Undergraduate Research Opportunities

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.  Please see here for a more detailed description of the nature of PSYC 485. 

The following is a list of faculty members who are currently available to supervise students for independent study during the Summer 2015 and Fall 2015 semesters.  Please contact the professor(s) in question directly using the information provided below to setup an appointment.

Regarding PSYC 485 Contract Forms: While some professors have their own unique application form(s), the general-purpose contract can be downloaded here or picked up at the department's main office in PM400.

Available Faculty Members:

Dr. Larissa Barber

  • Office/Lab: PM 563/PM 139
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-0740,
  • Research interests: Work-life balance, health behaviors (specifically sleep), stress, and self-regulation/self-control; work engagement and burnout; emotional labor (emotion regulation at work); personality traits and counterproductive workplace behaviors.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Barber's unique lab application.
  • Note: New students are accepted as volunteers only, with an option to continue for Psyc 485 credit later(FALL Semester ONLY)

Dr. David Bridgett

  • Office/Lab: PM 308/PM 130
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-0774,
  • Research interests: Developmental Psychopathology, Infant/toddler Emotion Regulation, Parent-child interactions.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Bridgett's homepage, which includes a section dedicated to describing possible research experiences available to undergraduate students.

Dr. Anne Britt

  • Office/Lab: PM 363/PM 1
  • Office Phone/Email:  (815) 753-7082,
  • 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.

Dr. Amanda Durik

  • Office/Lab PM 414/PM 329
  • Phone/Email: (815) 753-7069,
  • Research Interests: Motivation in achievement situations

Dr. Lisa Finkelstein

  • Office/Lab PM 571/PM 30
  • Phone/Email: (815) 753-0439,
  • Research Interests: Age and generational issues in the work place; mentoring relationship; obesity bias; humor at work.  (FALL Semester ONLY)

Dr. Angela Grippo

Dr. Michelle Lilly

  • Office/Lab: PM 318/PM 32
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-4602,
  • Research Interests: Family violence, trauma, mental health and recovery
  • Important Resources: Dr. Lilly's homepage.

Dr. Christine Malecki

  • Office/Lab: PM 312/PM 534
  • Phone/Email: (815) 753-1836,
  • Research interests: School psychology; social support perceived by children and adolescents; curriculum-based measurement; innovative school psychology delivery services.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Malecki's homepage, and a unique lab application.

Dr. Leslie Matuszewich

  • Office/Lab: PM 420/PM 537
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-0072,
  • 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: Dr. Matuszewich's unique lab application.

Dr. Keith K. Millis

  • Office/Lab: PM 320/PM 1
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-7087,
  • Research Interests: Discourse comprehension; technology and instruction; experimental aesthetics; memory processes.

Dr. Nina Mounts

  • Office/Lab: PM 410/PM 233-235
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-6968,
  • 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: Dr. Mounts's unique lab application.

Dr. Bradford H. Pillow

  • Office/Lab: PM 353/PM 331
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-7079,
  • 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.

Dr. Laura Pittman

  • Office/Lab: PM 314/PM 132-134
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-2485,
  • Research Interests: Developmental psychopathology; family process; extended family; parenting practices; poverty; cultural diversity; and transition to college.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Pittman's homepage, and a unique lab application.

Dr. Brad Sagarin

  • Office/Lab: PM 416/PM 227
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-7067,
  • Research Interests: Attitude change; resistance to persuasion; deception, jealousy and infidelity; evolutionary psychology; human sexuality; statistical approaches to missing data and non-compliance.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Sagarin's homepage.
  • Note:Dr. Sagarin has a number of new and ongoing studies on jealousy, infidelity, human sexuality, and research methods.

Dr. Alecia Santuzzi

  • Office/Lab: PM 561/PM 327
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-7096,
  • Research Interests: Managing disability in the workplace; perceptions among women in male-dominated work environments; social paranoia in highly evaluative situations
  • Important Resources: Dr. Santuzzi's homepage.

Dr. John Skowronski

  • Office/Lab: PM 418/PM 133-135
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-7073,
  • Research Interests: Processes and structures involved in judgment and memory about others and the self: how we draw conclusions about the internal characteristics (traits, motives, goals) of people, and why we remember certain things about people and forget others.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Skowronski's homepage.

Dr. David Valentiner

  • Office/Lab: PM 422/PM 334
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-7086,
  • Research Interests: Anxiety disorders; coping with stress; emotional processes related to anxiety and coping.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Valentiner's homepage, and a unique lab application and pre-written contract for PSYC 485.

Dr. Doug Wallace

  • Office/Lab: PM 309/PM 430
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-7071,
  • Research Interests: Animal models of Alzheimer's Disease.

Dr. Katja Wiemer

  • Office/Lab: PM 569/236
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-5227,
  • 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.

Dr. Kevin Wu

  • Office/Lab: PM 311/PM 31
  • Office Phone/Email: (815) 753-1605,
  • Research Interests: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; personality; personality disorders; relations between the mood and anxiety disorders.
  • Important Resources: Dr. Wu's lab homepage.
  • Note: Student-initiated projects address the assessment of social anxiety disorder, rumination and how it relates to depression and anxiety, and the importance of certain beliefs for understanding repetitive phenomena (e.g., obsessions, worries).  Undergraduate research assistants may earn credit through PSYC 485; typically, students are recruited in April or May to begin during the subsequent Fall term and stay on for either one or (preferably) two terms. Less frequently, students may apply during November/December to begin during the following Spring term.