faculty members are active scholars in the field who conduct research on a
variety of psychological phenomena. In
the Department of Psychology we pride ourselves in fostering faculty-student
collaboration through our faculty research labs. In these labs, students not
only get first hand experience with psychology research, but also get the
opportunity to co-author presentations at regional and national research
conferences, and even serve as co-authors on research publications.
Current research focuses mostly on mating systems, especially sexual strategies in animal and human populations. My animal research includes studies on personality traits in fish, and intrasexual male-male aggression and its impact on mate choice of/by females in wild type and domestic Betta splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish).
The Animal Cognition Laboratory is exploring how pigeons' attention and learning are affected by previous experience with the research setting (the experimental enclosure), including colored patterns that will later be used as signals (preceding the presentation of food). "Redecorating" the context, rather than leaving it the same from one phase of the experiment to another, is expected to influence learning and memory in complex ways. Interesting similarities and differences may be revealed by comparing these findings to those in people and other species.
The mission of the Clinical Psychology Research Center is to conduct
innovative, ethical research and engage in scholarly activities to
contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of Clinical
Psychology and its role as an interdisciplinary and applied science. We
strive to create a collaborative and supportive environment for all
members of the team and to provide exemplary mentoring to undergraduate
research assistants to prepare them for graduate study and professional
The Gender Development Laboratory focuses on scientifically exploring
gender development across the lifespan. Dr. Dinella and her research
team work collaboratively with researchers at the University of
Wisconsin and Washington and Lee University to investigate how gender
stereotypes and gender identity are actively created in preschool and
elementary school children. Additionally investigated are how these
factors and societal constructions of gender influence career paths. Dr.
Dinella actively trains and mentors undergraduate students to conduct
empirical investigations. Undergraduate research team members
participate in the design, data collection, data analysis, synthesis,
and the presenting and publishing of research.
In this lab, students gain experience working with participants across the life span (primarily childhood and late adulthood) from diverse ethnic heritages in real life settings, for example preschools, extended care programs, senior centers, and senior residential facilities. Research assistants engage in ethnographic (participation, interview, observation) and other methodological approaches. Assistants also code and analyze both qualitative and quantitative raw material. Research questions have applied value and inform the literature on play and developmental outcomes. Current studies explore the relationship between children's play, development, and literacy skills; and adult play, social attraction, and well-being.
We conduct research generally on how the self
influences romantic relationships, primarily in the context of self-expansion.
This work focuses on a variety of relationship processes such as:
attraction, relationship initiation, relationship maintenance, infidelity,
break-up, as well as the benefits of self-expansion in non-relational contexts.
This lab focuses on the role of self-regulation in everyday life using the theory that self-control is a limited resource. Current projects focus on the role of self-regulation in intimate relationships.
Our programs of research
explore human development from adolescence through adulthood. Adjustment
to college, the college experience for special populations, and best
practices for college advising are studied. Our graduate and
undergraduate research teams collect data in the community as well as
conducting research pertinent to emerging adults on the college campus.