Faculty in the Psychology Department operate many different research laboratories, including:
R. Thomas Boone
The SOCO (Social Cognition on the South Coast) Lab studies the structure of emotion and how language affects our perception of emotion. We view emotions as “constructed” through the brain’s ability to categorize more basic affective information into meaningful units. To test this theory, we facilitate language to see how emotion words affect the categories which people use to make sense of such affective information, including whether words make people better perceivers of emotion. In other studies we “turn off” language to see what happens to a person’s ability to detect such changes and to use emotion categories. To study these questions, we primarily use cognitive and behavioral paradigms. We also work closely with other labs in the department which approach emotion from more developmental, biological, and neuroscientific perspectives. More recently, we have begun to expand our interests in language and categorization to include how naming an object changes a person’s perception and understanding of it, and what affective connotations words carry. For more information, we invite you to click on the following link: https://fugatejennifer.wordpress.com/
I am a social psychologist with an interest in close relationships. My research in the last two decades has focused on several interrelated areas of inquiry: Love and mating behavior, relationship satisfaction, competition and betrayal, and more recently, forgiveness and resilience in romantic relationships and friendships. More recently, my former student James Bradley and I conducted a study that examined the association between resilience and marital satisfaction. Resilience is the ability to rebound after experiencing adversity. Participants were 237 married individuals, who completed online surveys about their marriage. This study is among the first to explore the influential impact of resilience, specifically on marital satisfaction. The results of this master’s thesis showed that resilience is a significant predictor of marital satisfaction, especially in the context of a secure attachment to partner, positive affect, and strong social support. The findings are currently submitted for publication. In addition, the honors thesis of my former student Elizabeth Lozano looked at the relationship between resilience and positive outcomes in friendships of young adults. Findings revealed indirect effects for friendship closeness, maintenance behaviors, and received social support. Our findings demonstrate the importance of positive emotions and its connection with trait resilience in the realm of friendships (Lozano, Hojjat, & Sims-Knight, In Press).
My research focuses on complex cognitive processes. I am particularly interested in the development and transfer of knowledge and skills. My research involves the assessment of current knowledge/skill levels, the tracking of knowledge/skill development, and the implementation of training procedures to boost knowledge/skills. My training is in cognitive science and I frequently collaborate with researchers outside of psychology. I conduct research in both laboratory and classroom settings. Recent laboratory research projects include the implementation of training procedures to boost insightful problem solving, examining the connections between different types of creativity, and assessing how individuals modify their explanations of social situations. Recent classroom research projects include assessing undergraduate psychology students’ skills in comprehending and critiquing research articles, implementing training procedures to boost these skills, and measuring the development of design creativity in undergraduate engineering students.
I am a cognitive psychologist and have been at UMass Dartmouth since 1994. Much of my work is directed at understanding the cognition underlying learning in complex domains (such as history, biology, physics and psychology) with educational technology, such as hypermedia and clickers. Through my laboratory studies I have gained an understanding of some ways in which technology and learner characteristics interact to affect learning outcomes in these domains. While my earlier work focused on hypermedia, my more recent work has focused on clickers. My work in this area tends to be more applied than theoretical, though I do begin my studies from a theoretical perspective. Through my controlled studies of classroom learning, I have learned much about the roles of prior knowledge, information structure, and classroom pedagogy in learning outcomes when using various forms of technology. I have a second research area where I explore memory errors, false memory in particular. My work in this area has explored the status of original information when false memories are successfully implanted. I am currently serving as Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, but am still happy to work with motivated students. Please call for appointments, as I do not hold regular office hours.
Sims-Knight's research is in three distinct areas.
One is the study of how people develop expertise in complex cognitive domains such as music, engineering design, and psychological reasoning. In the past five years we have demonstrated that metacognitive intervention improves students' performance in musical performance, engineering design, and golf. This year we are exploring whether metacognitive training improves performance in psychological learning (most probably statistical reasoning).
The second area of research is on sexual aggression. Our current research focuses on the etiology and protective factors involved in rape, both in incarcerated offenders and in college students, and on gender differences in rape.
In bullying Sims-Knight is interested both in understanding the role relational aggression plays in bullying and in identifying correlative factors that might help us understand what promotes bullying.
Ongoing Research Projects
Can novice statistics students use metacognitive processes to enhance their learning?
Aggression and Sexual Aggression
What role does sexual experiences in adolescence play in sexual coercion?
Protective role of friendship, peer activities, and intimacy in aggression and sexual aggression
The relation between parental aggression and college students’ bullying
Bullying and friendships
Bullying and antisocial tendencies
Gender differences in bullying