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

“Being in this lab has helped me figure out what populations I would like to work with in graduate school, and the faculty in the lab have helped me get opportunities outside of the lab to further my academic career.”

Supervising Faculty: Aidan G. C. Wright, Ph.D.

Contact: Morgan Bryson, Lab Manager, bryson_16@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, CHEEARS, examines the predicting factors of drinking behaviors in young adults, and how that varies within and between individuals. Currently, students are heavily involved in the recruitment process and will have the opportunity to interact with potential participants. As we continue with the study, students will also be a vital part in suggesting improvements to study 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.

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.

Requirements:

  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100 Statistics
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lecture
  • PSY 0037 Research Methods Lab

Additional Requirements:

  • Only students who can commit to 8-10 hours/week (3 credits)
  • 2-term commitment required

Terms offered:  fall, spring, and summer