The school's environment nurtures multidisciplinary approaches to research and our staff collaborate both with scientists from other Schools in our own University (e.g., through the Aberdeen Neuroscience network) and with researchers from other Universities, based here in the UK and abroad.
The School of Psychology has several state-of-the-art research facilities and access to special populations (such as patients, healthy older adults, schools, industries, among others) to facilitate cutting-edge research in various disciplines of psychology. The School houses the Psychophysiology Centre as well as several other facilities for psychological research.
- Psychophysiology Centre
The Psychophysiology Centre consists of several spatious rooms that house the School’s electroencephalographic (EEG) equipment. The two side rooms contain sound-attenuated, shielded testing booths and in between them is a comfortable central area with a large mirror and washing up facilities, ideal for setting up and cleaning electrodes. One booth is equipped with a 64-channel Biosemi ActiveTwo system, the other with a 128-channel Biosemi ActiveTwo system. Eight external electrodes enable the recording of eye movements as well as muscular activity concurrently with the EEG.
PCs equipped with high-performance graphics cards are used to control the high-resolution CRT displays on which the experiments are run. A VISAGE system is also available in one of the booths, enabling experiments on colour perception and stereovision through its interface with colourimetric devices and high-resolution 3D goggles. Finally, a high-performance PC is available for performing resource-demanding data analyses. The sharing of facilities between the principal investigators who use EEG in their work is managed through online booking systems with regular organizational meetings. The co-ordinator of the Psychophysiology Centre is Dr Soren Andersen.
- Colour Psychophysics Lab
The colour psychophysics laboratory is set up for running experiments that tightly control spatio-chromatic properties of the stimuli. It consists of two dark rooms equipped with testing machines with high resolution CRT and Display++ screens controlled through VISAGE systems, 14-bit graphics systems that have been the golden standard in colour vision research for decades. SpectroCal and ColorCal2 devices enable calibration of displays and precise measurement of stimulus properties. Stereovision goggles/glasses and eye tracking systems are also available, enabling a range of experiments to be conducted. This equipment is put to use in studying how colour and luminance signals interact in attention, perceptual organization and object categorization. The colour psychophysics lab is administered by Dr Jasna Martinovic.
- Grasp Lab
In the Grasp Lab, the aims of our research are to study the role of visual information for effective motor control and to learn about the complex interplay between the perceptual and motor systems. Specifically, we study the use of visual information during the planning, execution, and control of hand movements in healthy humans and patients. In order to investigate action and perception processes, we apply and combine various movement tracking (Optotrak 3020, TrakStar) and eye tracking (EOG, Eyelink) systems. We are also successfully interfacing movement tracking and eye-tracking devices with each other, enabling an effective measurement of simultaneous eye and hand movements. The grasp lab is administered by Dr Constanze Hesse.
- Language and Number Lab
The language lab has three PCs equipped with Eprime software and Eprime and Cedrus button boxes for collecting RT data. It also has two portable Marantz solid state recorders as well as high quality microphones and headphones for running language experiments. In addition, it has Adobe Audition software for spoken stimuli editing and a copy of the CELEX Lexical Database (English, Dutch and German). The language and number lab is administered by Dr Sandie Cleland.
- Emotion Lab
Various databases comprising emotional faces of both adults and children are frequently used in order to investigate various aspects of social cognition and emotion perception. E-Prime is most commonly used for data collection, along with E-DataAid, Excel, SPSS, and R for analysis purposes. Touch-screen experiments have been developed using modern tablet technology in order to introduce a more direct-interaction component to social cognition judgments. Eye-tracking is available (Eyelink 1000 Plus) with both a tower-mount for touchscreen tasks and a desktop mount. Computerised questionnaires are used to measure social skills (e.g., Empathy, Social Anxiety, Autism-Spectrum Quotient) and mood (e.g., Positive and Negative Affect Schedule; PANAS). The emotion lab is administered by Dr Madge Jackson.
- Eye-Tracking Facilities
The School has five in-house EyeLink eye trackers, three of which are available to all faculty members. The EyeLink 1000 system allows the recording of eye gaze at a sampling rate of up to 1000 Hz. Computerised tasks can be programmed in the Experiment Builder software package available with the system, or using MATLAB or Python. For more information about the eye tracking facilities please contact Dr Agnieszka Konopka.
- Behavioural Testing
There are several labs that test participant behaviour either using computer-based tests or questionnaires. Multiple modalities, such as vision and audition, can be tested in addition to experiments involving language, social interactions, and emotion, among others. Facilities for intensive computation-based analyses are also available in-house and through the university’s large computational servers.
- Industrial Psychology Research Centre
Most of the research by the Industrial Psychology Research Centre is conducted outside of the laboratory and takes place in various work environments. As we study human performance and safety in high risk industries, we gather our data from workplaces including oil and gas installations, ships, air traffic control centres, nuclear and conventional power plants and hospitals. We also have access to high fidelity simulation facilities to study teams in environments, such as operating theatres and drilling rigs. The IPRC is directed by Prof Rhona Flin.