Current Research & Methods
Funded by grants from the National Institute of Aging, research in the lab currently focuses primarily on two major projects: a study of emotion and normative aging, and a study of the impact of neurodegenerative diseases on emotional functioning.
The Berkeley Psychophysiology Lab utilizes a multi-method approach to understanding emotion. We collect the following types of data:
Physiological responding is assessed by placing sensors on participants. These sensors monitor normal physiological signals such as heart rate, sweat, breathing, and skin temperature.
With the consent of participants, trained coders use videotapes to code emotional facial expressions (such as anger, sadness, amusement, and surprise). For some tasks, participants' eye movements are also measured. This allows us to understand what people find most salient when viewing photos and films.
All participants are often asked to describe how they feel during our tasks. Participants are sometimes also asked to describe themselves and their life experiences.
For a few tasks, we also use a device that tracks participants’ eye movements. This is done to determine what people are attending to during our tasks.