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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Psychology

Independent Study Chart





Dr. Amit Almor

Language and Memory in Aging and Dementia; Referencial Processing

Research in the Language and Cognition alab generally examines the relation between memory, attention and language. Specific areas of research are the processing of referential expressions, the attentional requirements of communication and language, and memory impairments. The lab uses a combination of methodologies to look at behavior and its underlying neural processes. These include behavioral measures,  eye tracking, EEG/ERP, and fMRI.

Dr. Cheryl Armstead

Health Psychology; Ethnicity; Cardiovascular Psychophysiology; Blood Pressure; Heart Rate; Stress; Racism; Hostility; Gender; Socioeconomic Status; Cardiovascular Disease; STD Prevention

Current projects in the Health Equity Laboratory include studies of laboratory reactions to psychological stress; debt stress and health; African American Greek Organizations and health; risky sexual behaviors and life stress; obesity, hair stress and exercise among African American women; and academic stress and coping.  Dr. Armstead also does research with the South Carolina Cancer Disparities Community Network.  This includes studies of obesity prevention among pastors; nutrition and physical activity health promotion in churches; inflammatory responses to chronic psychological stress among African American women; metabolic syndrome, reactivity to stress, and obesity; and racism and cancer risk.

Dr. Rose Booze

ADHD; Drug Use and Effects; Sex Differences in the Brain; Viral Infections of Neurons; Drug Abuse During Pregnancy; Obesity and Motivation

Contact Dr. Booze to inquire about any possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Shauna Cooper

Youth and Adolescents; Race and Ethnicity; African Americans; Families; Schools; Youth Development

Dr. Cooper runs the African American Youth Development Research Lab.  To find out about the lab's current projects, visit:

Dr. Scott Decker

Cognitive Neuroscience; School Psychology; ADHD; Learning Disabilities; Technology

The Applied Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab conducts research studies that bridge technological advances in cognitive neuroscience with school applications for children and adolescents with learning difficulties. Ongoing projects include neurofeedback treatment studies for students with ADHD, development and norming of an original online memory test for screening and intervention progress monitoring, and EEG data collection with children with Specific Learning Disabilities.  Students interested in working with us should first browse our web site at, and then contact Dr. Decker.

Dr. Rutvik Desai

Concepts and Meaning in the Brain; Language; Cognitive Neuroscience; Neuroimaging

Investigation of brain bases of language and meaning.  More information:

Dr. Amanda Fairchild

Quantitative Methods; Effect Size Measures for Mediation; Measurement/Evaluation of Programs and Outcomes; Statistical Pedagogy

Dr. Fairchild's research interests involve the intersection of mediation and moderation models and how the integration of these models aids in program evaluation.  Contact her to inquire about any potential opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Kate Flory

Children with ADHD; Social Impairment

Undergraduate research assistants help with all aspects of the study, such as recruitment, data collection, data entry, and other lab duties. Requirements of interested students include: a GPA of at least a 3.5, some experience working with children, and availability during the evenings and on weekends.   **Note: Dr. Flory's lab is full for Spring 2014 but is accepting applications for Summer 2014 and beyond.

Dr. Jessica Green

Attention; Multisensory Perception; Cognitive Control; Neuroimaging

The overarching aim of Dr. Green's research is to understand the neural and psychological mechanisms of human attention and perception.  For more information about current projects, visit her lab website:

Dr. Steven Harrod

Behavioral Neuroscience; Motivation; Prenatal Nicotine; Drug Self-Administration

The focus of Dr. Harrod's research is to understand the neurodevelopmental changes of brain motivational systems in animals prenatally exposed to nicotine. Drug self-administration, drug conditioning, and neurochemical changes are investigated. Contact Dr. Harrod to inquire about any possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Kimberly Hills

Developmental Psychology; Exceptional Children; School Psychology

Dr. Hills' current research interests focus on autism diagnosis, psychological assessment, prevention and intervention for at-risk youth and positive psychology.  Contact Dr. Hills to inquire about any possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Scott Huebner

School Psychology; Children's Positive Psychological Well-Being

Contact Dr. Huebner to inquire about any possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Sandra Kelly

Behavioral Neuroscience

Research opportunities in the Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory include conducting research on animal models of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and also on the neurobiology of social behavior in wild mice.   Undergraduate students would work on on-going projects in the laboratory and acquire skills in experimental design, behavioral testing of rodents, neurochemistry and neuroanatomy. Students should have taken either PSYC 460 (Biopsychology) or SCHC 330P (Introduction to Neuroscience) and other sciences courses are a plus. 

Dr. Michelle Kitchen

Theories of Learning; Mental Health Counseling; Life Applications to Psychology; Crisis/Trauma Interventions

Independent study topics can vary based on student interest.  Past topics include how LGBT issues are covered in psychology textbooks; the psychopathology of serial killers; ADHD case studies, treatments, and interventions; treatment and interventions of PTSD in the military population; and the study methods of pre-med students for the MCAT.  Contact Dr. Kitchen for more details.

Dr. Bret Kloos

Community Psychology; Mental Illness Recovery; Homelessness; Community Integration; Social Work

Dr. Kloos's current work focuses on how housing and neighbhorhood environments can support recovery and community integration of persons with psychiatric disabilities.  He is also looking at how communities can respond to homelessness.  His lab is called the Housing and Adapative Function Lab.  You can get more information about it at

Dr. Charles Mactutus

Drug Use and Effects

Dr. Mactutus's major research interests are in the areas of drug abuse neurotoxicity, addictive processes and NeuroAIDS.  Contact him directly to inquire about any possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Rhea Merck


Contact Dr. Merck directly to inquire about any possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Robin Morris

Eye Tracking; Reading; Cognitive Psychology

Contact Dr. Morris to inquire about any possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Melanie Palomares

Visual Perception and Attentional Selection; Perceptual Organization; Subitizing; Letter Recognition/ Visual Development in Children

Dr. Palomares runs the Child Perception and Attention Lab.  For more information about her current projects, visit 

Dr. Ron Prinz

Child Psychology; Children and Families

Dr. Prinz is part of the Research Consortium on Children and Families.  Contact him directly to inquire about possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. John Richards

Infant Attention; Infant Memory; EEG; Brain Development; Psychophysiology

The Infant Development Laboratory is a research facility focused on the development of attention and memory in young infants.  Researchers study infants while they are presented with video pictures or movies.  They record heart rate and brain activity to see how the infant brain functions when the infant is attending to interesting visual presentations.  These data are used to study the development of attention in young infants.  More information:

Dr. Jane Roberts

Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Young Children; Autism; Williams Syndrome

Dr. Roberts runs the USC Neurodevelopmental Disability Research Project.  For information about current projects, visit

Dr. Chris Rorden

Brain Injury; Neurological Disorders; Speech and Perception

Dr. Rorden examines the behavioral difficulties people experience after brain injury.  Contact him directly for information about possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Jeff Schatz

Sickle Cell; Children and Families

Contact Dr. Schatz to inquire about possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Svetlana Shinkareva

Quantitative Methods; fMRI; Neural Basis of Semantic and Affective Representation; Quantitative Neuroimaging

Dr. Shinkareva's research focuses on the development and application of quantitative methods to neuroimaging data.  Her current interests include applying machine learning methods to fMRI data to study the neural basis of semantic knowledge representation and the representation of affect.

Dr. Suzanne Swan

Interpersonal Violence and Aggression; College Students; Women's and Gender Studies

Dr. Swan's program of research follows the tradition of Kurt Lewin's dictum that "there is nothing so practical as a good theory.'' Her research interests are in the field of interpersonal violence and aggression, with a focus on interpersonal violence on college campuses, including dating violence, sexual violence, and drugging (i.e. putting a drug into someone's drink when they are unaware).  Dr. Swan's lab also examines interventions to prevent violence.  Visit for information about Dr. Swan's current research.

Dr. Jennifer Vendemia

Deceptive Behavior; Stress and Anxiety; Misinformation; Executive Function During Emotional Processing

Dr. Vendemia runs the Deception Lab.  Visit for information about the lab's latest research.

Dr. Abe Wandersman

Community Psychology; Environmental and Ecological Psychology; Citizen Participation; Community Coalitions; Program Evaluation

Contact Dr. Wandersman to inquire about possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Doug Wedell

Judgment and Decision Making; Probability; Bias in Estimation

Contact Dr. Wedell to inquire about possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Mark Weist

School Mental Health; Adolescents with Social/Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

Contact Dr. Weist to inquire about possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Dawn Wilson

Physical Activity; Diet; Adolescent Well-being

You can view Dr. Wilson's current project summaries on her website at  Contact her directly about possible opportunities for independent study.

Dr. Shawn Youngstedt

Exercise Science; Public Health; Health Psychology; PTSD; Sleep

Dr. Youngstedt's lab investigates health topics like the psychological effects of sleep deprivation, PTSD, the psychological effects of exercise, etc.  Dr. Youngstedt is a professor in the Exercise Science department but is available to work on indepenednt studies with Psychology students.

Dr. Nicole Zarrett

Adolescent Development; Health Psychology

Contact Dr. Zarrett to inquire about possible opportunities for independent study.