Applied Experimental Concentration

The Applied Experimental Concentration is designed for those students who wish to do graduate work with a focus on research and its application in areas of psychology such as biological psychology, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, experimental psychology, health psychology, or human factors psychology. Graduates from the Applied Experimental Concentration are expected to matriculate into doctoral programs at major universities or find employment in community college teaching, research centers, public agencies, or industry.

The 36 sh curriculum provides coverage of the basic content areas of psychology (e.g., biological, cognitive, developmental, social), the research tools of psychology (e.g., research design, statistics), and the student’s field of interest through electives, independent study, supervised research, and the Capstone project (e.g., thesis, terminal research project, or internship).


Research Opportunities

We have an active faculty conducting a wide range of both basic and applied research. Their current research interests include topics such as: autobiographical memory, critical thinking across the lifespan, human factors, normal and pathological aging, parent-child relationships, processes of attention and memory, sustained attention and visual working memory.

Students are consistently involved in faculty research and encouraged to pursue their own research interests. Their work is frequently presented at national and regional conferences and in many cases their work results in publications in refereed journals.


Faculty Grants

Arruda, J. E. (2013). Race to the Top FLDOE Developed Student Growth Models for Hard-to-Measure Course Content Areas (Physical Education, Art, and Music). Florida Department of Education. Co-Principal Investigator.

Guttmann, R. P. (2012). Poarch Band of Creek Indians Elder Abuse Prevention Grant. National Administration on Aging. Principal Investigator.

Guttmann, R. P. (2016-2018). Enhancing Detection of Alzheimer's Disease Biomarkers Using Phage-Derived Quantification (PDQ). Florida Department of Health. Principal Investigator.


Faculty Research Interests

Photo of Dr. James Arruda

James E. Arruda, Professor

Areas of Interest: Cognitive and Neural Models of Attention, Electrophysiological Correlates of Cognition and Behavior, Research Methods & Statistics.
Recent Publications:  
Arruda, J. E., *McGee, H. A., Zhang, H., & Stanny, C. J. (2011). The effects of EEG data transformations on the solution accuracy of principal component analysis. Psychophysiology, 48, 370-376.
*Fix, S. T., Arruda, J. E., Andrasik, F.,*Beach, J., & Groom, K. (2015). Using visual evoked potentials for the early detection of amnestic mild cognitive impairment: A pilot investigation. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Website: http://uwf.edu/jarruda

Vanessa Rainey, Assistant Professor, Applied Experimental Track Coordinator

Areas of Interest: Cognitive development of children, Executive function and language development, Electrophysiological correlates of executive functions in children
Recent Publications:  
Davidson, D., Raschke, V. R., & Pervez, J. (2010).  Syntactic awareness in young monolingual and bilingual (Urdu-English) children.  Cognitive Development, 25, 166-182.
Rainey, V. R., Davidson, D., & Li-Grining, C.(2015). Executive functions as predictors of syntactic awareness in English monolingual and English-Spanish bilingual language brokers and nonbrokers. Applied Psycholinguistics.
Website: Cognitive Development Laboratory

Lisa D. Blalock, Associate Professor

Areas of Interest: Visual Working Memory, Applied Cognitive Psychology, Situational Awareness while Driving
Recent Publications:  
Blalock, L. D. (2015). Familiarity improves consolidation of visual working memory representations. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, In Press.
Blalock, L. D., Sawyer, B. S., Kiken, A., Gutzwiller, R. G., McGill, C., & Clegg, B. A. (2014). Cognitive load while driving impairs memory of moving but not stationary elements within the driving environment. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 3, 95-100.
Website: http://uwf.edu/lblalock
Lab Website: Visual Cognition Laboratory

Lisa VanWormer, Associate Professor and Chairperson

Areas of Interest: Cognitive aging, Positivity Bias, Inhibitory processes in working memory and attention.
Recent Publications:  
*Takeucki, J., Kass, S. J., Schneider, S., & VanWormer, L. A. (2013). Virtual and face-to-face teamwork differences in culturally homogeneous and heterogeneous teams. Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture, 4(2), 17-34.
VanWormer, L. A., Senkbeil, S., & Kass, S. J. (2014). Comparison of inter-stimulus intervals on change detection in non-driving and driving scenarios, American Journal of Psychology, 127, 489-500.
Lab Website: http://uwf.edu/lvanwormer and Attention and Memory Laboratory

*denotes student author


Why choose Applied Experimental Psychology at UWF?

Photo of beach
  • A well-rounded curriculum: Applied Experimental students take 36sh of classes that cover important core areas, such as Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, and Social Psychology. Students may also take elective courses, such as Human Factors, Psychopathology, or Biostatistics. 
  • Distinguished faculty: Applied Experimental faculty have been successful in receiving multiple grants, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and presenting at regional, national, and international conferences.
  • A focus on development: Students take a Professional Seminar course, which covers topics from building curriculum vitas to enhancing presentation skills.
  • Rigorous research: By choosing a Thesis or a Terminal Research Project, students are closely involved with faculty throughout proposal development, data collection, analysis, and dissemination. 
  • Continuous educational opportunities after graduation: Applied Experimental students have gone on to a variety of doctoral programs, such as Behavioral Medicine, Community Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Cognitive Psychology.
  • Degree-related employment: Our alumni have careers as psychometrists, data analysts, and research psychologists.
  • A sense of community: From orientation to graduation, the Psychology Department makes a commitment to the well-being and success of all our students. 

Selected Graduates of the AE Concentration

Beth Wheeler Atkinson, M.A. University of West Florida; Senior Research Psychologist at Naval Air   Warfare Center Training Systems Division. Capstone: Gender Differences in Correlates of Sexual Coercion: Self-Efficacy and Conflict Resolution Strategies. 

William Aue, current Ph.D. student at Syracuse University (Cognition, Brain, & Behavior). Capstone: Periodicities in Performance on Visual Continuous Performance Tasks.

Jameson Beach, M.A. University of West Florida; Research Assistant at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Capstone: A Novel Electroencephalographic Method to Detect a Biomarker for Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jason Case, M.A. University of West Florida; Contract and Data Analyst at Lakeview Center, Inc. Capstone: Cyclic Variations in Sustained Attention.

Kimberly Chafin, M.A. University of West Florida; Cognitive Trainer at LearningRx. Capstone: Hemispheric Differences in Time Perception in Older and Younger Adults.

Katelyn Cleary, current Ph.D. student at Georgia State University (Developmental). Capstone: Parental Characteristics and Academic Success among Undergraduate Students.

Millie Cordaro, Ph.D. University of Miami; Senior Lecturer at Texas State University. Capstone:  Efficacy, Motivation, Orientation and Young Adult Interpersonal Relationships.

Jessica Gladstone, current Ph.D. Student at the University of Maryland (Human Development). Received NIH Traineeship. Capstone: Personality Factors as Predictors of Stress and Work Engagement Among Faculty Members.

Torin Howland, M.A. University of West Florida; Psychometrist at Optimal Psychological Services. Capstone: The Effects of Rejection Sensitivity, Social Anxiety, and Sexual Assertiveness on Sexually Risky Behavior among Men who have Sex with Men.

Katie Lowe, current Ph.D. student at Purdue University (Human Development and Family Studies). Capstone: Critical Thinking Dispositions and Myside Bias among College Students: A Cross-Sectional Study.

Heather McGee, current Ph.D. student at University of Rhode Island (Behavioral Medicine). Capstone: Principal Components Analysis and qEEG Data Transformation.

Jillian Sise, M.A. University of West Florida; Associate Academic Advisor at the University of Texas at Austin. Capstone: Evaluation of a School-Based Prevention and Life Skills Training Program, Internship with the Community Drug and Alcohol Council.

Alaina Talboy, current Ph.D. student at University of South Florida (Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social). Capstone: Role of Critical Thinking Skills in Mental Health Treatment Selection.


Have further questions?

If you need further information about our graduate program please contact us at psych@uwf.edu or 850-474-2969. For specific questions about the Applied Experimental Concentration contact Dr. Vanessa Rainey at vrainey@uwf.edu or 850-474-2359. 

Visit our campus!

The UWF Graduate School offers a Graduate School Campus Visit that is a walking tour of the campus and includes a visit to our department and an opportunity to meet our department chair or our academic coordinator.

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