The Brain and Gender Laboratory encourages any undergraduate Psychology student interested in sex differences in human behavior to apply and earn PSYC 485 or PSYC 491 credit. Rising scholars interested in joining our team should note that we require a work commitment of two consecutive semesters.
Members of our research team gain valuable experience with research tools such as eye-tracking and activity monitoring, and work collaboratively with graduate students and other research assistants. In addition to learning more about human development and methods to examine sex differences across the life-span, undergraduate researchers gain a better understanding of the relevance of research experience in successful applications to graduate studies and to different careers in psychology.
If you are interested in joining our laboratory, please contact Kendall John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your email, please provide us the following information:
- Your Research Interests
- Your Career Goals/Plans after graduation
- Courses in Psychology that you have taken
- Research Experience (if any)
- Any other information you think would like for us to know
Our lab is recruiting graduate students with an interest in understanding sex differences in human behavior and their implications for typical development and disorders with sex-biased prevalence rates.
Our Primary Research Interests:
Broadly defined, my field of research is the psychobiology of human sex differences. In other mammals, we know that hormones influence behaviors that differ between males and females, including the care of offspring, sexual behavior, cognitive abilities, pro-social and aggressive behavior. Therefore, my primary focus has been investigation of the hypothesis that hormones in pre- and postnatal life may contribute to sex differences in similar domains of human behavior across the lifespan. Support for my research program has been provided by federal funding agencies (National Institutes of Mental Health, National Science Foundation).
Our Research Methodology:
As experimental manipulation of hormone levels in humans is rarely possible, knowing how hormones influence human behavior requires converging evidence from research employing a variety of methodologies. Therefore, my research program has included studies of typically developing children and adults, individuals with established hormone deficiencies, individuals with disorders thought to involve atypical hormone exposure (e.g., Autism), and behavioral research on other animal species. In addition to widely-used measures of hormone levels and behaviors that typically differ between males and females, a pioneering, core component of my research methodology is the application of eye-tracking technology. Objects or activities that are interesting or important quickly draw the observer’s attention. Therefore, this exciting technology makes it possible to examine sex differences in visual interest or attention in populations that lack the ability to inform us verbally (e.g., infants).
Why our research is relevant:
Significantly, there is widespread intentional modification of hormone levels (e.g., with hormonal contraception, fertility treatments, or anabolic steroid use) and unintentional exposure to environmental substances that disrupt hormone function (e.g., PCBs, Phthalates, BPA). Our research, aimed at understanding when and what human behaviors may be influenced by hormones, informs our general understanding of human development and also suggests the possible consequences of intentional and unintentional alteration of hormone levels for gender-linked behavior.
Ongoing Research Projects:
- Eye-Tracking Studies of Gender-Linked Preferences in Women and Men
- Attention and Androgen Affects on Gender Differences
- Emotion and Mental Rotation