Our Psychobiology Lab is equipped to support research in Behavioral Pharmacology and general Behavioral Neuroscience. These lab spaces are equipped with automated activity monitors that allow for the measurement of movement components (precise measures of horizontal movements, vertical movements, stereotyped behaviors, e.g.) over short or long periods of time. Data are then fed into a computerized motion analyzer and are printed out at specified time periods for subsequent analysis.
In recent years, the lab has been utilized for studies of early developmental social stress and subsequent play behavior and drug responsivity; students have constructed play arenas to observe and quantify multiple play behaviors during development, and to examine how exposure to drugs such as cocaine might interact with the early experience of social stress in modifying social behavior throughout development. The lab also is eqiupped with a centrifuge and basic equpiment for analysis of stress hormones (e.g., corticoserone) in blood samples.
The Cognition Lab is designed to allow for a variety of activities associated with basic cognitive research. Recent research in the lab has examined how problem solving relates to conceptual organization within a domain, how a person's prior experience affects how he or she explains an event, and how naive political theories help to organize related conceptual knowledge.
The Cognition lab consists of two main rooms. In the testing room, there are three Apple workstations for conducting computer-based experiments. The room can be configured for individual and small group experimental sessions as well. In the lab office, there is room for researchers to meet to discuss lab business and code data. There is a primary workstation in the office where the researchers can develop experimental stimuli, design computer-based experiments, and conduct data analyses.
The Psychology Department has four rooms dedicated to human observation and observational research. The observation room is used for students in Psychology 202: Field Experience in Psychology to practice basic, person-centered counseling skills (e.g., active listening, motivational interviewing) with classmates and other student volunteers. The room is furnished with four video cameras that can record events in a control room located in the suite. Students are able to record their practice sessions and review the sessions during class.
The observation suite also includes two rooms used for interaction research and the coding of videotaped observational data. Most recently, these rooms have also been used by students in Psychology 271: Health Psychology to study the human stress response.
The Perception Laboratory is currently equipped with a triptych of flat-screen computer monitors that can be used to create an immersive environment experience. This equipment has been utilized over the last several years to study questions related to how individuals develop an understanding of the organization of a cityscapes.
The psychology department houses Denison University’s Psychophysics Lab. Psychophysics is the science of describing relations between sensory experiences and physical stimulation, such as light and sound.
The psychophysical research that Dr. Nestor Matthews currently conducts with Denison students has historical connections (see academic family tree) to Wilhelm Wundt's original experimental psychology lab, founded in 1879 at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Nineteenth century Germany was a hub for early psychophysical research by notable physiologists like Ernst Weber, Gustav Fechner, Johannes Muller, and Hermann von Helmholtz (Wundt’s mentor) before psychologists were called psychologists! Today, psychophysics thrives as sub-discipline of both psychology and neuroscience.