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Department of Psychology
111 Pryale Hall
Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309              
(248) 370-2300
Fax: (248) 370-4612  


The Department of Psychology at Oakland University offers numerous research opportunities for our students and community members. If you are a student interested in becoming a Research Assistant, you should find a faculty member who is conducting research in a topic that excites you. If you are a student or community member who would like to participate in the research we are conducting at OU, check our ‘current studies’ tab to see if you qualify.

Lewis, Mary Eberly: Connection between parent-adolescent relations and adolescent prosocial behavior and moral development; Attachment and parent separation anxiety from adolescents during the transition to college.

McDonald, Melissa: Sex differences in the underlying motivations for intergroup bias; interventions for reducing bias and conflict between groups; functional approaches to understanding individual differences.

McGinnis, Debra: Resilience and factors related to resilience in adults of all ages. Cognitive changes related to language processes in older adults.

Pickett, Scott: Trauma, stress and anxiety; the risk and protective factors of emotion regulation; relationship between sleep and emotional processing.

Purcell, Dean: Face Perception: Impact of facial affect on human performance; Impact of facial organization on human detection performance.

Purdie, Michele Parkhill: Predictors and consequences of violence against women; the role of alcohol in sexual aggression.

Shackelford, Todd: Evolutionary psychology; sperm competition and sexual conflict.

Taku, Kanako: Psychological mechanisms of posttraumatic growth and resiliency, with a particular focus on the development and implementation of  intervention programs from a cross-cultural perspective.

Welling, Lisa: Behavioral endocrinology; adaptive preferences; mate choice and interpersonal relationships.

Williams, Keith: Pharmacological and behavioral influences on rat models of alcohol self-administration.

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Perceived Social Roles and Face Preferences

This study is for those 18 years of age and older who identify as heterosexual or mostly heterosexual. You will be asked questions about your sexual preferences, orientation, and feelings. You will also be asked to rate yourself (and your partner, if applicable) on varied characteristics and will be asked to rate male and female faces for attractiveness. Participation is voluntary and takes about 15-20 minutes.

It's all in the Eyes

This study asks you to rate a series of faces multiple times on various emotions (e.g., anger, sadness, happiness, etc.). To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old. Participation takes 30-45 minutes.

Women's Relationships and Sexuality

To be eligible for this study, you must be a female between the ages of 18-35 years; have been in a heterosexual, sexual relationship for at least 3 months; have had sexual intercourse with your primary partner at least once over the past week; are not pregnant; have not been pregnant in the previous 9 months; are not currently trying to become pregnant; are not currently breast-feeding; are not using any form of hormonal replacement therapy; are not currently taking any form of hormonal contraception (examples: the birth control pill, patch, ring, hormonal IUD or injection); have not taken hormonal contraceptives in the past 3 months; and your romantic partner has not had a vasectomy, is not currently using a treatment for infertility, and is not using hormone replacement therapy. You are invited to participate in a one-session study approved by the Oakland University Institutional Review Board (IRB). If you agree to take part in this research, you will be asked to answer questions about your demographic information (e.g., age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, relationship status, etc.), your relationship, your romantic partner, your menstrual cycles, and your sexual behavior. All procedures and measures used in this survey have been approved by the Oakland University IRB. This study will last approximately 60 minutes. Participation is completely voluntary.

Staying Friends (or Not) After a Breakup

Must be 18 years of age or older, identify as exclusively heterosexual, and have been in at least one romantic relationship previously (NOT including your current relationship). You are invited to participate in a one-session study. If you agree to take part in this research study, you will be given a list of reasons for why someone might stay or not stay friends with an ex and asked to indicate whether and how often each item has been a reason for staying or not staying friends your ex(s). You will also be asked to do the following: 1) provide demographic information about your age and ethnicity, 2) complete a few personality and relationship behavior questionnaires, and 3) asked to recall information about previous relationships. All procedures in this survey have been approved by the Oakland University Institutional Review Board. This study will last approximately 30-45 minutes.

Personality and Relationships

If you agree to take part in this research study, you will be asked to do the following: 1) provide demographic information about your age and ethnicity, 2) complete a series of personality and relationship behavior inventories, 3) provide information about your current romantic relationship (relationship duration, age of your partner, whether your relationship is exclusive/polyamorous or committed/not committed, and information about how your relationship started), and 4) asked to recall information about previous relationships. This study will last approximately 30-45 minutes.

Human Sexual Relationships

This study looks at factors affecting relationships, including sexual behaviors and personal attributes. It asks questions of a personal nature, but is completely anonymous. This study is open to heterosexual men and women between the ages of 18-40 years, who have been in a romantic relationship for at least 3 months, and who are not currently pregnant.

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