of tasks. We look at potential neurotoxic effects that drugs might have on the brain and behavior (ex: drug exposure altering the brain and behavior). We also look at potential individual differences that might cause altered cognition/emotion and cause increased drug use (ex: drug exposure doesn’t cause altered decision-making or anxious, but more anxious people or people more prone to bad decisions are more likely to take drugs)
GPA Requirement: 2.8
Special Requirement: At least 5 hours a week, 2-semester commitment, 3-5 2.5 hour weekend shifts per semester, Cannot own snake or rodent
Class Requirement: None
Contact: Dr. Pickens
Dr. Wisniewski Lab
Auditory Learning & Cognition
In the ALC lab at K-State, behavioral, electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, and connectionist modeling methods are used to study the processes involved in auditory perceptual learning. We also use these methods to study the processes involved in coping with difficult listening scenarios (e.g., listening in noise), and in the development of man-machine interfaces for performance augmentation. We believe this work will lead to more effective methods for improving human auditory capacities (for rehabilitative or other reasons).
GPA Requirement: 2.7 or higher
Special Requirement: Ability to work at least 6 hours per week (2 credits of 599)
Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 and PSYCH 460 preferred
Contact: Dr. Wisniewski
Dr. Saucier Lab
Social Psychological Research
Dr. Saucier’s research interests center on expressions of antisocial and prosocial behavior. Specifically, Dr. Saucier is interested in the individual differences and situational factors that contribute to the justification and suppression of antisocial behavior (e.g., prejudice, aggression), as well as to decisions to behave prosocially (e.g., to give or withhold help). Undergraduate students are involved in all phases of the research process, from designing projects and collecting data to data analysis to the presentation of results.
Contact: Dr. Saucier
Dr. Kirkpatrick Lab
Reward, Timing, and Decision (RTD)
Our lab is interested in impulsive and risky decisions that accompany problem behaviors such as drug abuse, gambling, obesity, and ADHD. We work with rodents for most of our studies and examine the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of impulsive and risky decisions. We also have been working on developing behavioral interventions to improve decision making and have recently been translating these for use with humans.
GPA Requirement: 3.0 but others with strong interest will be considered
Class Requirement: None, although Intro Biology and PSYCH 110-General Psychology and PSYCH 350 can be beneficial
Career Interest: Biomedical, medical, veterinary medicine, other research interests, and a variety of Psychology based fields
Contact: Dr. Kirkpatrick
Dr. Brannon Lab
Attitude & Persuasion
In the BAPL, we study how people form attitudes, how they can be changed, and how that affects their behavior. Students in our lab will learn to read, analyze, and discuss research articles. They will also learn to collect, clean and analyze data as well as conduct guided research projects.
GPA Requirement: 2.5 or better
Class Requirement: PSYCH 350 preferred but not required, sophomore standing or higher, and interest in presenting at conferences
Special Requirement: At least 2 credits of PSYCH 599 (6+ hours per week in lab) and an interest in attitudes, persuasion, and Health Psychology
Contact: Dr. Brannon
Attitudes & Persuasion Laboratory Application
Dr. Lake Lab
Work & Career Decisions
Our lab is to better understand the key decisions that people make in pursuit of work and career goals, with the ultimate objective of improving work performance, work commitments, and career success.
GPA Requirement: 3.0
Special Requirement: Meeting once per week, highly motivated, attention to detail
Class Requirement: Student who have or are taking PSYCH 350/351 and STAT 325 Introduction to Statistics
Career Interest: Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Business, or Human Resources, Management
Contact: Dr. Lake
Dr. Lee Lab
Work Systems & Occupational Health Psychology
Our lab is focused on designing safer, healthier, and enjoyable work environments. We also examine the mechanisms that foster a safety climate in hazardous industries, promote the mental health and well being of employees. Finally we examine and address occupational safety and health disparities.
GPA Requirement: 3.0
Class Requirement: None, however PSYCH 564-Psychology of Organization or PSYCH 565-Occupational Health Psychology or STAT 325 are encouraged
Career Interest: Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Buisness, Clinical or Health Psychology, Medical, Managment, or government
Contact: Dr. Lee
Dr. Loschky Lab
The Visual Cognition Laboratory conducts research on scene perception and its real world applications, spanning the traditional areas of perception and cognition. Our lab's research philosophy is that good basic research should always be capable of suggesting applications for real-world scenarios, and good applied research should always add information to a theory.
GPA Requirement: 3.0 or better
Class Requirement: "A" in either PSYCH 350, 351, 460, or 480. High interest students with an "A" in PSYCH 110 may also be considered.
Special Requirement: One year commitment preferred
Contact: Dr. Loschky
Dr. Plakke Lab
We examine cognitive flexibility and multisensory processing with neurophysiological and histological techniques to determine neural circuits of sensation and cognition. We also examine autism like behaviors in rodents with the valproic acid model. We are interested in better understanding behavioral, sensory, and cognitive changes in autism, as well as possible neurobiological changes that occur within the brain.
GPA Requirement: 3.0
Class Requirement: None
Career Interest: Medical or Graduate School
Contact: Dr. Plakke
Dr. Cain Lab
In the Cain lab we use animal models of early life environmental differences, to unravel the underlying mechanisms of addiction and addiction vulnerability. Undergraduates in the lab can expect to learn aspects of several scientific disciplines including both behavioral and neurobiological techniques. Many also learn surgical techniques, improve their data interpretation skills, scientific literacy, and critical thinking.
GPA Requirement: N/A
Class Requirement: N/A
Special Requirement: The amount of time in the lab is based on the number of credit hours enrolled (PSYCH 599) or the requirements of their research program (DSP, etc)
Contact: Dr. Cain