My research focuses on (a) stress-related modulation of decision-making and memory (e.g., sometimes utilizing financial tasks inspired by the field of economics), (b) how various types of stress may differentially influence behavior, and cognitive/affective states, and (c) the physiological and brain correlates of these interactions. We also conduct behavioral experiments where we record physiological responses like hormonal levels, skin conductance, heart rate, and blood pressure. These studies sometimes lead to fMRI experiments. At this point, the research is focused on the basic science of the above. Over time, however, we may expanding to different groups such as people suffering from addiction, aging individuals, etc.
As a research assistant in the lab, your responsibilities would include: (a) working with human research participants and implementing experiments involving them (some of which involve stress exposure, requiring you to become very familiar with a set of important safety regulations), (b) becoming familiar with the use of physiological recording equipment and the scoring of skin conductance data, (c) learning to acquire salivary measurements, and (d) at more advanced levels analysis of data. Typically, working directly in the fMRI environment is restricted to graduate students. That said, I am willing to make exceptions on that is an undergraduate research assistant is with me long enough and demonstrates an interest in that area as well as the aptitude necessary for learning such advanced techniques.
New undergraduate assistants typically should have completed PSYC 2001 and PSYC 2050, with a B grade or higher. A commitment of at least 2 semesters for course credit is optimal. That said, I consider each potential research assistant on a case-by-case basis.
E-mail Dr. Anthony Porcelli to get more information about his research and the position.