Research Labs

The Department of Psychology is composed of faculty members who maintain active research laboratories in their specialties. Strong research specializations within the department are provided in Animal Learning, Clinical, Cognitive, Developmental, Human Factors, Organizational, Perception, Personality, Physiological, and Social Psychology.

Faculty and students are engaged in a wide range of research projects in the laboratories of the psychology department and in the field. The links below are to those for which web sites are currently maintained. Information about other research projects and labs is available on the faculty and graduate program pages of this site.

Research Laboratories

  • Cognitive Development Laboratory - Dr. Rebecca Brand
    At the Cognitive Development Project, we are investigating how children learn language and make sense of the people and things in the world around them. In our playroom on the campus of Villanova University, we create situations that are safe and fun for children, and then we watch carefully to see how they react.
  • Comparative Cognition Laboratory - Dr. Michael Brown 
    The Comparative Cognition Laboratory is concerned with the study of basic cognitive processes using animal subjects and behavioral experiments. Current and recent projects include spatial memory and spatial pattern learning in rats, social memories in rats, and spatial working memory in honey bees.
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory - Dr. Diego Fernandez-Duque
    Research at our lab spans both cognitive and social neuroscience. Within cognitive neuroscience, we aim to understand how different aspects of attention change due to aging and pathology, and why perception sometimes occurs in the absence of attention and awareness.
  • Adult Visual Cognition Laboratory - Dr. Charles L. Folk
    The Adult Visual Cognition Lab is primarily interested in understanding modeling visual selective attention in humans. We conduct behavioral studies in which patterns of response times and error rates are used to infer the mechanisms responsible for determining how attention gets allocated to stimuli in the environment.
  • Temporal Perception Laboratory - Dr. Matthew Matell
    The primary focus of the lab is to elucidate the psychological and neuronal bases of time perception. The flow of time underlies all processes in nature, and the perception of time in the seconds to minutes range, referred to as interval timing, provides animals with a framework to efficiently meet the demands and constraints of a dynamic environment. Interval timing has been proposed to serve as a substrate for optimal foraging1 and associative learning2 and may provide a context for conscious awareness. Furthermore, alterations in the perception of time might contribute to the use and abuse of addictive drugs. Although the basic psychophysical properties have been well characterized, the neural structures and neural computational processes underlying interval timing remain unclear.
  • Memory & Cognition Laboratory - Dr. Thomas Toppino
    The Memory & Cognition Lab studies many aspects of cognition in human adults and children. Recent projects have emphasized basic learning and memory processes and the processes that contribute to conscious perceptual experience in vision.
  • Early Child Development Laboratory - Dr. Pamela Blewitt
    We investigate how young children learn vocabulary and develop other language skills.
  • Psychological Assessment Laboratory - Dr. John Kurtz
  • Interpersonal Research Laboratory - Dr. Patrick Markey
    The Interpersonal Research Lab’s (IRL) research focuses on how behavioral tendencies develop and are expressed within social relationships.
  • Self and Health Behavior Laboratory - Dr. Deborah Kendzierski
  • Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory Laboratory - Dr. Irene Kan
    Research in our lab focuses on human memory functions.  By combining behavioral, neuropsychological (i.e., studying patients with brain damage), and electrophysiological methods (i.e., EEG & ERP), we hope to gain a better understanding of how different memory systems complement each other.
  • Social Self Laboratory - Dr. Erica Slotter
    In the Social Self Lab we investigate individuals’ perceptions of themselves and how these perceptions influence patterns of cognition, affect, and behavior. We place particular emphasis on how individuals’ self-views are influenced by the social situation in general and by important relationships in their lives.
  • Word Recognition and Auditory Perception Lab - Dr. Joe Toscano
    Our group studies speech recognition and language comprehension. We use a combination of behavioral, cognitive neuroscience, and computational techniques to study these processes as they unfold over time, both in the moment and over longer time-scales. Our research also addresses questions about how we can improve assessment of hearing loss and how we can use computer games to study speech communication.