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Psychology Research

Psychology faculty at UTPB specialize in Social, Cognitive, Health, Developmental, and Clinical Psychology. Students in the Psychology Program at UT Permian Basin collaborate with faculty mentors to investigate exciting research questions about human behavior! Students at both the undergraduate and graduate level are invited to conduct research with faculty support. To find out about specific faculty research interests, visit the faculty bios.

Faculty Research

Wei-Ju Chen, PhD

Dr. Chen researches minority health disparities, stress and coping, emotion, genomics, autism spectrum disorders, and cancer prevention.

Jamie Hughes, PhD

Dr. Hughes’ research interests include moral psychology and judgment, social justice issues, psychology and law, and teaching pedagogy.

Lauren Neal, PhD

Dr. Neal investigates motivational and emotional processes and their neural correlates using EEG. She studies how motivational control is engaged in instances of risk taking, impulsivity, and exposure to alcohol cues. She also studies trait levels of approach motivation and behavioral inhibition.

James Olson, PhD

Dr. Olson has broad research interests, including past work on residential burglary. His current research is examining “caring” behaviors by instructors in the classroom.

Justin Vollet, PhD

Dr. Vollet’s research focuses on social underpinnings of the development of students' academic engagement (with a primary focus on socialization through peer group interactions), and on the development of peer relations throughout childhood and adolescence (i.e., social aggression and peer victimization).

Student Research

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to contact faculty members about specific opportunities to conduct independent research projects that align with faculty research interests. Students may take advantage of the following opportunities to conduct research in the psychology department:

  • Senior Honor’s Thesis - Undergraduate
    • Available to students who have completed PSYC3304 Experimental Psychology with a B or better. This class fulfills degree requirements for the undergraduate major. Students should seek an individual faculty mentor to supervise their senior thesis.
  • Independent Study - Undergraduate
    • Students may approach faculty about completing a research project together for course credit through PSYC3391 Independent Study.
  • Master’s Thesis/Master’s Project
    • Masters students will complete a thesis or project in collaboration with their committee chair.
  • Independent Research – Graduate
    • Master’s students may design, conduct, analyze, and present a research project for course credit under the direction of a faculty member. Course credit is available as PSYC 6391 Independent Research
  • Graduate Assistantships
    • Each year the department awards graduate assistantships to a few students. As a part of their duties as a graduate assistant, students may assist faculty with ongoing research projects.