Research in Psychology
The Department of Psychology is actively engaged in vibrant research initiatives to advance the science and practice of psychology. Faculty publish widely, are featured in national and international media, and have won major research awards from premier research bodies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The faculty, along with their teams of undergraduates, graduate students, research staff and postdoctoral fellows, is involved in a wide range of exciting research projects, much of which falls into the following categories: forensic psychology, health psychology, cognitive neuroscience, psychopathology, neuropsychology, psychotherapy process and outcome, pediatric and child psychology and developmental psychology. For example:
- Meghan Butryn, PhD, is the principle investigator for two NIH-funded clinical trials investigating innovative behavioral treatments for obesity, Project ENACT and Project Impact.
- Evan Forman, PhD, is the principal investigator of Mind Your Health, an NIH-funded randomized controlled trial investigating outcomes of a novel behavioral approach to long-term weight loss. He is also funded by Weight Watchers and the Obesity Society to develop and evaluate DietAlert, a smartphone-based system for anticipating and preventing dietary lapses among those attempting to follow a weight loss diet.
- Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, who is also the co-director of the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Justice Center for Excellence at Drexel University, heads projects investigating the impact of professional standards upon practice in law and in psychology, the impact of problem-solving courts on justice-involved veterans, and the development of a risk-reduction intervention for individuals returning to the community after incarceration. He is also completing books on forensic evaluation of juveniles and on forensic assessment ethics.
- John Kounios, PhD, continues to investigate creativity, problem solving and sudden insight, including locating the key spot of the brain’s right hemisphere associated with “aha!” moments. He recently published The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain with Random House on the neuroscience of creativity.
- Nancy Raitano Lee, PhD, is studying relationships between neurodevelopmental disorders (such as autism and Down syndrome) and neuroanatomy.
- Michael Lowe, PhD, is conducting a series of studies on the relationship between weight suppression (current weight in relation to one’s highest weight) and disordered eating. He is also the principle investigator of two NIH-funded studies: The Neuroimaging of Eating Disorders Study, which will use MRI to assess brain reward and inhibitory areas associated with eating disorder pathology, and the Eating Disorder Study, which will examine biological and behavioral correlates of bulimia nervosa.
- In a series of NIH-supported studies, Daniel Mirman, PhD, is studying language impairments and how these map onto specific regions of the brain.
- Arthur M Nezu, PhD, DHL, ABPP a co-developerof Problem-Solving Therapy (PST), has tailored this approach to create a seriesof treatment programs for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense thatare currently being disseminated throughout the U.S. These evidenced-basedprograms are geared to enhance resilience and the ability to effectively copewith current and future stress. His current research involves treating chronicillness, as well as suicide prevention and reduction among adults.
- Christine Maguth Nezu, PhD, ABPP, is a co-developer of Contemporary Problem-SolvingTherapy (PST) for a variety of adult clinical syndromes. Dr. Maguth Nezustudies the specific application of PST to clinical health populations,veterans, and active military service members. She is also interested ininvestigating the role of affective processes in PST and the integration ofemotionally-focused strategies with cognitive and behavioral change techniques.
- Maria Schultheis, PhD, investigates the rehabilitation of cognitively impaired populations, including using virtual reality simulation to study the demands of driving following neurological compromise.