Psychology Student Research

The Psychology Department encourages students to become involved in research projects. Research programs span all major areas in the curriculum. Many of the projects have been funded by outside sources including the Federal Government and State of New Jersey. A significant level of funding is provided by Rider itself in recognition of the Department's proven track-record of integrating undergraduates into faculty research programs.

Students can assist faculty in their research by taking Directed Study in Psychology (Psy-295), as well as work on their own project by taking Independent Research and Study (Psy-490) under the supervision of a faculty member.

Research in Developmental Psychology

Dr. Anne Law
Through our Study Center for Social and Cognitive Development we are currently involved in a longitudinal research project on social development in toddlers in childcare outside the home. This research, first funded by the National Institutes of Health, has resulted in the construction of a social interaction laboratory in Science Hall, and the development of procedures for using portable video equipment and computers for observational research. Research Assistant Profiles: Undergraduates contribute to this project by working in childcare centers and preschools making video observations of children in the classroom. They also work in the laboratory using Macintosh computers to code the behavior present in the videotaped records of social interaction.

Dr.Cara DiYanni
Dr. DiYanni's research involves working with children (primarily preschool age) at local schools and day care centers to explore their social and cognitive development. Research projects include explorations of imitation, understanding of others, pretend play, imagination, and cultural similarities and differences. Dr. DiYanni frequently works with students as research assistants in directed studies (PSY 295) for credit. Responsibilities of research assistants include working with Dr. DiYanni to design studies, recruit participants, collect data, and enter data. Dr. DiYanni also frequently supervises students in independent study projects (PSY 490), in which students design a study of their own which involves some aspect of social or cognitive development, and Dr. DiYanni supervises the study design. The students themselves then proceed to collect data, enter it, and write about it in a formal, APA-formatted paper.

Applied Developmental Research / Community-Based Program for Individuals with Special Needs

Dr. Chrystina Dolyniuk
This line of research is primarily community-based and examines how developmental theory might be applied to education. One particular project began in the summer of 2001 when Dr. Dolyniuk and Dr. Michele Kamens, assistant professor of education, began collaborative efforts with the West Windsor Plainsboro School District. This current project involves high school students with moderate cognitive delays who visit the Lawrenceville campus and participate in job-sampling activities while being mentored by Rider University students. Efforts are currently also underway for West Windsor-Plainsboro students to participate in social skills groups that aim to examine their inter- and intra-personal perceptions during the 2001-02 academic year. If you would like to learn more about ongoing research projects, or you would like to get involved in applied developmental research, please contact Dr. Dolyniuk at (609) 895-5423 or email cdolyniuk@rider.edu

Research on the Psychology of Cyberspace

Dr. John Suler
This new area of psychological research focuses on human behavior in cyberspace, including behavior on the Internet and the psychological features of computer use. How do individuals and groups behave in newsgroups, chat, IM, blogs, online games, and mailing lists? What are the emotional and psychological dynamics of one-on-one email relationships? How do people handle and react to their potential for anonymity in cyberspace, including how they manage their identity, communication style, and intimacy with others? This research develops an understanding of the psychology of cyberspace as well as technical Internet skills. Results of this research are described in Dr. Suler's online book. An example of a student independent study project is located within this book.

Research in Community Health Psychology

Dr. Alison Thomas-Cottingham
In this research lab we currently focus on HIV prevention in college students and adolescents. There is also an interest in prevention in the African American community which is disproportionately affected by the virus. Some of the research explores variables that contribute to the occurrence of risky behaviors, other research focuses on interventions that may be employed to reduce the frequency of risky behaviors. Current projects include a study to examine the effect of relationship commitment on the risky behaviors and the development of a peer-based cognitive behavioral intervention for African American and Latino adolescents who reside in the Trenton Metropolitan area. If you are interested in community health psychology with an emphasis on HIV prevention, please email Dr. Thomas-Cottingham at athomasc@rider.edu, or call her at (609) 896-5342.