Research Opportunities

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Independent Study (PSYC 485)

Independent study is an opportunity for a student to receive course credit for working in a professor’s research lab or for working with a faculty member on a research project. This experience is advantageous for those who are interested in graduate school, may need a letter of recommendation, or simply want to gain research experience. 

Regarding PSYC 485 contract forms: While some professors have their own unique application form(s), the general-purpose contract should also be completed.

Available Faculty Members

David Bridgett

  • Office/Lab: PM 308/PM 130
  • Office Email: dbridgett1@niu.edu
  • Research interests: Developmental Psychopathology, Infant/toddler Emotion Regulation, Parent-child interactions.
  • Important Resources: The Emotion Regulation and Temperament Laboratory site, which includes a section dedicated to describing possible research experiences available to undergraduate students.

Anne Britt

  • Office/Lab: PM 363/PM 1
  • Email: britt@niu.edu
  • Research interests: Comprehension, cognition, and memory; integration of information from multiple sources; enhancing learning and understanding through use of computer-aided instruction; argument comprehension and construction.

Michelle Demaray

  • Office/Lab: PM 575/PM 534
  • Email: mkdemaray@niu.edu
  • Research interests: school psychology; social support perceived by children and adolescents; bullying and victimization in schools, including bystanders in the bullying situation and cyberbullying; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Important Resources: Dr. Demaray’s website.

Amanda Durik

  • Office/Lab PM 414/PM 329
  • Email: adurik@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Motivation in achievement situations

Lisa Finkelstein

  • Office/Lab PM 571/PM 30
  • Email: lisaf@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: aging at work, stigma at work, mentoring relationships, high potential employees and humor at work.

Angela Grippo

Michelle Lilly

  • Office/Lab: PM 318/PM 32
  • Email: mlilly1@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Family violence, trauma, mental health and recovery
  • Important Resources: Lilly's website.

Christine Malecki

  • Office/Lab: PM 312/PM 534
  • Email: cmalecki@niu.edu
  • Research interests: School psychology; social support perceived by children and adolescents; curriculum-based measurement; innovative school psychology delivery services.
  • Important Resources: Malecki's website, and a unique lab application.

Leslie Matuszewich

  • Office/Lab: PM 420/PM 537
  • Office Email: lmatusze@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Effects of chronic and acute stress on behavior and the brain; Neurotransmitter regulation of the stress response; Animal models of drug abuse; Neural regulation of sexual behavior in rats.
  • Important Resources: Matuszewich's unique lab application.

Randy McCarthy

  • Office/Lab: PM 307/PM 329
  • Email: rmccarthy3@niu.edu
  • Research interests: Who behaves aggressively; why do people behave aggressively;When do people behave aggressively.

Keith K. Millis

  • Office/Lab: PM 320/PM 1
  • Email: kmillis@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Discourse comprehension; technology and instruction; experimental aesthetics; memory processes.

Nina Mounts

  • Office/Lab: PM 410/PM 233-235
  • Email: nmounts@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Social development of children and adolescents across diverse ethnic groups; linkages between parent and peer contexts; parent-child relationships including parenting style and parental management of peers; peer relationships including peer influence and friendship formation.
  • Important Resources: Mounts's unique lab application.

Holly Orcutt

Bradford H. Pillow

  • Office/Lab: PM 353/PM 331
  • Office Email: pillow@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Social-cognitive and metacognitive development; Children's perspective-taking abilities; children's ability to reflect on their own mental states; children's conceptions of cognitive processes; children's explanations of others' behavior.

Laura Pittman

  • Office/Lab: PM 314/PM 132-134
  • Office Email: lpittman@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Developmental psychopathology; family process; extended family; parenting practices; poverty; cultural diversity; and transition to college.
  • Important Resources: Pittman's website, and a unique lab application.

Rachel Saef

  • Office/Lab PM 569/PM 139
  • Email: rsaef@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Personality in the workplace, employee well-being, and individual differences how employees perceive and react to organizational injustice, diversity and stress.
  • Important Resources: website, and a unique lab application

Brad Sagarin

  • Office/Lab: PM 416/PM 227
  • Office Email: bsagarin@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Attitude change; resistance to persuasion; deception, jealousy and infidelity; evolutionary psychology; human sexuality; statistical approaches to missing data and non-compliance.
  • Note: Sagarin has a number of new and ongoing studies on jealousy, infidelity, human sexuality, and research methods.

Alecia Santuzzi

  • Office/Lab: PM 561/PM 327
  • Email: asantuzzi@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Managing disability in the workplace; perceptions among women in male-dominated work environments; social paranoia in highly evaluative situations
  • Important Resources: Santuzzi's website.

Elizabeth Shelleby

  • Office PM 316
  • Email: eshelleby@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: development of child disruptive behavior problems, preventive interventions for at-risk populations, parenting practices, early child emotion regulation and the influence of contextual stressors on child mental health.

Kara Styck

  • Office/Lab: PM 359/PM 240
  • Office Email: kstyck@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Academic, social-emotional, and behavioral assessment; screening and progress monitoring in K-12 schools; Rasch analysis; and psychological measurement.

David Valentiner

Doug Wallace

  • Office/Lab: PM 309/PM 430
  • Email: dwallace@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Animal models of Alzheimer's Disease.

Katja Wiemer

  • Office/Lab: PM 569/236
  • Email: katja@niu.edu
  • Research Interests: Concepts and categories; abstract concepts; determinants of similarity; perceptual bases of cognition; embodied cognition; metacognition; semantics; natural language processing; maladaptive cognitions in mood disorders.