»Faculty and Student Research

Are you a student interested in hands on research with world-class faculty? No matter what your interests, fascinating research is happening each and every day at Crean - and you can be a part of it!

+-Addiction Research Laboratory

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Established in 1976, the Addiction Research Laboratory and Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory were the first psychology research laboratories at Chapman.  With funding support from the Alcohol Beverage Medical Research Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health, the Addiction Research Laboratory continues a program to systematically: (1) isolate and define the factors that increase a person vulnerability to substance abuse and addiction; and (2) explain how these factors maintain addiction and resist intervention.  Working within the ARL, students receive training in the biological, social, and behavioral assessment of factors related to substance use and the interplay between personal and family substance use and addiction.

Dr. Steven Schandler
Location: Crean Hall 132I,L,M
Email: schandle@chapman.edu

+-Injury Prevention and Biomechanics Laboratory

Biomechanics of falls and fall-related injuries in older adults

Falls are the number one cause of injuries in older adults, including more than 90% of hip fractures and wrist fractures, and 60% of head injuries. Some of these injuries are life-threatening, and often cause a major decline in independence. However, most falls do not result in serious injuries (i.e., only 1-2% of falls result in hip fracture). This suggests that there exist factors that determine injurious and non-injurious falls, but we have limited information on this area. Age-related decline in bone strength is just one of many biomechanical factors.  

My research involves in vivo or in vitro biomechanical experiments, to understand factors that influence risk of fall-related injuries in older adults. In particular, the research focuses on how the injury risk is affected by muscle forces, shock-absorbing properties of soft tissue, body habitus, kinetics and kinematics of a fall impact, physical functions (i.e., gait, balance), cognitive functions, medications, disease diagnoses (i.e., Parkinson’s, dementia, stroke), and use of protective devices (i.e., hip protectors, wrist guards, helmets, or compliant flooring).     

My research also involves the development of safe landing strategies and exercise programs for prevention and treatment of fall-related injuries in older adults, based on knowledge acquired from the biomechanical research. In particular, the research is currently focused at developing a very simple but effective exercise program for prevention of fall-related hip fracture, which can be easily used by residents in long term care as well as healthy community dwellers. My research also involves clinical trials, to examine effectiveness of the developed interventions in reducing incidence of fall-related injuries in older adults.

Prospective trainees are expected either to lead their own projects or to help ongoing projects under the theme of fall-related injury prevention and treatment in older adults.

Dr. Joseph Choi
Location: Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus
Email: wchoi@chapman.edu

+-Biology of Parenting Laboratory

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The Biology of Parenting laboratory explores the interplay between the psychological and biological processes that shape parent & child health. Within an evolutionary framework, Dr. Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook and her team are particularly interested in how hormonal changes surrounding pregnancy and breastfeeding impact stress, depression and maternal-fetal health outcomes, and what role social factors like family support or life stressors play in shaping maternal-child biology.


Dr. Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook
Location: 544 N. Cypress Ave.
Email: hahnholb@chapman.edu

+-Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory

The Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory applies behavioral, physiological and brain imaging measures together to explore and to understand human information processing.  The laboratory investigates learning and cognition across the life span, studying pre-school children through persons in their nineties.  Students working within the CPL gain experience in psychological assessment, calibration and maintenance of physiological recording systems, computer-driven presentation and control of experimental protocols, and real-time acquisition and analysis of behavioral and physiological data. 

With much interaction between the laboratories, the overarching intent is to provide students with an integrated laboratory experience that not only enhances their learning but also allows them to become project and laboratory managers.  Since 1976, over 250 undergraduate and graduate students have worked in and presented and published research from the laboratories.  It is proudly noted that three current Chapman psychology faculty received their first student research training in the laboratories prior to proceeding with and completing their doctoral studies.

Dr. Steven Schandler
Location: Crean Hall 132I,L,M
Email: schandle@chapman.edu

+-Cognitive Science Laboratory

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At the Cognitive Science Laboratory we conduct research on the processing of language. Through a variety of experiments we analyze the comprehension of emotional language, hemisphere differences, and new methodologies like talk aloud procedures. Dr. Shears also has a research liaison with an adult rehabilitation program for survivors of acquired brain injury where she examines how brain injury disrupts these comprehension processes.  Our laboratory has presented our research at several national and international conferences. Being a research assistant in the Cognitive Science Laboratory allows students the opportunity to learn how to conduct research, the importance research carries within psychology, and the skills necessary to ask and create their own research questions.

Dr. Connie Shears
Location: Crean Hall 132
Email: shears@chapman.edu
Website: cucogsciencelab.weebly.com

+-Complex Adaptive Systems in Psychological Research (CASPR) Lab

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Dr. David Pincus’s program of research focuses on understanding biopsychosocial resilience using models and methods from a nonlinear dynamical systems theory.  

Recent empirical work in the lab includes:  (1) Measuring shifts in behavioral flexibility associated with severe and persistent self-injurious behaviors; (2) Measuring the effects of experimentally induced psychological conflict on social resilience; (3) Measuring the relationships between fractal personality structure and broadband psychopathology; and (4) Modeling sexual identity integration processes underlying psychological resilience in gay adolescent males.  Future lines of research that are under development include: (a)  Measuring resilience in as shifts to nonlinear coupling in biopsychosocial networks for women across the menopausal transition; (b) Testing an approach to psychotherapy based in complex adaptive systems theory:  Experiential Balancing Therapy; (c) examining the role of the imagination in the experience of pain and pain relief.

More information on Dr. Pincus's recent work can be viewed at his faculty website.  Students interested in working with Dr. Pincus can contact him directly.

Dr. David Pincus
Location: Crean Hall 132J
Email: pincus@chapman.edu

+-Culture, Evolution, and Behavior Laboratory

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Dr. David Frederick's program of research investigates how mass media, interpersonal relationships, and biological factors shape body image dissatisfaction, attraction, health behaviors, attitudes towards weight, self-regulation, and relationship stability among gay, lesbian, and heterosexual men and women.  His work investigates how these experiences differ for ethnic minority versus majority men and women. 

To examine these issues, Dr. Frederick conducts and analyzes large-scale national survey studies, directs cross-cultural research studies, assesses biological factors such as hormone levels, and conducts experimental studies.  He currently supervises graduate and undergraduate students conducting research sex and sexual orientation differences in jealousy and mate preferences, on the effects of exposure to news media on support for different obesity related public policies, and sex and sexual orientation differences in body dissatisfaction.

More information on Dr. Frederick's recent work can be viewed at his personal website. Students interested in working with Dr. Frederick can contact him at dfrederi@chapman.edu.

Dr. David Frederick
Location: Crean Hall 132B
Email: dfrederi@chapman.edu

+-Early Human and Lifespan Development Program

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The goal of the Chapman Early Human and Lifespan Development Program is to advance understanding of the role of the perinatal period in maternal and child health. Led by Dr. Laura Glynn, this laboratory examines the interplay between biological, psychosocial and behavioral processes in human pregnancy.  The interdisciplinary research team focuses on questions such as: Why do women give birth to babies that are born early or small?; How does fetal experience shape the health and development of infants and children?; Does the prenatal period represent a critical period of neurological development, not only for the fetus, but for the mother too?

Dr. Laura Glynn
Location: 544 N. Cypress Avenue
Email: lglynn@chapman.edu

+-Health & Well-Being Laboratory

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Although being happy, optimistic, and fulfilled inherently feels good, do such positive psychological characteristics relate to better physical health? Under the direction of Dr. Julia Boehm, the Health & Well-Being (HWB) Laboratory broadly investigates this question and seeks to understand how people can thrive both mentally and physically. 

Dr. Boehm’s research indicates that initially healthy people who are optimistic and satisfied have a reduced risk for heart attacks more than five year later, compared with individuals who are less optimistic and less satisfied. Research in the HWB Laboratory uses both longitudinal and experimental methodologies to further understand the association between positive psychological characteristics and improved cardiovascular outcomes. In particular, the HWB Laboratory examines how positive psychological characteristics are associated with the behavioral and biological processes that are relevant for cardiovascular health including physical activity, diet, blood pressure, and lipids. For example, Dr. Boehm has found that more optimistic people tend to have healthier healthy levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides. Additional work from the HWB Laboratory suggests that positive psychological characteristics are also associated with reduced risk of smoking and increased likelihood of exercising.     

The ultimate goal of the laboratory’s research is to identify positive psychological characteristics that contribute to healthy trajectories of cardiovascular functioning across the lifespan, with a specific focus on underlying behavioral and biological pathways.

Dr. Julia Boehm
Location: Crean Hall 132
Email: jboehm@chapman.edu
Website: http://sites.chapman.edu/hwblab/

+-Molecular Regulators of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders Laboratory

Obesity is a growing and serious epidemic in the United States and across the world.  The laboratory of Dr. Marcia Abbott is aimed at understanding the development, prevention and treatment of obesity. 

Obesity occurs when energy intake is greater than energy expenditure and in turn the excess energy is stored in the fat tissue. Excessive fat leads to many pathologies and diseases including, but not limited to, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.  Although lifestyle alterations, such as low calorie diet combined with exercise, are known to decrease body fat, maintenance has proven to be a major road-block.  Therefore, alternative therapies to decrease body fat are under examination. Recently, brown fat has become a focus of study for combating and/or preventing obesity. Brown fat is different from classical white fat in that, it “burns” energy to generate heat and can raise the metabolism.  As such, evidence exists that increasing brown fat can decrease classical white fat and improve insulin sensitivity.   There is new and exciting research indicating that cytokines released into the blood following exercise may have beneficial effects on brown fat.  Dr. Abbott’s laboratory uses humans, mice and cell culture models to examine the effects of exercise and metabolic challenges on these novel circulating regulators of obesity.  The overall goal of Dr. Abbott’s research is to identify innovative approaches to decrease the prevalence of obesity and improve general health.

Dr. Marcia Abbott
Location: Crean Hall
Email: mabbott@chapman.edu

+-Motor Control and Motor Development Research Laboratory

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Dr. Grant-Beuttler’s research has focused on motor control and motor development in the newborn infant and young child.  Specifically, she is interested in how uterine confinement and muscle tendon unit play a role in the development of motor skills.  Use of movement analysis systems have frequently been employed in this research.  Currently, she is working to develop a clinically useful movement analysis system for clinical and research use.  Her research has also addressed youth obesity and youth at risk for obesity and she has participated in developing a school based exercise and nutrition program for middle school students who are at risk or obese.  In addition, Dr. Grant-Beuttler has been involved in Constraint Induced Movement Therapy and the use of movement analysis systems in evaluation of this intervention in both children and adults.  Dr. Grant-Beuttler has received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and private foundations. 


Dr. Marybeth Grant-Beuttler
Location: Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus
Email: beuttler@chapman.edu

+-Promoting Quantitative Gait Analysis in the clinical setting for physical therapist

Effective and efficient locomotion, in the form of human walking, is fundamental to human function.  A myriad of obstacles interfere or influence healthy walking (e.g., gait) including but not limited to musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and energy transfer impairments.  Rehabilitation specialists, and particularly Physical Therapist, engage in the rehabilitation and/or restoration of these systems in the event of impairment.  The ability to effectively quantify walking (gait) is critical to demonstrating improvements in individuals with such impairments that negatively influence safe and effective gait.  Physical Therapists face a challenge to quantify gait in the clinical setting.  A critical eye is the primary tool for gait assessment, however this method is limited to subjective observations.  Advances in technology allow for quantitative analysis of gait in the clinical setting, however these technologies are not well understood in terms of their measurement properties, namely reliability of the data, validity of the inferences, as well as a sensitivity to change.  Dr. Daniel Cipriani’s current research is focused on evaluating these developing technologies that allow for quantitative gait analysis.  Dr. Cipriani’s work is in cooperation with local physical therapy clinics and their patients.  Most recently his research has demonstrated the utility of the GAITRite electronic walkway, to accurately measure gait impairment in individuals with lower extremity and spine musculoskeletal pathology.  The GAITRite provides for real-time measures of key gait measures such as cadence, walking velocity, step spatial variables, and pressure distributions.  Dr. Cipriani’s future plans are to evaluate smart phone technology for clinical gait analysis.  The eventual goal of his research is to help Physical Therapy clinicians identify the most cost-effective and accurate means to quantify and document gait changes in their patients, in the clinical setting.

Dr. Daniel Cipriani
Location: Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus
Email: cipriani@chapman.edu

+-Stroke Boot Camp

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DPT students can participate in the Department of Physical Therapy’s Stroke Boot Camp, a 2 week intensive, interdisciplinary treatment program for chronic stroke survivors, by:  1) helping design and implement the programs; 2) assist with collecting and analyzing clinical outcome data; or 3) providing hands-on interventions.  Healthcare professionals and graduate students from several disciplines and programs join together to provide multi-dimensional, patient-centered care that fosters social interaction.

Dr. Alison L. McKenzie
Location: Harry and Diana Rinker Health Science Campus
Email: amckenzi@chapman.edu

+-Telerehabilitation, Robotic Therapy, and Augmented Reality Games for Stroke Recovery

As part of a series of collaborative clinical research studies with Dr. Steven Cramer’s Lab at UCI, Dr. McKenzie and Chapman DPT students have been involved in the inception and implementation of innovative approaches to stroke rehabilitation that incorporate cutting edge technology into emerging models of neurorehabilitation for stroke.  The interdisciplinary research team includes neurologists, post-doctoral fellows, M.D./Ph.D. and Ph.D. students, physical and occupational therapists, bioengineers and bioengineering graduate students, computer scientists, and undergraduates.

Dr. Alison L. McKenzie
Location: Harry and Diana Rinker Health Science Campus
Email: amckenzi@chapman.edu

+-Skeletal Physiology Research Laboratory

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Dr. Sumida’s initial research focused on the impact of endurance training on hepatic gluconeogenesis using the liver perfusion method and isolated hepatocytes.  These investigations revealed that endurance training elevates the glucose production capacity of the liver that could help to prevent the decline in blood glucose concentration during prolonged exercise.  Dr. Sumida used these same techniques and switched his research to investigate the sex differences for hepatic gluconeogenesis following chronic alcohol consumption.  This research demonstrated that female animals were more susceptible to alcohol-induced hypoglycemia compared to males.  Recently, his research has taken a different path.  He currently investigates the impact of resistance training on bone formation during the growth period.  These studies are revealing the existence of an exercise threshold for bone formation as well as sex differences in the training-induced response.

Dr. Kenneth Sumida
Location: Hashinger Science Center
Email: sumida@chapman.edu

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