Students studying psychological science investigate how people think, behave, and interact with others. They examine how social situations, cognitive factors, education systems, ideas about health, biology, culture, and myriad other factors influence human thoughts and behavior.   

Research interests in the program are wide-ranging, but tend to focus around topics in social psychology, cognitive psychology, health psychology, and learning science (or educational/school psychology). Faculty and student researchers use various methods to answer their research questions including surveys, experiments, psychophysiological measures, and eye tracking. 

Faculty and students collaborate to research questions like these:

  • How does our social environment influence our health?
  • How can we encourage environmental awareness and sustainability?
  • Why is understanding how people think and behave important when designing technological devices, robots, or computer games?
  • What factors increase or decrease stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination?
  • How can technology increase a student's ability to learn subjects like math or physics?
  • How do our social and cultural environments influence how we think about others?

WPI's Psychological Science Laboratories

The Psychological Science Program includes several designated labs and a large student population that consistently volunteers to participate in research studies.

Social Psychology Inquiry (SPI) Lab (Skorinko)

The Social Psychology Inquiry (SPI) Lab supports a variety of methodologies for conducting human participant research—particularly social psychological experiments. The emphasis is on research that examines how environmental factors influence attitudes, decisions, interactions, and cultural understanding. 

Advanced Learning Technologies Lab (Arroyo)

A lab used with Psychological Science Program and the Learning Sciences & Technologies Program, the Advanced Learning Technologies Lab investigates K-12 student learning, motivation, self-regulation, and affective relationship to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Health Psychology Lab (O'Brien)

Work in the Health Psychology Lab explores issues like connections between the biological basis of psychology and psychophysiology. The mind-body connection brings on both psychological and physical changes and by assessing these connected relationships, students learn about stress, resilience, protective health factors, cognitive effort, implicit biases, and health disparities among varied populations.

Educational Psychology and Mathematics Learning Lab (Ottmar)

Teaching and learning mathematics is a highly complex social, exploratory, and creative process. In the Educational Psychology and Mathematics Learning Lab, we design novel dynamic technologies that make “math come alive” (Graspable Math, From Here to There!) and use eye tracking, mouse gestures, and log files to explore the coordination of attention, cognition, gestures, and strategies when solving mathematical equations. 

We also use a variety of applied multilevel quantitative methods, observational measures, and assessments to examine the efficacy of instructional, social, and emotional classroom interventions that can improve K-12 math teaching, learning, and engagement.