Research Labs


Clinical Health and Illness Lab - Child Health and Family

The Child Health and Illness lab conducts research spanning the fields of pediatric psychology, child-clinical, clinical health psychology, and applied-quantitative psychology. Most broadly, this research focuses on cultural, family, and behavioral factors that promote health and reduce morbidity in childhood chronic illness. More specifically, this research hopes to:

  1. Examine models of stress and adaptation to promote quality of life and regimen adherence among youth with type 1 diabetes and their families
  2. Identify the influence of cultural and family factors on children’s weight, diet, and mealtime behavior, with a particular focus on obesity in early childhood.
  3. Integrate quantitative and behavioral methodologies to inform, develop, and refine clinical health interventions and assessment to reduce and eliminate health disparities.

Point of Contact
Kristoffer S. Berlin, Ph.D.

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Institute for Gambling Education and Research - Clinical Health Psychology Concentration

The Gambling Lab

The Institute of Gambling Education and Research (TIGER) is composed of the Gambling Clinic and the Gambling Lab. The Gambling Clinic treats individuals with gambling disorders, trains professionals and doctoral students, educates consumers, as well as develops tools to measure and intervene with excessive gambling behavior.

Point of Contact:
James P. Whelan, Ph.D. 

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The Gambling Clinic

The Gambling Lab transforms its Gambling Clinic experiences into empirical questions about both risk factors and protective factors related to disordered gambling.

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Literacy Lab

Our research focuses on three primary lines of inquiry regarding reading fluency and its role in supporting reading comprehension. First, we examine theoretical questions about the relation between oral and silent reading fluency across development and the roles of various subcomponent skills in facilitating fluency and comprehension. Second, we investigate assessment practices with the goal of ensuring that students with reading disabilities are accurately identified as early as possible. Lastly, we seek to develop literacy interventions that facilitate the development of proficient oral reading and independent silent reading skills.

Point of Contact:
Beth Meisinger, Ph.D. 



Optimal learning lab

The Optimal Learning Lab (optimallearning.org) represents Dr. Pavlik's and associates' work on a variety of theoretical and applied learning and memory problems. Specific interests include the intelligent tutoring, discovery of models, spacing of practice effects, testing effects, and forgetting. Please contact Dr. Pavlik to be placed on the mail list. Publication and demo applications are available on the website. The Optimal Learning Lab is affiliated with the Institute for Intelligent Systems and Department of Psychology.

Point of Contact:
Philip I. Pavlik Jr., Ph.D. 

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Peer Interaction Group Research Lab

Our research focuses on elementary school-aged children’s peer relations and social competence. More specifically, we examine peer social status and popularity; friendship relationships; traditional and cyber, aggression and victimization; and self-perceptions of social competence, loneliness, peer optimism, and attributions of respect.

Point of Contact:
Robert Cohen



Resilience Emerging Amidst Childhood Hardships (REACH) Lab - Clinical Child and Family

The REACH Lab examines pathways to risk and resilience among children who have been exposed to various traumatic experiences, such as interpersonal violence and loss. We contribute to the development of evidence-based interventions for families and children exposed to adversity by working within the community of Memphis to explore pathways to positive and negative functioning following exposure to traumatic events during childhood.

Point of Contact:
Katie Howell, Ph.D.

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Challenging Health disparities in Adolescents & Nurturing Global Empowerment (CHANGE) Lab

The CHANGE lab explores risk and protective factors that contribute to HIV- and obesity-related health disparities among adolescents, young adults, and their families. In concert with many local Memphis organizations, we strive to develop culturally-tailored interventions that promote healthier lifestyles, support medication adherence, increase safer sex practices, and decrease risk behaviors among diverse adolescents and young adults.

Point of Contact:
Idia B. Thurston, Ph.D. 

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Language and Behavior Lab (LaBlab)

The LAB lab is run by Stephanie Huette. We seek to understand the principles and mechanisms of cognitive processes that underlie meaning (semantics) in language, as well as their implications for behavior. We also investigate the role of behavior and real complex environments on learning and real-time processing of language. Our research uses dynamic measurements including eye-tracking and motion-tracking technologies to track behaviors as they unfold.

Point of Contact:
Stephanie Huette, Ph.D. 

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Psychology of Language

Psychology of Language Laboratory

Students in the Psychology of Language lab explore diverse topics in psycholinguistics, including discourse processing, pragmatics, nonliteral language (such as exaggeration and sarcasm), and computer-mediated communication (e.g., via e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook).

Point of Contact:
Roger Kreuz, Ph.D., Associate Dean

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Trauma Research and Recovery Lab

This lab conducts basic and applied research on the emotional consequences of exposure to interpersonal trauma.

Point of Contact:
Gayle Beck, Ph.D.

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Trauma & Coping Research Group 

The Trauma and Coping Research Group (TCRG) is focused on studying the ways that people respond to traumatic events, and on developing ways to help people suffering from the effects of trauma. The primary focus is on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some of the behaviors that can go along with it (e.g., substance abuse). We have conducted much of our recent work with military veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF), but we have also conducted studies with college students and community survivors of violence.

Point of Contact:
Meghan E. McDevitt-Murphy, Ph.D.

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Center for Health Promotion and Evaluation (CHPE)

Established in 2002, the Center for Health Promotion and Evaluation (CHPE) is directed at understanding and improving health behaviors, particularly among young people. Most of our research currently focuses on reducing tobacco consumption, but we have also conducted research on a wide range of issues, including school violence, binge eating, dietary restraint, attitudes toward breastfeeding, and body mass index in teens.

Point of Contact:
Leslie Robinson, Ph.D.

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Dr. Neimeyer

Dr. Neimeyer Research Interests

  • Psychotherapy Process and Outcome
  • Psychology of Grief and Loss
  • Constructivist Psychology
  • Depression and Suicide

Much of my research with my students and colleagues focuses on the attempt to reaffirm or reconstruct a world of meaning that has been challenged by loss and bereavement, especially in its more traumatic forms. This joins naturally with my long-term engagement in constructivist psychotherapy, whose goal is to help people symbolize, explore, and re-negotiate the self-narratives they use to organize their experience and identities as social beings.

Point of Contact:
Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D.

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Dr. Arthur C. Graesser Research Interests




 Research Interests

  • Cognitive Science
  • Discourse Processing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computational Procedures
  • Text Comprehension
  • Human and Computer Tutoring
  • Design of Educational Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction

Dr. Graesser’s primary research interests are in cognitive science, discourse processing, and the learning sciences. More specific interests include knowledge representation, question asking and answering, tutoring, text comprehension, inference generation, conversation, reading, education, memory, emotions, computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and learning technologies with animated conversational agents.

Point of Contact:
Arthur C. Graesser, Ph.D. 

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Habit Lab

The HABIT laboratory conducts research that addresses important public health priorities related to addiction and health. For example, alcohol abuse among young adults results in thousands of injuries, assaults, and fatalities each year and can set the stage for a lifelong pattern of alcohol abuse and/or dependence. We have conducted several controlled clinical trials that have demonstrated that brief interventions incorporating motivational interviewing and personalized drinking feedback can reduce heavy drinking among young adults (including both college students and military veterans). These interventions are now being adopted across the country. We are currently funded by NIH to improve standard brief alcohol and marijuana interventions by adding a behavioral economic supplement that encourages engagement in constructive alternatives associated with delayed reinforcement.

The HABIT lab also conducts applied clinical research that is influenced by basic behavioral and biological research (e.g., translational research) and contributes to the overall goal of improving our scientific understanding of human behavior. For example, we have used behavioral economic theory and basic laboratory research to guide our applied research on substance abuse etiology, assessment, and prevention.

Point of Contact:
James Murphy, Ph.D.

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Assessment of children in education settings laboratory

Students in the Assessment of Children in Educational Settings laboratory focus their scholarly and research efforts on the development, evaluation, and application of assessment methods designed to measure important constructs and behaviors in school and related settings.

Point of Contact
Randy G. Floyd, Ph.D.




Psychotherapy Research lab

Studies in the research lab of Dr. Jeffrey Berman focus on a broad range of issues concerning the process and outcome of psychotherapy and the interaction between therapist and client. The lab is within the psychotherapy research concentration of the Clinical Psychology program. Graduate and undergraduate assistants are involved in all phases of the research process and are encouraged to develop their own research projects.

Point of Contact
Jeffrey Berman, Ph.D.

Opportunity in Psychotherapy Research Lab

Undergraduate Recruitment

Opportunity for Psychology Honors Students

Lab Honors



Historical psychoeducational Test Collection 

Research Areas

Dr. Tom Fagan's research areas include historic tests, literature, and biographic information on psychologists significant to the origins and development of school psychology. Students interested in these topics are encouraged to contact Tom Fagan in Room 115, 678.4676.

Point of Contact:
Tom Fagan, Ph.D. 




Autism Research

The chemical transmitter dopamine in the frontal cortex is critically involved in normal thinking, planning, and social interaction. Based on our research at the University of Memphis, we have developed a theory that deficits in these cognitive and social skills associated with autism spectrum disorder result from the inability of the cerebellum, located in the back of the brain, to properly regulate dopamine in the frontal cortex. It is our hope that our studies will lead to new lines of investigation and novel pharmacological methods of treating autism.



knowledge acquisition

knowledge acquisition laboratory

Students in the Knowledge Acquisition lab explore diverse topics in cognitive psychology including individual differences in learning and memory, as well as the educational practices that support successful knowledge acquisition.


Point of Contact:
Jason L. G. Braasch, Ph.D.