Psychology & Counseling Faculty Research

Psychology & Counseling faculty perform research with graduate and undergraduate students

Fall 2020 Research Opportunities

Click on the faculty member's name to expand information about them.
*Indicates Clinical Psychology Doctoral faculty member.

Dr. Michael Barnett*

Review Dr. Barnett's faculty profile here.

Lab Name: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Technology (ANT) Lab

Model of Research Supervision: Supervision follows an APA mentorship model. Membership in the ANT Lab gives students an opportunity to gain research experience while working in an outpatient neuropsychological clinic (i.e., the Memory Assessment and Research Center [MARC]). Research assistants are expected to participate in lab activities but become eligible to use data for their own poster presentations and manuscripts.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:The ANT Lab focuses on applying novel technology to neuropsychological assessment among older adults. The lab's current primary project involves using virtual reality to assess everyday functional capacities among older adults with Alzheimer's disease related dementia and/or traumatic brain injury. This project is funded by a Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program grant through the Department of Defense. Other projects include an experimental investigation of the impact of rapport on neuropsychological test performance and creating tools for measuring vulnerability to financial exploitation among older adults.

Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:

  • Data entry
  • Reception at the MARC
  • Recruiting applicants
  • Administering neuropsychological tests
  • Completing literature reviews
  • Working on posters and papers
  • Helping to plan new projects

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: New members of the lab need to be available for some in-person activities in Tyler, but some work can be done remotely

Relevant Citations: Review Dr. Barnett’s full list here.

Best Contact:

Dr. Olga Berkout*

Review Dr. Berkout’s faculty profile “here”. (Coming soon)

Lab Name: ETX-CBS: East Texas Contextual Behavioral Science Lab

Model of Research Supervision: Lab will have weekly meetings. During these, the group will check in on progress on current tasks/projects and have didactic presentations on topics such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and novel approaches to psychological assessment and intervention. Students may be asked to give presentations in lab and will be given opportunities to contribute to conference submissions and manuscripts. Research assistants are expected to contribute at least five hours a week to lab activities.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:

  • Automated Assessment of Psychological Inflexibility Constructs: As technology plays a bigger role in our lives, interactions with it generate a large amount of data. With appropriate considerations for confidentiality and informed consent, this data can inform our understanding of human behavior and be leveraged to identify the best time to intervene. A challenge with such data is that it is often unstructured and necessitates the development of approaches to make it meaningful. Theoretical frameworks with transdiagnostic utility, such as the psychological flexibility model, may be particularly useful in guiding these efforts. Psychological flexibility is defined as adaptive behavioral responding, even in the face of difficult thoughts and feelings. Its converse, inflexibility represents challenges in doing so. The current project seeks to identify psychological inflexibility constructs in unstructured text data and validate through examining predictive utility and comparison with human coders.
  • Brief ACT Pilot: Although a number of evidence-based interventions have been developed, most people who struggle with psychological difficulties do not receive treatment. Reasons that contribute to this are numerous, but can include few providers, long waitlists, and limited time. Among those who do seek treatment, most commonly clients tend to attend just a single session (Sung, Dobias, & Schleider, 2020). In response to this finding, single session consultations have been developed as a means to address psychological difficulty. Such consultations have been found to be beneficial for depression and anxiety, as well as other difficulties and may be helpful for clients unable to do a full course of treatment (Schleider et al., 2020). The current project seeks to pilot a brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based consultation, an adaptation of ACT to a single session framework.

Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:

  • Reviewing the literature and creating an annotated bibliography to inform manuscripts, grant submissions, and future projects
  • Collecting and coding verbal data
  • Data collection for brief ACT project pilot
  • Contributing to future publications

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: This work can be done remotely

Relevant Citations:

  • Berkout, O.V., Tinsley, D.,* & Flynn, M.K. (2019). A review of anger, hostility, and aggression from an ACT perspective. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 11, 34-43. doi:10.1016/j.jcbs.2018.12.001
  • Berkout, O.V. & Gross, A.M. (2018). Barriers and opportunities: Examining attitudes towards traditional and mobile health services in a non-clinical sample of Non-Hispanic White and Latino/a undergraduates. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, 3(4), 253-258. doi:10.1007/s41347-018-0059-1
  • Berkout, O.V., Cathey, A.J., & Kellum K.K. (2018). Scaling-up assessment from a Contextual Behavioral Science perspective: Potential uses of technology for analysis of unstructured text. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.jcbs.2018.06.007
  • A complete list of Dr. Berkout’s publications is available on her Google Scholar profile.
  • Additionally, students should take a look at the website for the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) to understand the theoretical framework within which the lab is grounded.

Best Contact: Dr. Olga Berkout oberkout@uttyler.edu

Dr. Samantha Estrada

Review Dr. Estrada's faculty profile here.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:
  • A longitudinal study of First-Generation Students’ Academic Motivation
  • Qualitative study of statistical anxiety in returning/non-traditional students
  • Meta-analysis of technology in introductory statistics courses

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: Work in the lab can be done remotely this Fall

Best Contact: Dr. Samantha Estrada sestrada@uttyler.edu

Dr. Bradley Green*

Review Dr. Green’s faculty profile here.

Lab Name: Personality and Psychopathology

Model of Research Supervision: Individual mentorship and group meetings as needed.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:
  • Hopelessness and Suicide in the Military
  • Personality Factors Related to Hypersexuality

Types of Students Accepted into Lab:No additional students will be accepted into lab for Fall 2020.

Remote Options: Some of the work will be in person in the lab. Meetings will mostly be virtual.

Relevant Citations:
  • Martin, R.L.*, Bauer, B.W.*, Smith, N.S.*, Daruwala, S.E.*, Green, B.A., Anestis, M.D., & Capron, D.W. (2020). Internal battles: examining how anger/hostility moderate the association between negative urgency and suicidal desire variables in military and civilian samples. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, online.
  • Assavedo, B. L., Green, B. A., & Anestis, M. D. (2018). Military personnel compared to multiple suicide attempters: Interpersonal theory of suicide constructs. Death Studies, 42, 123-129.
  • Butterworth, S. E., Green, B. A., & Anestis, M. D. (2017). The association between specific combat experiences and aspects of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. Comprehensive Psychiatry.
  • Green, B. A., Arnau, R. C., Carnes, P. J., Carnes, S., & Hopkins, T. A. (2015). Structural congruence of the Sexual Dependency Inventory – 4th Edition. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 22, 126-153.
  • Anestis, M. D., & Green, B. A. (2015). The impact of varying levels of confidentiality on disclosure of suicidal thoughts in a sample of United States National Guard personnel.
  • Green, B. A., Ahmed, A. O., Marcus, D. K., & Walters, G. D. (2011). The latent structure of alcohol use pathology in an epidemiological sample. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45,225-33.
  • Presentations

  • Jiang, S., Wallace, K., Yang, E., Roper, L., Aryal, G., Isenberg, R., Carnes, P., Green, B., Lodhi, R. J., Aitchison, &K. J. (2020, October). Defining a problematic sexual behaviour phenotype in young adults in post-secondary education. Poster accepted for the 28th annual World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics.
  • Green, B.A., Altenberger, T. L., Arnau, R.C., Jorgenson, J., Barajas, K., Lodhi, R.J., Isenberg, R., Carnes, P.J., & Aitchison, K.J. (2020, June). MMPI-3 Correlates of Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview Diagnoses in a Clinical Hypersexual Sample. Paper presented at the annual MMPI Symposium on Recent Research, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Arnau, R. C., Altenberger, T., Bulla, B., Barajas, K., Jorgenson, J., Floyd, P., Broerman, R., Lodhi, R., Green, B., Isenberg, R., Carnes, P., & Aitchison, K. (2019, June). Psychometric Evaluation of the MMPI-2-RF in a Clinical Sexual Addiction Sample: Replication and Extension of Previous Findings. Paper presented at the annual MMPI Symposium on Recent Research, Minneapolis, MN.
Best Contact: Dr. Bradley Green bgreen@uttyler.edu

Dr. Jessica Holm

Review Dr. Holm's faculty profile here.

Primary Research Focus:
  • Counselor Preparation
  • Addictions
  • Adolescent Mental Health
Current Projects for Fall 2020:
  • Partnering with a local probation program to evaluate the services provided to individuals with substance related charges
  • A study examining mental health and resiliency in youth
Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:
  • Data entry
  • Interview transcription
  • Data analysis
  • Review of literature
  • Manuscript writing

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: Work in the lab can be done remotely this Fall

Best Contact: Dr. Jessica Holm jholm@uttyler.edu

Dr. Lauren Kirby

Review Dr. Kirby's faculty profile here.

Lab Name: Kirby Cognition and Emotion Lab

Model of Research Supervision: Variable. Sometimes students are placed in groups to work on projects already going on. At other times, students can develop their own idea into a research project from the beginning. It depends on student needs and availability of time and resources.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:
  • Analyzing data from a project on Mindfulness and ASMR
  • Relationships among ASMR, emotional regulation attachment, and loneliness
  • Modernizing the Teacher Behavior Checklist
Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:
  • Reading and writing literature reviews
  • Creating surveys on Qualtrics
  • Cleaning and analyzing data in Excel and R

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: All lab work is remote for now during the coronavirus pandemic

Relevant Citations:
  • Citations are found here.
    • The 2020 ones are the best reflection of current work in the lab.
  • Dr. Kirby also has a website.
    • For students who want to work with her, hover over (do not click on) the "contact me" tab on this website. Then the "apply to the lab" tab should appear. From there students can complete the application (resumé/CV needed).
Best Contact: Dr. Lauren Kirby lkirby@uttyler.edu, Google Voice Number (better for short notice/time-sensitive issues): (903) 655-4841

 

Dr. Adam McGuire*

Review Dr. McGuire’s faculty profile here.

Lab Name: McGuire Research Lab

Model of Research Supervision: Students are asked to attend lab meetings, commit to a designated number of hours of research work per week, and produce at least one poster within the academic year.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:
  • Elevation Video Catalog
    • Aim: Collect and code a large database of short videos that display virtuous behavior, and thus, could elicit moral elevation. All videos in the catalog will be coded for virtuous behavior displayed (e.g., generosity, courage, forgiveness), demographic characteristics of the people featured in the video (e.g., gender, ethnicity, occupation), and other noticeable features regarding the video setting and behaviors exhibited.
    • Status: Coded 120+ videos, currently adding more videos and developing analytic strategy.
  • (Pending funding) Combining LovingKindness Meditation (LKM) and Moral Elevation for Veterans with PTSD
    • Aim: Test feasibility and acceptability of an online intervention that combines LKM and moral elevation exercises to enhance social connection and prosociality.
    • Status: Submitting grant, notifications released in November 2020.
Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:
  • Coding inspiring videos for virtues displayed and demographic information
  • Coding qualitative text responses
  • Literature reviews
  • Test online surveys (pilot/edit/review)

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: Work that involves literature reviews and coding videos can be done remotely. Lab meetings will also be held on Zoom. Future work related to intervention studies may require in-person tasks.

Relevant Citations:
  • McGuire, A. P., Nosen, E., & Lyons, J. A. (2019). Benefits of moral elevation in veterans with PTSD and moral injury: A proposed theoretical framework and pilot study. Military Behavioral Health. https://doi:10.1080/21635781.2018.1540316.
  • McGuire, A. P., Mota, N. P., Sippel, L. M., Connolly, K. M., & Lyons, J. A. (2018). Increased resilience is associated with positive treatment outcomes for veterans with comorbid PTSD and substance use disorders. Journal of Dual Diagnosis. Epub ahead of print. https://doi:10.1080/15504263.2018.1464237.
  • Erickson, T. M., McGuire, A. P., Scarsella, G. M., Crouch, T. A., Lewis, J. A., Eisenlohr, A. P., & Muresan, T. J. (2017). Viral videos and virtue: Moral elevation inductions shift affect and interpersonal goals in daily life. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-12. https://doi:10.1080/17439760.2017.1365163.
Best Contact: Dr. Adam McGuire amcguire@uttyler.edu

Dr. Sarah Sass*

Review Dr. Sass' faculty profile here.

Lab Name: Clinical Psychophysiology Research (CPR) lab. This lab integrates psychophysiological (heart rate variability) and neuroscience (EEG) measures

Model of Research Supervision: Developmental, apprenticeship model

Current Projects for Fall 2020: Attention training interventions with individuals scoring high on measures of anxiety and depression using heart-rate variability measures, training in EEG and event-related potential methodology, adapting mindfulness interventions, focusing not only on symptoms and distress but also indicators of psychological wellbeing, mentoring a number of students in theses on related topics, other studies examining a range of issues including coping with COVID-19.

Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:

  • Weekly readings
  • Experiment set-up
  • Data collection
  • Analysis
  • Presentations
  • Publication

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: This work can mostly be done remotely

Relevant Citations: * identifies students that Dr. Sass has mentored in research

    • *Letkiewicz, A.M., Silton, R.L., Mimnaugh, K.J., Miller, G.A., Heller, W., Fisher, J., & Sass, S.M. (In Press). Childhood abuse history and altered attention to emotional stimuli in adults. Psychophysiology. doi:10.1111/psyp.13627
    • Sass, S.M., *Early, L.M. Long, L., *Burke, A., *Gwinn, D., & *Miller, P (2019). A brief mindfulness intervention in at-risk university students and changes in depression symptoms, nonjudgment, and processing of emotional and neutral stimuli. Mental Health & Prevention, 13, 58-67. doi:10.1016/j.mhp.2018.12.00
    • Popov, T., Westner, B., Silton, R.L., Sass, S.M., Spielberg, J.M., Rockstroh, B., Heller, W., & Miller, G.M. (2018). Time course of brain network reconfiguration supporting inhibitory control. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 4348–4356. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2639-17.2018
    • Sass, S.M., *Evans, T.C., *Xiong, K., *Mirghassemi, F., *Tea, R., & *Tran, H. (2017). Attention training to pleasant stimuli in anxiety. Biological Psychology, 122, 80-92. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.03.003

Best Contact: Dr. Sarah Sass ssass@uttyler.edu

Dr. Eric Stocks

Review Dr. Stocks' faculty profile here.

Lab Name: Social Emotions and Motivation Laboratory (SEML)

Model of Research Supervision: The lab develops ideas and research designs collaboratively, and work in small teams to complete projects (viz., data collection, analyses, write-up, and presentations). Students can also develop their own ideas and Dr. Stocks assists directly with that process.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:

There are many projects in the works for the Fall, but the main topics are as follows:

  • Social emotions and motivation
  • Moral decision making
  • Perspective taking and value structures
  • Group perception

Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:

  • Hypothesis generation
  • Literature searches
  • Research design
  • Data analysis
  • Manuscript and presentation preparation

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options: Normally, the majority of work is done in the lab. But due to COVID, the lab will be working almost exclusively remotely during FS2020.

Best Contact: Dr. Eric Stocks estocks@uttyler.edu

Dr. Christopher Thomas

Review Dr. Thomas’ faculty profile here.

Lab Name: Cognition, Affect, Learning, & Motivation (CALM) lab

Model of Research Supervision: The CALM lab is an opportunity for mentorship. Specifically, Dr. Thomas hopes to provide mentoring experiences that help graduate and undergraduate students develop an understanding of the research process and enhance their independent research skills.

Current Projects for Fall 2020:
  • Educator Perception of Test Anxiety – The empirical literature has established that feelings of test anxiety experienced before, during, and following an evaluative event prevent optimal academic performance. Supporting students with test anxiety often requires educators to identify students at-risk for underperformance and direct them to appropriate sources of academic support. Therefore, this line of research is focused on better understanding educators' how educators identify test-anxious students as well as the supports that are available within K – 12 settings to support test-anxious students.
  • Cultural Differences in Coping – Research indicates the existence of cultural differences in preferred coping responses. Specifically, past investigations have shown that learners from individualistic culture report using more problem-focused coping strategies while learners from collectivistic cultures report using more coping responses emphasizing avoidance and emotional suppression (Chang, 1996; Essau & Trommsdorf, 1996). This is concerning given the proposed influence of coping on mental health outcomes and academic performance. Most research on cross-cultural differences in coping has focused primarily on the differences in coping responses among individuals from "individualistic" and "collectivistic" countries. However, some have argued that this simplistic view of culture ignores individual-level variation in individualism and collectivism (Singelis et al., 1995). Therefore, this line of research is designed to address this limitation in the literature by providing a more nuanced view of the influence of cultural values on coping.
  • The Influence of Social Media and Mental Health – Research indicates that a large percentage of adults and university students use social media regularly (Pew Research Center, 2014). Unfortunately, available highlights that social media use is often associated with adverse outcomes among university learners, such as increased anxiety, increased depression, and lower academic performance (Vannucci, Flannery, Ohannessian, 2017). Although the association between social media and mental health is well-established. Much less is known about the factors that protect learners from the negative impacts of social media use. We believe one potential protective factor would be learners' level of emotional intelligence – a constellation of abilities that supported effective emotional information processing and emotion regulation. Past research has consistently found that high levels of emotional intelligence are associated with better mental health outcomes. However, no study to date has investigated if emotional intelligence protects the mental health of individuals who regularly consume social media content. As such, we are currently engaged in a line of research to determine if emotional intelligence protect the mental health of learners susceptible to the debilitative effects of social media use.
Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:
  • Complete literature reviews
  • Create online surveys
  • Collect data during in-person experimental sessions
  • Analyze data
  • Write summaries of research findings

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options:All lab work is remote for now during the coronavirus pandemic

Relevant Citations:

Dr. Thomas has a lab website. The site has information on current projects as well as publications/presentations that include lab members.

Best Contact: Dr. Christopher Thomas cthomas@uttyler.edu

Dr. Erin West

Review Dr. West's faculty profile here.

Primary Research Focus:
  • Counselor training and preparation
  • Counseling low-income youth and families
  • Dr. West utilizes quantitative approaches, qualitative approaches, and Q Methodology in research. Her specialty is qualitative research involving grounded theory, phenomenology, basic interpretive, etc.
Current Projects for Fall 2020:
  • Working with interdisciplinary research teams to analyze multiple data sets collected over the past few semesters pertaining to counselors experiences working with low income youth, and Title I high school students’ mental health and resiliency.
Types of tasks available for Research Volunteers:
  • Data transcription
  • Analysis
  • Manuscript preparation

Types of Students Accepted into Lab: Undergraduate and Graduate Students (all volunteer positions unless otherwise stated)

Remote Options:Work in the lab can be done remotely this Fall

Best Contact: Dr. Erin West ewest@uttyler.edu