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Academic Research

As a Loyola student, you have the opportunity to work alongside our talented professors to partner in collaborative research. Learn more about some recent research and projects currently underway.

Neural Correlates of Cognition, Stress, and Resilience

Dr. Kate Yurgil’s research examines complex relationships between the brain, cognition, and health by using a variety of methodological techniques, including cognitive tests, psychological assessments, and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure electrical brain activity. Dr. Yurgil’s primary interests include determining biopsychosocial predictors of traumatic stress and resilience, as well as understanding individual differences in perception, memory, and executive functions. Understanding the nature of these differences is an important step in supporting neurodiversity, improving cognitive performance, and promoting healthy behaviors and outcomes.

Trauma, Race/Ethnicity, and Education (TREE) Lab

Dr. Silverstein's Trauma, Race/Ethnicity, and Education (TREE) lab investigates trauma sequelae, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on behavioral health, and mentorship of racial and/or ethnic minority undergraduate students. A major goal of the TREE lab is to include Loyola undergraduate and graduate research assistants at all steps of the research process so that they can hone their skills and pursue health/education-equity driven research careers of their own. 


Trauma sequelae: The lab is currently most interested in examining the psychometric properties of trauma-related assessment tools for people of color, as these tools can lack cultural relevancy. By improving these tools, researchers can have a more accurate picture of how trauma-related constructs manifest in diverse individuals, leading to more effective treatments and increased health equity. 


COVID-19 and behavioral health: The lab focuses on how existing disparities (e.g., physical and mental health, financial) have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The lab also focuses on how COVID-19-related bias, stigma, and discrimination (particularly xenophobic behavior) can be measured and intervened upon to improve health outcomes. 


Mentorship: The lab's research on mentorship of racial and/or ethnic minority undergraduate students focuses on the relationship between White mentors (i.e., faculty members) and Black mentees (i.e., undergraduate students). Using qualitative methods, we examine Black mentees' perceptions of the positive and negative traits of their mentors with the ultimate goal of designing a guide for White mentors to improve their mentorship skills. 

Making a better world: A project examining motivation to improve collective well-being

Dr. Chuck Nichols' project seeks to better understand the correlates, causes, and effects of wanting and working toward collective betterment.  Caring about and helping close others and even complete strangers can provide strong psychological benefits for the helper as well as the helped. However, some surveys suggest that individuals may be becoming more selfish and less other-focused in recent decades, potentially undermining overall well-being. This project employs survey and experimental methodology to explore what leads people to care about and act to help others.

Social and Biological Influences on Primate Behavior and Reproduction

Dr. Evan Zucker, Professor of Psychology, studies the social and biological influences on the behavior and reproductive outcomes of nonhuman primates, as well as studying naturally-occurring patterns of human behavior (human ethology) and other aspects of social phenomena. His recent research has focused on the relationship between familial social status and life-history variables, as well as how indices of health in black howling monkeys are related to ecological factors, group composition factors, and reproductive status.