As the scientific study of mind and behavior, psychology is a field of immense application, and this fall, Jacksonville University will open the doors to a new psychology lab. Located in the Gooding Building, the lab is making a comeback after being closed since the late ‘90s. The space will allow for additional research opportunities and will be open to students of all majors, one of whom is Hunter McVea.
McVea is a graduating senior majoring in psychology and sociology, and minoring in criminal justice. Part of his duties include cataloguing the contents of the lab. A lot of the equipment has been around since the ‘60s, and to McVea’s surprise, still works perfectly. McVea is also helping with a current research study in which an EEG machine is used to measure brain activity, and an eye tracker tracks eye movement while participants complete computer work.
“It’s enjoyable watching the participants when they do the experiment,” McVea said. “Seeing their reactions for the first time is kind of cool.”
McVea currently works under Dr. Christi Bamford, an associate professor of psychology, who has been at Jacksonville University for 10 years and who is looking forward to the research that will be accomplished once the new lab opens.
“One of my research areas is optimism, and having a psychology lab makes me optimistic about our ability to conduct more research. I’m looking forward to getting more students involved so they can see firsthand what it really means to do psychological research instead of just reading about it in a textbook,” Bamford said.
Working with Bamford is Dr. Amanda McGraw who is conducting a study that explores math anxiety and its relation to math performance. One of McGraw’s goals is to explore additional factors related to math performance, like perfectionism.
“When we think of psychology, we often think of counseling and therapy, but there’s so much more to it than that,” McGraw said. “There are many additional subfields, and at large, psychologists study a multitude of factors related to human behavior. This lab provides the space for faculty and our students to ask their own research questions and attempt to answer them.”
With a new lab on the horizon, McGraw, Bamford and their students will have plenty of opportunities to explore the psychological questions of the universe. The lab adds a new dimension to an already robust curriculum and is sure to become a favorite setting for the real-world study of mind and behavior.
By Kamia Addison