A student in a psychology experiment

Research

The foundation for almost any career in psychology, research plays a central role in both the undergraduate and graduate psychology programs. Several undergraduate courses require students to participate in a research component, and doctoral students master research methods in the focus area of their choice. Faculty often invite students to work side-by-side on their research projects, helping build mentoring relationships and practical experience. And there are many opportunities for students to showcase their work, from academic publication to presentations at professional conferences.

Many of the department’s funded research projects fall under the categories of health psychology or cultural diversity issues. Our faculty publish widely on topics including mental health and obstetrics care, suicide risks for gender and sexual minority groups, stressors and health outcomes among black men and stigmas surrounding HIV-prevention drugs.

$2.4 Million Awarded in Research Funding (2017–18)

 

50 Research Articles Published Annually, on Average, by Faculty

 


 

Students gathering around an ipad at the psychology expo

Undergraduate Student Research

When students get involved early with a research project, they are able to yield better results and stronger connections with faculty. Undergraduates are encouraged to pursue independent projects, in addition to required research credit hours.

A student is standing in front of her research presentation.

Doctoral Student Research Funding

Doctoral students engage in externally funded research projects throughout their studies, primarily focusing on health psychology or cultural diversity. The department also offers dissertation fellowships and access to GW’s many student research funding sources.

 


Diana Shellmer

Diana Shellmer

PhD ’05

"I was able to participate in and develop original research during my time in the clinical psychology program. My mentors helped me develop a grant that was funded as an NIH National Research Service Award."
 


Research Tools

Psychology Subject Pool

The GW Psychology Subject Pool is a research resource for faculty and students. Undergraduate students use the pool to sign up for required department research participation. Faculty and graduate students may use the pool to conduct research with university participants. All research conducted through the subject pool has been approved by the GW Office of Human Research and all researchers are committed to the ethical and responsible conduct of research.

Office of the Vice President for Research

The Office of the Vice President for Research provides information and support for undergraduates, postdoctoral scholars and faculty. The site offers proposal development resources, university award and fellowship guidance as well as forms and trainings to help researchers apply for external funding.

Institutional Review Board

The Office of Human Research works with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to review all research projects involving human subjects and ensure that all investigators have received training in ethics and the responsible conduct of research.

 

 


Research in Action

A graphic of a brain cross sections with points lighting up

What You Know is What You See

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Sarah Shomstein’s recent research examines how the brain processes the size of objects. The findings could aid in predicting performance for jobs involving visual search, such as air traffic controllers tracking small planes or radiologists analyzing scans. Shomstein's research was funded by the National Science Foundation and published in Nature Human Behaviour.

An African family of three (left to right: a mother, a toddler, and a dad)

The Mothers and Babies Course

The Mothers and Babies Course empowers mothers in Tanzania and Kenya to identify and manage stressors. Studies have shown that adult depression is a major public health concern in the developing world. Parental depression can manifest in an inability to bond with the baby, poor monitoring of a baby's health and nutritional needs, and lack of early stimulation. Mothers who learn mood regulation skills forge stronger bonds with their babies and are in a better position to meet their child's needs.

The Mothers and Babies Course was originally developed by Ricardo F. Muñoz and Huynh-Nhu (Mimi) Le. Download the course manuals.

Lisa Bowleg sitting

Determining the Effects of Stressors on Black Men

Applied Social Psychology Professor Lisa Bowleg’s interdisciplinary research team brings together doctoral students from GW and other major research universities to focus on improving mental and physical health outcomes for black communities that are underrepresented in social science research. Bowleg was awarded $3.7 million from the National Institutes of Health/National Institutes on Drug Abuse to support her research on reducing drug use among African American men.