Department of Psychology
Pryale Hall, Room 111
654 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(map)
(248) 370-2300
Fax: (248) 370-4612

Research

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.
Faculty
Research Interests

Escobar, Martha: Learning and memory; animal models of psychological dysfunction; causal learning; comparative cognition.

Kozak, Andrea: Factors that contribute to excess weight, ways to help people lose weight and keep it off, and the consequences of overweight and obesity.

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.

McLarnon, Matthew: Resiliency in the workplace, personality and workplace behavior, interpersonal conflict in work teams, advanced statistical methods (e.g., structural equation models, latent profile analysis).

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.

Raman, Lakshmi: Children's cognitive development with respect to children's understanding of food.

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

Sifonis, Cynthia: The manner in which the use of category knowledge affects the representation of that knowledge and how the category representation affects category use.

Taku, Kanako: Posttraumatic growth (PTG) as a result of the struggle with major life crises or traumatic events.

Vonk, Jennifer: Cognitive continuities and discontinuities between humans and both closely and distantly related species.

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

Williams, Keith: The pharmacological and behavioral mechanisms of drug reinforcement and craving, drug discriminative stimulus properties, hormonal influences on drug self-administration, and contribution of food intake mechanisms on drug consumption.

Zeigler-Hill, Virgil: Self-esteem, narcissism, cognitive representations of the self, and interpersonal relationships.

 

Current Studies

The following research studies are open to community members. Please be sure to read through the eligibility criteria to be sure you qualify for the study. All posted studies have been approved by OU's Institutional Review Board that regulates the research being conducted on campus.

Multitude of Events Project

Are you 18 years of age or older? YOU ARE INVITED to participate in a one session online research study that is being conducted by researchers from Oakland University. This study is being led by Aundreah Walenski and Dr. Kanako Taku (Associate Professor). You will be asked to do the following: 1) provide demographic information such as your age, ethnicity and religious association 2) complete a few questionnaires about how you perceive stress, and 3) asked to recall your past experiences that were stressful life events. All procedures in this survey have been approved by the Oakland University Institutional Review Board. This study will last approximately 45 minutes.

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.

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.

Sexuality of Romantic Couples (VASR Study)

To be eligible, you must be: (1) in a heterosexual, sexually active romantic relationship for at least 3 months, (2) you and your partner must be between the ages of 18 years and 35 years, and (3) you and your partner must be able to come to the lab at the same time for Session 1 (Lab is located in Pryale Hall on the campus of Oakland University). If you take part in the study, you will complete an approximately 1 hour survey in the research lab and then complete an approximately 30 minute survey online, six months later. The total time for participation is approximately 1.5 - 2 hours. Both surveys include various questionnaires about sexual behavior, personality, thoughts and feelings about your romantic partner, and relationship conflict behavior. Each person will entered into a lottery for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card after completing Session 1 (in the lab). Each person will also be entered into a lottery for a chance to win another $50 Amazon gift card if they complete Session 2 (online). If interested, please see our website or email Nicole Barbaro at VASRstudy@gmail.com

Male Sexuality Study

This study is designed to examine the sexual behavior of heterosexual men, in order to determine if human males engage in sperm competition in a manner that is similar to other species. More specifically, we will be analyzing the semen that males produce when masturbating under different conditions (i.e., imagining different sexual scenarios). To be eligible you must: (1) be in a sexually active, heterosexual, committed romantic relationship for at least 3 months, (2) be a man between the ages of 18 and 35 years with a female partner who is also between the ages of 18 and 35, and (3) not be receiving fertility treatment or have received a vasectomy. The study will consist of three lab sessions total: Session 1 will last approximately 90 minutes, and sessions 2 and 3 will last approximately 15 minutes. Men will be compensated $75. If interested please see our website or email Michael Pham at SQAVlab@gmail.com

Sociosexuality of Romantic Couples

This study is designed to examine the sexual behavior of heterosexual couples, in order to determine if humans engage in sperm competition in a manner that is similar to other species. More specifically, we will be analyzing the semen produced from masturbation and from copulation. We are recruiting sexually active, heterosexual couples who have been in a committed relationship for at least three months. Participants must be between the ages of 18 to 35 and couples must currently be using condoms during sexual intercourse. Individuals who are currently receiving fertility treatment are not eligible to participate in this study. Additionally, women who are using or have used a method of hormonal contraception in the past 3 months, such as the birth control pill, patch, hormonal IUD, or ring (such as the NuvaRing), are not eligible to participate in this study. Couples who are using calendar-based “rhythm” methods of contraception (i.e., avoiding sexual intercourse during periods in which the woman is at greater conception risk) are excluded from participating. The study will consist of 7 lab sessions: Session 1 will last approximately 1.5-2 hours, and sessions 2-7 will last approximately 30 minutes. Couples will be compensated $210. If interested please see our website or email Michael Pham at copulationstudy@gmail.com