Personality Processes and Outcomes Laboratory: Expressions of Psychopathology in Daily Life

"This research experience is building off of everything I’ve learned in my psychology experience thus far:  psychology is very research based, and most conclusions are drawn from research studies. My experience is research has helped me to see all of the background processes that go on."

 

Supervising Faculty:

Aidan G.C. Wright, Ph.D.

 

Contact:
Blessy Bellamy, Lab Manager
bbellamy@pitt.edu
 
Area of Research:
 Clinical Psychology, Personality Psychology


Description of Research:

The overarching goal of the Personality Processes & Outcomes Laboratory is to understand what causes individual differences in the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships and the expression of emotions & affect. Using ecological momentary assessment measures (EMA), we investigate the connection between personality & psychopathology, and seek to understand how personality disorders change over time.

We are looking for motivated and bright undergraduate psychology students who are interested in gaining valuable research experience, and learning about personality and personality disorders. Students will be regularly interacting with the lab manager, lab director, graduate students, and fellow research assistants. Together, we will work on a series of projects investigating personality disorders and social processes in psychopathology more broadly.


Duties of Students:

Our main study, the AAPECS study, examines individual differences in daily & momentary stress processes in individuals with personality disorders. As we continue with the study, students will be a vital part in suggesting improvements to study protocol. Students will be able to pilot study measures in order to identify possible improvements to the research protocol. Furthermore, students will be provided with guided reading lists, and will be required to attend weekly discussions in lab meetings focused on pertinent readings and professional development. Assistance with literature searches/ compilations, and data entry will also be part of the duties, among other designated tasks. Students are given the opportunity to screen patients for eligibility, consent participants into the study, and train participants on how to follow study procedure.

Research Assistants will also be given the opportunity to assist in the development of new studies, and will gain a variety of skills, from learning how research protocol is implemented and designed, to leading cohort sessions for our participants, and gaining the ability to accurately document and handle sensitive data. In a previous study, students have coded videotaped interactions between individuals diagnosed with personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder, and their significant others as they discuss difficult issues. 

Through their involvement in the Personality Processes & Outcomes Laboratory, students will learn about contemporary theories of personality and psychopathology, walking away with strengthened skills in research design, development, and implementation.  


Additional Requirements:

  • Students must meet the departmental guidelines for PSY 1903
  • Only students who can commit to 8-10 hours/week (3 credits)
  • 2-term commitment required


Terms offered:  fall, spring and summer

Number of Students:  6