Student working on a research project.

Social Psychophysiology

In the Social Psychophysiology Lab, we are interested in stress and coping; specifically, understanding the factors that contribute to resilience versus vulnerability to potential stressors. We measure participants’ cardiovascular responses (i.e., blood pressure, heart rate, and how much blood the heart is pumping) during potentially stressful tasks, such as giving a speech, problem solving, and interacting with others. We use these bodily responses as a way to measure participants’ psychological states while they perform the task, without having to interrupt them to ask or depend on them to accurately self-report what they are thinking or feeling. Our current research focuses on three core topics: (1) examining when and how high self-esteem serves as a resource versus a vulnerability, and the associated consequences for potentially destructive behavior; (2) investigating how past experience of adverse life events can contribute to developing a propensity for future resilience; and (3) exploring the role of individuals’ relationships with significant others and groups (e.g., romantic relationships, friendships, identification with sports teams) in resilience versus vulnerability. As a research assistant in the Social Psychophysiology Lab, you will work as part of a team, gaining hands-on experience by running research participants through the experimental procedures and operating a variety of physiological recording equipment.

Research Project Information

Disciplines: Psychology
Student Skill-Set Needed: Dependable, ready to learn new things and able to work well with a team. No previous expereince is necessary
Compensation: Academic Credit, Volunteer
Available: Fall, Spring


For further information on this opportunity, or to apply, contact:

Faculty Member: Mark Seery, PhD
Title: Associate Professor
Department: Psychology
Office: 361 Park Hall