Spanish/English Investigation: Neural Correlates of Persistence, Engagement, Attention, and Regulation in Elementary-Aged Children

Faculty Sponsor: 
Grammer, Jennie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Sarah Jo Torgrimson
Description of Research Project: 
We will be running a study at the UCLA Lab School in Spring 2017, measuring K-2nd graders executive functioning and self-regulation skills as they relate to children's persistence on challenging tasks. This study includes both behavioral and electrophysiological measures and seeks to understand the relationship between classroom environment and the development of self-regulation skills and corresponding neural correlates that are recruited when children face cognitive challenges. We will be collecting data from both English and Spanish speaking classrooms.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for research assistants to help with both classroom observations and student assessments. We are looking for a time commitment of 10 hours/week. Part of this time commitment will be spent at the collection site and the other portion will be dedicated to data entry, data analysis, or transcription (depending on student interest and background). SPANISH FLUENCY (both written and oral) HIGHLY PREFERRED, as 3 of the classrooms we are recruiting from are learning in two languages (English & Spanish). Please contact for interest and/or further details!

Executive Functions and Feedback Responding

Faculty Sponsor: 
Grammer, Jennie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Jennie Grammer
Phone: 
3108258348
Description of Research Project: 
We are interested in the development of children’s cognitive skills from early childhood across the transition in to elementary school. Using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods, ongoing projects in the laboratory are designed to examine the neural correlates of executive functions (e.g., attention, response inhibition, and working memory) and responses to feedback. Across a series of investigations, we are currently examining these process in young children and college students. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand the ways in which early enrichment and schooling experiences can positively impact brain and behavioral development.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Primary responsibilities will include participant recruitment and data collection. In addition, students will be involved with data entry and analyses. Students are expected to attend weekly lab meetings.

Psycholinguistic Verbal and Visual.

Faculty Sponsor: 
Holyoak, Keith
Department: 
Cognitive
Contact Name: 
Airom Bleicher
Room Number: 
6423
Description of Research Project: 
Study explores the relationship between verbal and visual cues in linguistic understanding in collaboration with visiting professor.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Data collection, material creation, experiment creation software

The UCLA High School Diversity Project

Faculty Sponsor: 
Juvonen, Jaana
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Armando Rodriguez
Room Number: 
2322 Franz Hall
Phone: 
951-807-0747
Description of Research Project: 
The purpose of this research is to test a set of interrelated hypotheses about the psychosocial benefits of racial/ethnic diversity in urban middle schools and high schools. It is hypothesized that greater diversity can benefit students' mental health, intergroup attitudes, and school adaptation via three mechanisms: (1) decreases in perceived vulnerability, (2) the formation and maintenance of cross-ethnic friendships; and (3) the development of complex social identities. These hypotheses will be examined in a longitudinal study of approximately 6,000 6th grade students as they enter one of the 26 urban middle schools in southern California.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for a team of diverse students who can commit to 8 hrs/week. The main responsibility will be to collect psychosocial, behavioral, and academic data from ethnically diverse middle school students in Los Angeles area public schools. Other tasks include preparation for data collection, subject recruitment and retention, and data entry. Please contact the Project Manager if interested.

Optimizing Social and Communication Outcomes for Children with Autism

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kasari, Connie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Amanda Gulsrud
Room Number: 
NPI&H 78-239
Phone: 
310-206-1268
Description of Research Project: 
Two different research projects are currently being conducted. The first project is a school-based social skills intervention study targeting children with autism in first- fifth grades. This is a randomized intervention trial examining the effectiveness of several different social skill intervention models for elementary school-aged children with autism. The second project examines caregiver-mediated interventions targeting social and communication outcomes for toddlers with autism.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Both research positions consist of coding behavioral observations and date entry. The student may also observe and learn about assessments during the intervention visits. <br />

Adaptive Learning: Teaching with Computers

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kellman, Philip
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Rachel Older
Room Number: 
2349
Phone: 
310-825-4202
Description of Research Project: 
Computer-based learning activities offer great potential to adapt the flow of learning events to optimize progress for each individual. Can adaptive learning algorithms that dynamically sequence learning items result in improved efficiency for factual learning and pattern recognition? The current study is concerned with basic research in adaptive learning and will examine if adaptive sequencing based on accuracy, speed, and retirement criteria, produce learning outcomes superior to traditional classroom methods.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants would help in the collection of data by grading assessments, data entry, and general office work for at least 5 hours per week and will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of research, including literature search, study design, experimental design, and data analysis. Experience with programming is a plus, but not required. Psych 120A&B are highly recommended.

Perceptual Learning: Teaching with Computers

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kellman, Philip J.
Department: 
Psychology - Cognitive Science
Contact Name: 
Everett Mettler
Room Number: 
Franz Hall 6530 or 2349
Phone: 
310/825-4202
Description of Research Project: 
How do learners get better at searching, organizing and interpreting their visual world? Do the same processes that underlie perception of movement in sport, discovery in art, facility with puzzles and other forms of visual expertise also underly such practical skills as fluency in mathematics or proficiency in medical diagnosis? The current study is concerned with basic research in perceptual learning and object recognition. In addition we attempt to isolate and train visual skills using computer software that dynamically adapts to a learner's mental state.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants would help in the collection of data by running subjects at least 5 hours per week. Opportunities would be provided for assistants to collaborate in the generation of new experiments, analysis of data, and independent research. Experience with programming is a plus, but not required. Psych 120A&B are highly recommended.

KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE ON EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE SUSTAINMENT (4KEEPS) and translating evidence-based interventions for asd: a multi-level implementation strategy (teams) projects

Faculty Sponsor: 
Lau, Anna
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Christopher Gomez
Room Number: 
A292
Phone: 
310-825-9250
Description of Research Project: 
Description of 4KEEPS: 4KEEPS stands for Knowledge Exchange on Evidence-Based Practice Sustainment. This is a two-site (UCLA and UCSD) NIMH-funded project focused on community therapists implementation of multiple evidence-based practices for children’s mental health within a system-driven reform in Los Angeles County. The aims of the new study are to develop a pragmatic quality assessment tool to assess therapist delivery of EBP strategies associated with positive client outcomes. This study is conducted by Drs. Lauren Brookman-Frazee and Anna Lau. Description of TEAMS: TEAMS stands for Translating Evidence-Based Interventions for ASD: A Multi-Level Implementation Strategy. This is a set of two coordinated NIMH-funded studies that will test ways to support community providers in their learning and delivery of treatments for ASD. TEAMS is being carried out in three sites (UCLA, UC Davis, and UCSD).
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We anticipate that undergraduates and volunteers will be filling a number of different roles on our team for both projects. Research assistants will have the opportunity to shadow and observe recruitment- and intervention-related workshops in the Los Angeles County. Other tasks include data extraction and entry, preparing study materials, and literature searches. RAs will be provided with graduate school workshops and resources, professional development (e.g., CV workshop, SPSS tutorial), and interactive seminars to develop critical and analytical thinking skills. Interested applicants should email the following documents to Christopher Gomez, research coordinator, at cgomez@psych.ucla.edu: brief cover letter stating your goals/interests in psychology, resume/CV, and an academic transcript (can be unofficial).

Adolescents Coping with Everyday Stress (ACES)

Faculty Sponsor: 
Lau, Anna
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
JC Gonzalez
Room Number: 
A292
Phone: 
310-825-9250
Description of Research Project: 
Various studies in our lab are geared toward understanding the experience of Asian American families. The main project of our lab (ACES) is a 3 year study on Vietnamese American teens. The goal of the study is to assess the many different stressors experienced by teens, the coping methods they adopt and the mental health outcomes. Primarily, we examine the influence of culture in these experiences.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students who seek to understand the ins and outs of conducting research are welcome! This lab provides a diverse range of responsibilities such as literature review, study materials preparation, scheduling, data entry, coding, interviewing, attending weekly lab meetings, etc. Able to complete tasks in a timely manner, being detail-oriented and organized is necessary.

Visual Object Recognition

Faculty Sponsor: 
Liu, Zili
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Dr. Zili Liu
Room Number: 
Franz 7619
Phone: 
310-267-4683
Description of Research Project: 
This National Science Foundation sponsored research investigates how the brain encodes into memory visually perceived scenes and objects (e.g., faces). Counter-intuitive predictions, with promising pilot data, will be tested.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Responsibilities include scheduling experiments on experimentrix, conducting the experiments, and debriefing the participant after each experiment.

Center for Addictive Behaviors, Student Research Assistant Project

Faculty Sponsor: 
London, Edythe
Department: 
Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Sarah Wilson, M.A.
Room Number: 
Semel Institute, C8-528
Phone: 
310-794-9756
Description of Research Project: 
The mission of our lab is to discover fundamental mechanisms that link addictive disorders (cigarette smoking, drug abuse) and their behavioral correlates with neurochemical phenotypes and genotypes in healthy individuals and in those who suffer from neuropsychiatric diseases. For this purpose, noninvasive brain-imaging techniques, including positron emission tomography (PET), and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are applied in studies of human subjects. The Laboratory's work is comprised of research on the biological basis of addictive disorders, and the development of new probes for noninvasive imaging, including methods to visualize gene expression. The emphasis of this project is to understand how human research is conducted in a clinical setting. This includes participating in the recruitment and retention of research participants, opening and obtaining informed consent, determining study eligibility, data collection, entry, and management, and understanding good clinical research practices.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
"Assist with the management of subject recruitment and enrollment through various advertising methods including researching and coordinating advertisements for several studies; Create weekly recruitment and study progress reports to senior, scientific staff; Conduct phone screenings for participant recruitment; Explain protocol and review consent form with potential participants (engage participants in process of informed consent); Complete intake screenings with potential participants; Collect and test participant breath and urine samples; Complete daily questionnaires and urine testing with inpatient subjects each morning and on some weekends; Administer neurocognitive (i.e., WTAR, Shipley Hartford) assessments; Schedule and coordinate study visits (i.e. intake screenings, SCID, cognitive testing, MRI and PET scanning sessions, etc.); Schedule testing rooms for participant visits, including interfacing with GCRC for inpatient room reservations and UCLA Brain Mapping Center (BMC) for scanning sessions; Conduct data entry and scoring for screening questionnaires, psychological measures, neurocognitive batteries, and breath and urine assays; Maintain project subject enrollment and identification key, binders, and medical charts; Maintain study materials necessary for all project visits; Ensure tracking of completed study procedures and tailor recruitment to meet the needs of investigators and meet study goals in an efficient and timely manner."

Cognitive, EEG and genetic biomarkers in child psychiatric disorders

Faculty Sponsor: 
Loo, Sandra
Department: 
Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Patricia Tan
Room Number: 
Semel Institute A7-456
Description of Research Project: 
Dr. Sandra Loo is an associate professor-in-residence in the Division of Child Psychiatry and the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics. Dr. Loo's lab is studying cognitive and electrophysiological (EEG) measures as biomarkers of diagnosis, developmental trajectory and treatment response in child psychiatric disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette's Syndrome, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), anxiety disorders and mood dysregulation. In addition, the Loo lab studies the genetics of EEG measurements in ADHD. The goal of this work is to define EEG correlates of cognitive and behavioral functioning and use these as 'refined phenotypes' to identify risk genes for psychiatric disorder. The long-term goal of this research is to better understand the neural mechanisms by which genetic polymorphisms produce the cognitive and behavioral phenotypes evident in childhood psychiatric disorders.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students would assist in data entry, subject recruitment and recording, and data analyses, depending on skill level. Opportunities for developing and implementing appropriately sized research projects are available and encouraged.

Identifying Patterns of Tobacco and Marijuana Use Among University Members and Assessing Perceptions of UC Tobacco and Marijuana Policies

Faculty Sponsor: 
McCarthy, William
Department: 
Health Policy and Management
Contact Name: 
Vennis Hong
Room Number: 
A2-125 CHS
Phone: 
(626) 510-0067
Description of Research Project: 
The goal of the project is to conduct surveillance about and improve enforcement of the UCLA Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy through engaging the campus community in conversations about tobacco-related issues on campus. The project aims to: 1) establish with survey data the characteristics of individuals who do not comply with the UCLA Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy and 2) evaluate the Approach, Inform, Refer (AIR) technique by piloting an intervention based on AIR. AIR is a technique for interested community members to talk to policy violators about the need for compliance with the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Responsibilities: • Screening potential participants • Data collection and survey administration • Attend a one-hour training session • Attend bi-weekly research team meetings • CITI training certification Commitment: • Fall Quarter 2017 (may be extended through the 2017-2018 academic year) • 3 hours per week to attend weekly shifts for data collection • 1 hour every other week to attend research team meetings Research assistants who opt to work with us for a longer period of time may have opportunities to conduct data analysis and contribute to manuscript and poster development.

FOCUS - Early Childhood for Military Families

Faculty Sponsor: 
Mogil, Catherine
Department: 
Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Cara Kiff, PhD
Phone: 
310-794-1642
Description of Research Project: 
The FOCUS – Early Childhood (FOCUS-EC) project is a 5-year NICHD-funded study examining the efficacy of a brief CBT-based intervention with Veteran, National Guard, Reserve and Civilian Dwelling Military families with preschool-age children (ages 3-6 years). FOCUS-EC helps families develop more effective parenting skills, improve family communication, promote emotion regulation, and enhance problem-solving. Participants may present with various clinical diagnoses, including PTSD, TBI, and mood and anxiety disorders, as well as significant individual- and family-level stressors. Families enrolled in the study are referred by community agencies, word of mouth and online advertising offering the opportunity to work with families from a diverse population. Students will have the opportunity to gain experience in understanding parenting behaviors, child behavior, and parent-child relationships.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are seeking enthusiastic students to spearhead our parent-child coding team. Students will learn a structured video-based coding system of parenting behaviors, child behaviors and dyadic interactions. Students will receive weekly supervision and training in the coding system, including didactics in research methods, child development and parenting behavior. Additional tasks including data preparation, entry and processing will also be required. Minimum 3-quarter/yearlong commitment required.

Progression of Alzheimers disease in Down syndrome

Faculty Sponsor: 
Nelson, Linda
Department: 
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Contact Name: 
Linda Nelson
Room Number: 
C8-749
Phone: 
310-206-8100
Description of Research Project: 
The research conducted at UCLA by Associate Professor Linda Nelson focuses on early detection of Alzheimer's disease in adults with Down syndrome. Using specially designed measures of memory and learning, together with PET FDDNP, Nelson and colleagues are developing the first in vivo method for measuring amyloid plaque and tau in the brain. Results of this research will help guide us towards the type and timing of treatment necessary to slow disease progression.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Linda Nelson in the department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, students will be assisting Dr. Nelson by running adult subjects with Down syndrome in experiments that measure cognition. Tests include cognitive and psychological assessments on the state or presence of dementia. Training in methods and procedures, ethics, and scoring and analysis will be provided by Dr. Nelson before the subjects are tested. Students are encouraged to apply for funding to design and carry out independent research for presentation and/or publication. Must be sophomore or beginning junior, be willing to sign up for 4 credits per quarter, minimum 2 quarter commitment. Must be dependable, reliable, and have strong interpersonal skills.

Study of antipsychotic medication adherence in schizophrenia

Faculty Sponsor: 
Nuechterlein, Keith
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Kenneth Subotnik, Ph.D.
Room Number: 
300 Medical Plaza, Room 2240
Phone: 
(310) 825-0334
Description of Research Project: 
The UCLA Aftercare Research Program has been on the UCLA campus for over two decades, and provides free psychiatric treatment for patients with a recent onset of schizophrenia who participate in the research study. Our longitudinal research program examines whether we can accentuate our efforts to get first break patients back to work to prevent the onset of chronic disability.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
For this SRP position, the student will help to maintain our extensive database on medication adherence among our schizophrenia patients. In addition the student will assist in the review of the literature on medication adherence in schizophrenia and summarize articles related to medication adherence. Students with an interest in schizophrenia and psychopathology research are encouraged to apply. This position is particularly appropriate for undergraduates with a minimum overall GPA of 3.5. Second year students are especially encouraged to apply, but all years will be considered. Must be extremely reliable and dependable (excessive tardiness and absences are NOT acceptable). Must be able to balance competing demands and must be competent in multitasking and adapting to fluctuating priorities. Candidate must be detail-oriented, organized, accurate, and efficient with minimal supervision. Candidate must have excellent oral and written English communications skills. Ability to understand issues of patient confidentiality and safety is required. Proficiency in the use of standard PC office equipment and standard PC software (i.e. MS Office, Word, Excel, Internet searching) is also required. Must have excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrate appropriate interpersonal boundaries with patients and staff and be able to work in a shared workspace with a diverse team of mental health professionals. Some experience in library literature reviews, use of pubmed on UCLA library website, some experience in reading and summarizing psychology research articles. Experience in the use of SPSS is preferred. Documents to Submit: Resume, Cover Letter, Unofficial Transcript, Writing Sample Send materials to: ksubotnik@mednet.ucla.edu Document Submission notes: Please name each file with the following format (in the following example, the applicant’s name is “Jane Doe”, The content is “Resume”, and date (e.g., Jane Doe Resume 9-1-2017). Other documents should use a similar file naming format. Writing sample can be a term paper for college level class, preferably one with a literature review included.

Study of social cognition and attention in schizophrenia patients: Data tracking and entry

Faculty Sponsor: 
Nuechterlein, Keith
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Kenneth Subotnik
Room Number: 
300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Room 2240
Phone: 
(310) 825-0334
Description of Research Project: 
The UCLA Aftercare Research Program has been on the UCLA campus for over two decades, and provides free psychiatric treatment for patients with a recent onset of schizophrenia who participate in the research study. Our longitudinal research program examines whether we can accentuate our efforts to get first break patients back to work to prevent the onset of chronic disability.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The student will assist the Aftercare Research Program staff with general research/project tasks including: data file management, data entry and data collection, tracking and triggering research measures, and updating the data entry site. Other tasks can include filing, photocopying, faxing, and maintaining an off-site data storage inventory, and assisting the patient coordinator with patient file maintenance and errands. Students with an interest in schizophrenia and psychopathology research are encouraged to apply. This position is particularly appropriate for undergraduates with a minimum overall GPA of 3.5. Second or third year students are especially encouraged to apply, but all years will be considered. Must be extremely reliable and dependable (excessive tardiness and absences are NOT acceptable). Must be able to balance competing demands and must be competent in multitasking and adapting to fluctuating priorities. Candidate must be detail-oriented, organized, accurate, and efficient with minimal supervision. Candidate must have excellent oral and written English communications skills. Ability to understand issues of patient confidentiality and safety is required. Proficiency in the use of standard PC office equipment and standard PC software (i.e. MS Office, Word, Excel, Internet searching) is also required. Must have excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrate appropriate interpersonal boundaries with patients and staff and be able to work in a shared workspace with a diverse team of mental health professionals.

Social Perception and the Brain

Faculty Sponsor: 
Parkinson, Carolyn
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Ryan Hyon
Room Number: 
3319 Franz Hall
Description of Research Project: 
Our social neuroscience lab studies how the human brain represents and navigates the social world. This research combines approaches from cognitive neuroscience, social network analysis, and social psychology to address questions like: How do our brains track and encode information about the structure of our social networks? How are our thoughts and actions influenced by the social networks we inhabit? How does the brain encode different kinds of distance from the self (e.g., distance in time, space, and social ties), and how does the encoding of this information interact with other mental processes? To address these and other questions, we use a combination of behavioral experimentation, social network analysis, and neuroimaging techniques.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are seeking enthusiastic, organized and independent students interested in getting first-hand exposure to research. Students will have the opportunity to be involved in multiple aspects of the research process, with the scope of each student’s responsibility increasing over time. Possible responsibilities include corresponding with and running participants, basic experimental design, generating experimental stimuli, developing and implementing participant recruitment strategies, literature reviews, data entry, coding data, and participating in lab group discussions. Excellent, exceptionally motivated students may also have the opportunity to get involved with fMRI research and data analysis. Students are asked to commit a minimum of 2 quarters. Interested students should email Ryan Hyon at rhyon@psych.ucla.edu with your CV/resume, unofficial academic transcript and a brief statement summarizing your research interests and academic goals.

UCLA Child, OCD, Anxiety, and Tic Disorders Program

Faculty Sponsor: 
Peris, Tara
Department: 
Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Tara Peris
Description of Research Project: 
Are you interested in kids and families? Would you like to learn more about how anxiety and depression affect the body at a biological level? There are several 196 opportunities available in the UCLA Child OCD, Anxiety, and Tic Disorders Program for students with these interests. These are great training experiences for anyone interested in biological aspects of youth mental health. Currently, we have multiple studies that measure stress responding in children and adolescents (and sometimes their parents). Research assistants will be involved in data collection from kids and families and in monitoring and processing data. An interest in working with families and learning about methods for collecting and analyzing psychophysiological data is a must.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Your primary responsibilities include assisting with the processing of electrocardiographic and electrodermal data, data collection procedures, calling participants, answering questions, data entry, administrative support, and attendance at weekly supervision meetings. This is a great opportunity to gain research experience for graduate school and learning about clinical research. Please note you will not be involved in patient care.

Child and Adolescent Emotions: Effects of family, attention, and sleep on youth’s ability to manage stress and anxiety

Faculty Sponsor: 
Piacentini, John
Department: 
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Contact Name: 
Holly Truong
Description of Research Project: 
We are interested in understanding why certain children and adolescents struggle to manage stress and other types of negative emotions, specifically anxiety. Factors like parenting, the types of information to which youth attend or disengage, and youth’s sleep quality can influence how well children and adolescents regulate emotion. These studies investigate youth’s cognitive and brain function, behavior, and subjective experience in relation to anxiety. In particular, the studies are interested in identifying biological and behavioral markers of risk that can be translated into better, earlier identification and treatment tools for pediatric anxiety disorders. The methods used include EEG/ERP, behavior observation, cognitive or neuro-psychological testing, and experience sampling of behavior and mood. Prior experience working with children and adolescents is desirable, though not essential. Training will be provided. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in applying to graduate programs in clinical psychology or medical schools.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will have the opportunity to learn and gain experience in research involving children and adolescents, some of whom are diagnosed with anxiety and/or related disorders. Students will assist in preparation of study materials, helping run child participants through study procedures including computer and EEG testing, assessments of sleep quality, and experience sampling methods (used to capture “real-world” emotional experiences) as well as data entry/coding/analysis. We require a 3-quarter commitment of 8 hours per week minimum and a minimum GPA of 3.4.

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