Psychology Department (0436)
109 Williams Hall
Blacksburg VA 24061
Dr. Susan White's Psychosocial Interventions lab studies therapeutic treatments for children, adolescents, and adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders lab. We also conduct research on psychiatric comorbidity in people who have autism and related conditions, and the continuous, dimensional nature of symptoms of autism seen in the general population. Graduate and undergraduate students work together on shared research interests in the lab.
The Virginia Tech Autism Clinic (VTAC) is currently working on multiple clinical and research projects with the overarching goal of improving quality of life for people with autism spectrum disorders. Our clinical interventions include both behavioral and cognitive-behavioral interventions for children and adolescents. We also offer Pivotal Response Training for parents with children on the autism spectrum. Our research focuses on developing clinical interventions and investigating the biological underpinnings of autism.
Lee Cooper, Director of the Psychological Services Center (http://www.psyc.vt.edu/outreach/psc), is seen here with his clinical practicum team. The Clinical Psychology faculty emphasize the development of strong clinical skills as an essential part of our training program. Practicum teams consist of one or two first year students, several second year students, and a fourth year student. Dr.
Graduate students and faculty in the Psychology Department recently edited a laboratory manual for use by undergraduate students in the department's Physiological Psychology and Cognitive Psychology labs. This lab manual has been used with great success in teaching students about the psychophysiological processes of the human body, specifically the central, autonomic, and somatic nervous systems.
The Mind-Body Lab is under the direction of Dr. Bruce Friedman. Current research uses psychophysiological methods to explore the mind-body relationship. Our work is primarily focused on the relationships between emotions, personality, and autonomic nervous system activity. Some specific topics of interest include states and traits such as anxiety, worry, stress, and hostility in relation to cardiovascular activity; autonomic activity and emotion; reflexive versus intentional action,; and meditation and biofeedback.
Associate Professor Roseanne J. Foti, along with Rob Knee, Jessie Huang, and Nicole Thompson are studying how to improve the effectiveness of interdisciplinary work teams. They are part of a team of researchers from the Colleges of Science and Engineering who have received significant funding for this project from the National Science Foundation. You can read more about the project at http://www.psyc.vt.edu/labs/socdev/
Shelmeshia Hill explains her work at the Virginia Tech Summer Research Symposium. Shelmeshia, a McNair Scholar, worked with a team of researchers from Julie Dunsmore’s Social Development Lab and Tom Ollendick’s Child Study Center on a project examining parent-child emotional communication in families seeking treatment for their child’s oppositional behavior. This project was conducted with funding from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Dr. Angela Scarpa’s Violence and Victimization lab studies psychological (e.g., family history, coping skills, psychopathology) and physiological factors (e.g., heart rate, skin conductance, cortisol) associated with victimization and perpetration of aggression. Graduate student members include Anthony Wells, Akiho Tanaka, Michelle Patriquin, and Laura Wilson. Ongoing projects include Women’s Sexual Revictimization study, Health and Immune Functioning in Young Adult Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A Pilot Study, and the Emotional Aggression study.
The Clinical Psychology Program held its first annual Clinical Research Fair on March 27th. The event, supported by a Department Climate mini-grant from AdvanceVT, allowed graduate students and faculty to discuss their work and share some of their latest research results. The goal of the Fair was to stimulate discussion and sharing of ideas, and promote collaboration among the faculty and students. The Fair turned out to be a big success - three separate labs gave oral symposia and eighteen research posters were presented by students.