New Psych EEG Lab will Foster Student Research
The Psychology Department is showcasing its new neuroimaging research environment—a Psych EEG Lab and equipment installed this summer and first utilized by students this fall. Students have the opportunity to conduct individual, group and faculty-led research under the tutelage of Assistant Professor of Psychology Victoria Wagner.
“We are aiming for students to start out on faculty-led projects and then in time develop their own,” Wagner said.
According to Wagner, EEG is non-invasive, fairly inexpensive and has a quick learning curve. Students can participate easily compared to other forms of neuroimaging. For example, MRI is expensive and requires a lot of training to use.
Wagner teaches classes in the B.S. and B.A. in Psychology programs and the Neuroscience minor. She teaches general psychology, human growth and development, perception, biopsychology, Research 1 & 2 and Neuropsychology research topics.
“I am excited to start integrating EEG into these courses and working with students on research projects,” Wagner Said. “Students are learning the basics for conducting psychophysiological or neuroimaging research using EEG. They will get to learn in-depth how the brain supports behaviors and thoughts through hands-on experience.”
UST has a Culture of Research
UST is known for encouraging students to participate in research projects as early as their freshman year. The EEG lab will give students a competitive edge for graduate school and beyond.
“There are few universities that allow undergraduate students to design and conduct their own studies using EEG,” Wagner said. “Usually, its graduate students who design, conduct and analyze this data but our undergraduate students will be able to take the lead on projects from start to finish. In-class demonstrations and projects will further ground psychology students’ understanding of how this type of data is collected and analyzed. It will no longer just be images in the textbook, which will improve their ability to critically think about what they are learning.
“The goal of the lab and equipment is to provide students in psychology with the opportunity to conduct physiological research. “Many of the students who are interested in being part of the lab are also pursuing the neuroscience minor along with the psychology degree,” Wagner said. “We have a growing number of students interested in pursuing Ph.D’s in neuroscience and neuropsychology. Experience with EEG and other neuroimaging data will give our students an edge in applying to those graduate programs.”
One of Wagner’s other goals with the lab is to allow students to see psychology first hand from a biologically based perspective. “I plan to conduct demonstrations in general psychology and incorporate an EEG project in the biopsychology course,” she said.
UST Psych Students Present Research at Conference
All psychology students earning a B.S. present their research at conferences including the UST research symposium and/or Southwest Psychological Association annual meeting.
“Depending on funding and location, I would like to take students to the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting,” Wagner said. “UST students will be included in published papers. I hope that some will even be first author.”