Faculty Research Topics

The Department of Psychology conducts research on a wide variety of topics related to human behavior. Learn more about individual faculty members’ interests and ongoing work through their websites, which are linked from our faculty directory.

Clinical Child Psychology

four white lab coats hanging on pegs

Peter J. Castagna: conduct problems/callous-unemotional traits, anxiety, depression; self-referential processing; executive functioning; emotion regulation; computational modeling; neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI, DTI).

Thompson Davis: specific phobias and exposure therapy; child anxiety disorders; autism; developmental psychopathology; evidence-based assessment and treatment.

Matthew Jarrett: developmental psychopathology; ADHD; anxiety disorders; interface of neuropsychological functioning and co-occurring symptomatology in children, adolescents, and emerging adults with ADHD.

Randall T. Salekin: psychopathy; callous unemotional traits; treatment of psychopathy; treatment of interpersonal callousness.

Theodore S. Tomeny: risk- and protective-factors for typically-developing siblings and parents of those with ASD; quality of life for those with ASD; perceptions of ASD; long-term outcomes for adults with ASD and their families; unique challenges faced by low resource families.

Bradley White: developmental psychopathology; development, impacts, prevention, and treatment of disruptive behavior problems and associated conditions (e.g., psychopathic traits); effectiveness and dissemination of evidence-based intervention.

Susan White: developmental psychopathology; evidence-based assessment and treatment; intervention research; neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism; ADHD; learning disorders.

Clinical Geropsychology

Rebecca Allen: cultural dynamics (race/ethnicity; rural/urban) of healthcare decision making; interventions to reduce the stress of individuals, family, and professional caregivers within the context of advanced chronic or terminal illness; clinical training.

M. Lindsey Jacobs: psychological and behavioral health interventions for older adults and caregivers; competency-based training in clinical psychology and geropsychology; mental and behavioral health in late life; cognition and capacity in late life.

Lynn Snow: implementation of nursing home organizational change aiming toward higher-quality person-centered care; building stronger nursing home teams and quality improvement systems; dementia care.

Clinical Health Psychology

Matthew Cribbet: sleep; early life adversity; cardiovascular disease risk; emotion regulation; close relationships.

Jenny M. Cundiff: socioeconomic and racial health disparities; interpersonal processes that link social context to disease; close relationships (e.g., romantic couples, parent-child) and physical health; biological, psychological, and social pathways linking stress and health.

Heather Gunn: interpersonal behaviors; relationships; sleep; family approaches to improving sleep and other health behaviors.

Clinical Psychology and Law

a man and woman in the testing labJennifer Cox: the interplay between psychological assessment and the legal system; conceptualization and assessment of psychopathic personality (psychopathy); influence of psychological expert testimony on legal decision making; how legal decision-makers understand and consider psychopathy evidence during the trial process.

Karen Salekin: intellectual disability and the death penalty; assessment of intellectual disability in Atkins cases; forensic assessment with offenders with intellectual disability; mitigation in death penalty cases; ​perceptions of individuals with intellectual disability in the criminal justice system.

Cognitive Psychology

Sheila Black: cognitive aging, racial disparities in cognitive aging, contributions of African Americans to the field of psychology

Developmental Science

Summer Braun: teachers’ social and emotional competencies, occupational health, and well-being; influence of teachers on children’s social and emotional development; social and emotional learning; school-based interventions for teachers and children; mindfulness-based interventions; teachers’ management of classroom social dynamics; prevention science; implementation science.

Ansley Tullos Gilpin: fantasy orientation and pretend play; executive functions; school readiness; children’s use of testimony (information from other people) to learn about the world; imaginary companions; development of religiosity; pretend play’s role in early childhood intervention (ASD).

Andrea Glenn: psychopathy; callous/unemotional traits in youth; biologically-based prevention and intervention; fMRI; hormones; morality; neuroethics.

Sharla Biefeld: discrimination; peer-to-peer SOGIE-based and sexual harassment; positive body image; intersectionality; weight bias.

Kristina McDonald: precursors and consequences for youth who endorse hostile social motivations; how friendship interactions influence social cognitions; how social context affects peer relationships; how physiological reactivity to social threat interacts with social cognitions to predict behavior.

Kelsey West: Experimental and naturalistic observations of infant development; autism and neurodevelopmental disorders; language development, including words, gestures, and pre-linguistic vocalizations; motor skill acquisitions and behaviors; dyadic interactions between infants and their caregivers

Social Psychology

Katie Garrison: self-control, emotion regulation, motivation, electroencephalography (EEG)

Will Hart: social cognition; the relation between personality and self-presentation; how people form and update ideas.

Alexa Tullett: How can we use social psychology to understand how to be better scientific thinkers? This research tackles this problem from two different angles, one basic and one applied. Focus is on the fundamental psychological processes that prevent us from being open-minded, agnostic consumers of information. Then understanding and examining the ways in which social psychological research is conducted and understood.