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 houses state-of-the-art research facilities and access to special populations (such as NHS patients, healthy older adults, schools, industrial stakeholders) to facilitate a wide range of research in psychology. As well as a large number of well-equipped behavioural testing laboratories we have specialist on-site eye-tracking and psychophysiology resources. The School houses high-performance computing for analysing brain imaging and face-processing data, and has access to the University Maxwell High Performance Computing Service.
- Online Research Resources
As well as conducting face-to-face research, we use online platforms to run a range of psychology studies. We have licensed access to the following online experiment and survey platforms:
Through the University we have access to survey software SNAP. There are also other free platforms for survey software, such as KwikSurveys. Online interviews can be carried out, recorded and transcribed through Microsoft Teams.
Dr Mauro Manassi from the School of Psychology has developed a number of guides and tutorials on conducting your research online:
- 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 Rama Chakravarthi.
- Psychophysics Lab
The psychophysics laboratory is set up for running experiments that require high temporal precision of stimulus display and/or tight control of luminance and chromatic properties of the stimuli. It consists of two dark rooms equipped with high resolution CRT and Display++ screens controlled through VISAGE-14 bit systems and the latest high quality graphics cards that have been the golden standard in colour vision research. 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 psychophysical and behavioural experiments studying how colour and luminance signals interact in attention, perceptual organisation and object categorisation. The psychophysics lab is administered by Dr Rama Chakravarthi.
- 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.
- Aging Cognition and Emotion Lab
These rooms are set up to include key facilities for the assessment of older adults and clinical populations, including a range of cognitive, emotion and perceptual tests. As well as laptops and PCs with specialist screens and audio equipment these labs are equipped with digital video recording capacity, and specialist research software. They have good disabled access for all participants. For details contact Professor Louise Phillips.
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
We have a particularly strong eye-tracking suite, utilised by researchers in all research themes. This includes five laboratory-based eye trackers (EyeLink 1000+), two of which can be connected together for social communication dual eye-tracking research. We also have five mobile eye-tracking systems (SMI, Positive Science, Pupil Labs) to study behaviour in real-world environments with healthy and clinical populations. Computerised tasks can be programmed in Experiment Builder, MATLAB or Python. For more information about the eye tracking facilities please contact Dr Agnieszka Konopka.
- Behavioural Testing
There are many specialist labs within the School to allow testing of participant behaviour. All house upgraded PCs with access to research and statistical software. 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.
- Participant Panel
The School runs a General Public Research Participation Panel to assist with various research projects. It is made up of members of the general public and any students who may wish to join. Privacy statement.
If you would like to join our panel of volunteers, or would like further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (tel: +44 (0)1224 272227). You will be under no obligation to participate, and will be provided with full details of the research projects prior to participation. You will also be remunerated for your time.
Note that only members of staff and postgraduate students from the School of Psychology can apply for participant panel information. If an undergraduate student requires access to the participant panel for testing, the request must come through their supervisor. It is then the supervisor’s responsibility to select and pass on contact details to the student in a manner that accords with the General Data Protection Regulations. The principles are outlined at: http://www.privacy-regulation.eu/en/article-5-principles-relating-to-processing-of-personal-data-GDPR.htm. In particular, the contact details must be destroyed when they are no longer needed, held securely, and not passed onto anyone other than those directly involved in the research. Contact details will not be provided to anyone outside of the School under any circumstances.
Before researchers can apply for participant panel contact details they need to have valid ethical permission from the School Ethics Committee and completed the University’s Information Security Awareness Training. They then need to apply to the Research Support Assistant detailing specific participant criteria.
Researchers can then contact participants by phone, mail or email. It should be made clear they are affiliated with the University. An example email can be seen here.
Staff and postgraduate students who wish to recruit participants from the participation panel should also contact the School of Psychology office for details. If you are a student, please speak with your supervisor first.