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Department of Psychological Sciences

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.

Psychological Sciences Research can be taken for credit toward graduation as PSYCH 599. Students can achieve 0-6 credit hours per semester for their work in one of our many research labs. If you are a Biology student working in a neuroscience lab, PSYCH 599 credits can accepted as equivalent to BIOL 698.

If you are interested in joining a research lab, check out the different labs below to find out more about what each lab is doing. Choose a lab that aligns with your interests and career goals and reach out to the lab contact to let them know your interest in joining their lab.

Undergraduate Research Laboratories


Dr. Heather 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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Bailey's Research Page

Memory & Aging Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Christopher Barlett Lab

Aggression Research Laboratory

In the ARL, we study the antecedents and consequences of aggressive behavior (broadly defined). Topics include: cyberbullying, provocations, personality (e.g., fear of retaliation), and aggression reduction through the situation (e.g., excuses and apologies) or intervention. Research assistants can expect to learn theory and methodology related to social psyhology. Undergraduate research assistants may also learn data analysis, project dissemination, and critical thinking skills.

GPA Requirement: NA

Class Requirement: NA

Career Interest: Medical or Graduate School

Contact: Dr. Barlett

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Chris Barlett's Research Page

Dr. Natalie Barlett Lab

Dr. Natalie Barlett Laboratory

The Barlett Development Lab explores how movement through emerging adulthood (from 18 - 25 years of age) can impact one’s personality (e.g., narcissism), psychological well-being (e.g., worry) and physical health (e.g., sleep). The lab is also working to identify factors that can support emerging adults during their transitional journey based on their identity and background. Research assistants can expect to learn about developmental research and theory, how a research study is created and executed, data analysis, and dissemination of research findings.   

GPA Requirement: 3.0

Class Requirement: Completion of PSYCH 350 is preferred, but not required

Special Requirement: Strong interest in human development and the research process

Contact: Dr. Natalie Barlett

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Natalie Barlett's Research Page

Dr. Laura 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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Brannon's Research Page

For application processess, please see our labratory informational flyer.

Dr. Gary 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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Brase Research Page

Adaptive Reasoning & Decisions Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Mary Cain Lab

Addiction Neuroscience

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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Cain's Research Page

Dr. Maria Diehl Lab

Diehl Laboratory

Research in the Diehl laboratory seeks to understand why some individuals can overcome trauma and develop behavioral resilience, while other individuals go on to develop a neuropsychiatric disease, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. We are also interested in understanding how social stimuli can alter fear-related behaviors and the neural circuits that guide social interactions under aversive conditions. We combine rodent models of fear and avoidance learning with functional circuit mapping techniques to understand how behavioral resilience can augment the neural circuits of fear and avoidance. Undergraduates in the lab can expect to learn about animal behavioral paradigms that model clinical symptoms of excessive fear and avoidance as well as neuroscience techniques such as single unit recordings and in vivo optogenetics. Many students also learn surgical techniques, critical interpretation of data, scientific literacy, and critical thinking skills.

GPA Requirement: 3.0, but others with strong interest will be considered

Class Requirement: None, although Intro Biology and PSYCH 350 are recommended

Special Requirement: Minimum 2-semester commitment, weekend availability, attend weekly lab meetings, and work at least 6 hrs/week (2 credits of 599)

Career Interest: Graduate studies in biomedical sciences, medical, veterinary medicine, other neuroscience-related research interests

Contact: Dr. Diehl 

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Kim 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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Kirkpatrick's Research Page

Reward, Timing, and Decision (RTD) Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Jin 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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Lee's Research Page

Dr. Lester Loschky Lab

Visual Cognition

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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Loschky's Research Page

Visual Cognition Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Sarina Maneotis Lab

Dr. Sarina Maneotis Laboratory

GPA Requirement

Class Requirement: 

Contact: Dr. Sarina Maneotis

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Sarina Maneotis's Research Page

Dr. Charles 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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Picken's Research Page

Cognition & Neurobiological Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Bethany Plakke Lab

Plakke Laboratory

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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Plakke's Research Page

Dr. Donald 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.

GPA Requirement:

Special Requirement:

Class Requirement:

Contact: Dr. Saucier

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Saucier's Research Page

Dr. Tianjun Sun Lab

Dr. Tianjun Sun Laboratory


GPA Requirement

Class Requirement: 

Contact: Dr. Tianjun Sun

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Tianjun Sun's Research Page

Dr. Matthew 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

Laboratory Informational Flyer

Dr. Wisniewski's Research Page

Auditory Learning & Cognition Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Michael 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. Young's Research Page

Dynamic Decision Making Laboratory Webpage

Dr. Ali Zakrzewski  Lab

GPA Requirement: 

Special Requirement: 

Class Requirement: 

Contact: Dr. Zakrzewski

Laboratory Informational Flyer 

Dr. Zakrzewski's Research Page 

Auditory Learning & Cognition Laboratory Webpage