Research

Faculty in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences maintain active research laboratories in their specialties. Strong research specializations include Animal Behavior, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Science, Neuroscience, Organizational Psychology, Personality, and Social Psychology. Faculty with interests in specific topics, and links to lab webpages, are given below.

 

Topics

Faculty and students are engaged in a wide range of research projects in their laboratories, and many have research interests that span multiple areas of Psychology. Faculty with interests in the following topics are listed here.

Laboratories

The links below will take you to websites for each lab. Information about faculty research interests can also be found on the Faculty and Staff page.

  • 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.
  • Adversity and Resilience in Development Laboratory - Dr. Janette Herbers
    In the ARD Lab, we consider child development in contexts of risk and adversity, such as poverty, homelessness, and psychosocial trauma. In particular, we seek to understand how protective factors like positive parent-child relationships and self-regulation skills enable children to grow and function well in relationships, behavior, and academics despite considerable challenges.

  • Scientific Thinking and Representation (STAR) Lab - Dr. Deena Weisberg
    The Scientific Thinking and Representation (STAR) Lab studies (1) how children acquire scientific knowledge, particularly the potential role of fictional stories in this learning, (2) why adults are resistant to scientific information on certain topics, and (3) how children’s scientific thinking abilities develop. 
 
 
 
  • Self and Health Behavior Laboratory - Dr. Deborah Kendzierski
    Research in the Self and Health Behavior lab focuses on two theoretical issues. First, we seek to understand the process by which individuals come to define themselves in terms of specific physical or nutritional activities. Second, we examine how these identities moderate the relationship between health-related intentions and behavior. In addition, some of our research is designed to provide the empirical foundation for the development of effective theory-based interventions to promote exercise and healthy/nutritious eating. We utilize both experimental and correlational methods, and we conduct studies in lab, field, and online settings.
  • Moral Evaluation and Values Laboratory – Dr. Steven Krauss (undergraduate only)
    My research explores the relationships between moral evaluation, values, religiosity, personality and culture. Participants in these studies have come from many countries, including Japan, Lebanon, Poland, Turkey and the United States.
  • Psychological Assessment Laboratory - Dr. John Kurtz
    My research team explores questions about human individual differences using a wide array of psychological assessment methods. Recent studies have investigated the identification of concealed psychopathology, the incremental validity of informant personality assessment, and the stability of traits in the transition to adulthood.
  • 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.
  • 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.