Research Laboratories in the Psychology Department

Physiological Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory. The physiological psychology / behavioral neuroscience labs at Amherst use a variety of approaches to investigate brain-behavior relationships. We can perform stereotaxic surgery, high pressure liquid chromotography, electrophysiology, and immunohistochemistry. Behaviorally, we are equipped to examine conditioned taste aversion, conditioned avoidance, operant behavior, open field behavior, obesity, gustatory psychophysics, feeding microstructure, and videographic analyses of anxiety, locomotor, and feeding and depressive-like behavior. We routinely add testing equipment as particular experiments require; for example, the laboratory was recently expanded to allow acute electrophysiological recordings of neuron responses to taste stimuli, digested nutrients and obesity-related peptides.

Sensation and Perception Lab. The sensation and perception lab uses behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational methods to examine the limits of human cognition. Specifically, we use a combination of traditional behavioral paradigms, virtual reality, and fMRI/EEG to measure and quantify the capacities of visual perception and awareness. The lab space consists of multiple private testing rooms equipped with high-performance computers outfitted with a variety of programs used to create a diverse array of stimuli used in our experiments.

Cognitive Laboratory. The cognitive psychology laboratory at Amherst is equipped to handle a variety of experimental protocols with both younger and older adults. We have the capacity to generate musical stimuli, and to record music and other auditory stimuli from the environment. Visual images can be scanned, and software is available to construct and manipulate three-dimensional objects. Testing rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art experimental design sofware. These programs allow careful control of the timing and order of stimulus presentation, and can be used to record response accuracy and reaction time.

Social / Personality Laboratory. The social/personality psychology lab consists of distinct types of research space equipped to handle a variety of experimental protocols. We have testing rooms available for virtually any type of study, including a computer lab for 8 participants, a medium-size room for use by 5 or 6 participants, and 2 small rooms that can handle 1 or 2 participants.

Well-being and Emotion Change Laboratory.  The well-being and emotion change lab conducts clinical research examining emotion regulation and mental health in adults. The lab is equipped to gather self-report and behavioral data.  The lab space includes two private testing rooms in which participants complete study procedures and clinical interviews with trained study staff.

Child Learning and Development Laboratory. The child learing and development laboratory studies how children learn about the world around them, with a particular emphasis on how children learn from social interactions with others. Equipped with two testing rooms and a comfortable waiting room, our lab space allows us to collect behavioral data from children and adults, while also putting participants at ease during their visit. 

Peer Relationships Laboratory. The peer relationships lab conducts clinical research examining social and emotional adjustment in children, adolescents, and young adults.  The lab is equipped to assess physiological indicators of emotion regulation and stress reactivity, including measurement of heart-rate variability, respiration, and skin conductance level. The lab also has video-recording capabilities to measure behavioral responses. The lab space includes two testing rooms and a comfortable waiting room. One of our testing rooms is also equipped with a one-way mirror so that parents can watch their children participate while in our waiting room.