PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Tennessee

The Child Development Research Group (CDRG) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is inviting applications from students interested in pursuing a PhD in Experimental Psychology (Developmental). CDRG is comprised of five active research labs that conduct basic research on human development in infancy and early childhood. Specifically, our research interests focus on understanding the early development of action, perception, cognition, and language.

In addition to enhancing our current knowledge of developmental processes, another goal of our program is to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas, theories, and methodologies for faculty and graduate students alike. In particular, the core developmental faculty offer varied research environments using distinct methodologies (EEG/ERP, fNIRS, eye-tracking, kinematics, preferential looking) and cover a broad range of theoretical approaches (dynamic/developmental systems, statistical learning, information processing, developmental cognitive neuroscience) while promoting a collaborative and interdisciplinary study of early development at multiple levels of analysis.

Please see below for more information about each lab. Students are invited to contact any of the lab directors directly.

The Infant Language and Perceptual Learning Lab, directed by Dr. Jessica F. Hay (jhay@utk.edu), studies language acquisition, speech perception, and statistical learning. We test both infants and adults using behavioural methodologies (habituation, preferential looking, eye-tracking) to discover how perceptual and experiential factors impact language learning within a developmental framework. We have an ongoing 5-year grant from the NIH – Infant statistical learning: Resilience, longevity, and specificity. Applicants from historically under-represented populations may be eligible for additional funding through an NIH Diversity Supplement. To learn more about our lab please visit our website (infantlanguagelab.utk.edu).

The Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (DCN) Lab, directed by Dr. Greg D. Reynolds (greynolds@utk.edu), is currently conducting research on: brain-behavior relations in infancy, infant visual attention and recognition memory, neural correlates of categorization in infancy, and intersensory processing of audiovisual speech in infancy. Behavioral, psychophysiological (heart rate, EOG, eye-tracking), and neural (event-related potentials) measures are integrated across studies following a Developmental Systems Theory approach. To learn more about the DCN lab please visit our website (dcnlab.utk.edu).

Attention, Brain, and Cognition (ABC) Lab, directed by Dr. Aaron T. Buss (abuss@utk.edu), studies executive function in early childhood and adulthood. The ABC lab uses various methodologies including behavioral measures, neural measures including functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and neurocomputational modeling using dynamic field theory. The lab currently has multiple research projects ongoing that examine flexible rule-use, the dynamics of action selection, selective attention, and the interaction of label learning and attention development. To learn more about the ABC lab please visit our website (abclabutk.weebly.com).

The Infant Perception-Action Lab (IPAL), directed by Dr. Daniela Corbetta (dcorbett@utk.edu) investigates the perceptual-motor development of infants in their first year of life. The IPAL lab uses eye-tracking, motion analysis, and behavioral analysis to understand the perceptual, cognitive, attentional, and embodied reorganizational processes underlying the formation of actions.  Currently the lab examines the role of visual attention in the development of reaching, how patterns of spontaneous movement exploration (manual and locomotor) contribute to the formation of goal-directed movements. Many of these questions are explored through dense longitudinal studies. To learn more about IPAL visit http://ipal.utk.edu

The Infant Visual Cognition (IVC) Lab, directed by Dr. Shannon Ross-Sheehy (rosssheehy@utk.edu) explores visual cognitive development in both typically developing, and at-risk infants. Particular areas of interest include visual attention, visual working memory, and perceptual development, and most studies include a combination of eye tracking and behavioral techniques. We are especially interested in the way infants use their eyes to learn about the world, and how these unique eye movement patterns predict later cognitive development. Check us out at http://ivclab.utk.edu.

 

Candidates should hold a Bachelors or Masters in Psychology, Neuroscience, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, or related fields. Candidates with previous research experience (undergraduate or post-baccalaureate), knowledge of child development, computer programming and/or statistical analyses are especially encouraged to apply.

Our department is committed to diversity and inclusion. Thus, we especially welcome applicants from diverse and under-represented populations. The application deadline is December 1, 2017. For more information, visit the Department of Psychology website https://psychology.utk.edu. Apply today at this link: https://gradschool.utk.edu/admissions/applying-to-graduate-school/

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