Research Labs & Descriptions

Lab Name Lab Owner Description Website
Social Development Lab Paul Boxer We study the effects of social-contextual influences on the development of behavior as well as transactional relations between individuals and their social environments. We focus primarily on the development of violent and non-violent antisocial behavior as well as the effects of contextual violence and crime on various forms of psychological and social adjustment. Our research relies on mixed-method, multi-source data obtained in normative, at-risk, and high-risk populations of children, adolescents, and adults. Website
Neuroethology Lab Mei-Fang Cheng Our brain is more resilient than we'd previously believed. This includes the ability of the adult brain to repair itself after injury. My lab investigates the role of new neurons generated in response to injury in the ring dove limbic system. We use a variety of tools, including behavioral, electrophysiological and endocrinological measurements, in an integrated approach to characterize the recovery of neuronal functions. We complement this with cellular neuroscience techniques to understand the role of neurogenesis and its underlying mechanisms.
Social and Affective Neuroscience Mauricio Delgado Research in the lab focuses on understanding the intrinsic relationship between rewards, punishments and behavior. Day to day activities, such as going to work, are performed routinely to either achieve a reward (e.g., receiving a paycheck) or to avoid a punishment (e.g., losing your job). Our behavior is motivated by the outcome of our actions, due to societal and survival demands. Therefore, a necessary step in understanding behavior is to understand how knowledge of rewards and punishments is represented in our brain, and how such knowledge leads to learning of new associations that serve to guide goal-directed behavior (e.g., going to work leads to monetary income). Website
Alan L. Gilchrist
RUMBA Stephen J. Hanson The RUMBA (Rutgers University Mind Brain Analysis) research group seeks to provide a center of excellence at Rutgers University that promotes new methods and concepts in modeling and interpretation of brain function in computational and algorithmic terms and to thereby further the fundmental understanding of brain mapping and its implications for brain function. Website
Behavioral Dynamics Lab Kent Harber The Behavioral Dynamics Lab focuses on emotions, motives, and psycho-social resources (i.e., self-worth, social support). A principal interest is how the "hot processes" of emotions and motives affect the "cool processes" of perception and judgment. Past and current research explores such topics as: the role of social support on the perception of heights, and the proximity of threatening objects; how self-worth and support affect attitudes towards victims; self-image concerns and interracial feedback; how self-esteem effects the use of emotions as information; and the effect of emotional disclosure on forgiveness.
Barry Komisaruk
Visual Cognition Lab Maggie Shiffrar Researchers in Dr. Shiffrar's lab conduct psychophysical studies of the visual perception of object movement and human movement. Our ReActor motion capture system allows us to make precise motion measurements that can be used to create stimuli and measure observer responses. Computer graphics software allows us to modify stimulus attributes systematically and to measure how those modifications alter visual perception. Website
Attachment Lab Harold Siegel According to John Bowlby's Attachment Theory, our early rearing experiences can profoundly affect us from "cradle to grave." Adult attachment is measured by asking subjects to choose a style or pattern that best describes them (Secure, Preoccupied, Dismissing, Fearful) or by assessing their dimensions of anxiety (related to concerns of being abandoned or rejected by significant others) and avoidance (related to our comfort with closeness with others).
Currently, we have a number of interesting research projects underway. We are investigating an intervention program to facilitate the movement of college students from insecurity to more secure attachments. We are also examining the role of attachment styles on how subjects view jury cases (many of which involve issues of attachment, e.g., child custody, spousal abuse) and on the experience of psychosomatic illness and somatoform disorders. Our large survey and interview study of sexual offenders is proceeding from an attachment perspective (and other variables such as shame, guilt, anxiety, sexual stereotypes, etc.).
Learning and Decision Making Lab Elizabeth Tricomi In the Learning and Decision Making Lab, behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research is aimed at investigating the influences of affective information on cognitive processing in the brain. For example, brain regions that process reward-related information are recruited during learning from performance feedback. Importantly, the signals in these regions vary depending on the context, such as whether feedback reflects the outcome of a guess or whether it reflects goal achievement. By manipulating these sorts of contextual variables, we can discover what information different brain systems are sensitive to, and how their activity influences decision making and learning.
Infant Cognition Center Gretchen Van de Walle The Infant Cognition Center at Rutgers University, investigates how infants understand objects and people in the world around them. We have found that in some ways, babies know a lot more than people used to believe, but in other ways, babies reason about the world quite differently from adults. Website