Experimental Psychology

Use psychological theory to design, test and run an experiment that investigates human behavior.

Understanding the complexities of emotion and behavior drives the scientific exploration of the human mind. In this course, you’ll learn the foundations of human subject research and hear from professional researchers who apply psychological theories from emergency rooms to war zones. See firsthand how psychologists approach and investigate natural phenomena and communicate their work to the scientific community and the wider public. You’ll work with a team to develop an original research question, then design an experiment to test it and present your findings at our online research symposium.

This course meets daily for two hours.

In This Course You Will

  • Learn about Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy from Dr. Skip Rizzo, a leading expert who works with the US military

  • Interpret EEG readings with Dr. Sam Effarah and learn how current research utilizes EEG technology

  • Work with a team to design your own psychological experiment, and receive coaching from professional research psychologists

  • Present your research to peers and experts at on online symposium

Required Materials

To take advantage of all this course has to offer, we ask that students have access to a desktop or laptop computer and a stable internet connection. A printer is recommended, but not required.

Visiting Faculty + Advisors

Dr. Albert "Skip" Rizzo

Professor + Director for Medical Virtual Reality, University of Southern California

Dr. Skip Rizzo is a clinical psychologist and Director of Medical Virtual Reality at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. He is also a Research Professor with USC’s Department of Psychiatry and the USC Davis School of Gerontology. In 2010, Dr. Rizzo’s work using virtual reality-based exposure therapy to treat PTSD was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Treatment of Trauma.

Dr. Jerri Lynn Hogg

Media Psychologist

Dr. Jerri Lynn Hogg is a media psychologist and Director of the Media Psychology program at Fielding Graduate University. Hogg presents internationally on the cultural influence of human behavior and digital media, and she recently worked for the United States Department of Defense, Global Operations division on an anti-terrorism simulation where she used narrative psychology to counter terrorist messaging in Iraq, Syria, and North Africa.

Dr. Moran Cerf

Neuroscientist and Researcher, Northwestern University

Dr. Moran Cerf is a neuroscientist and business professor at the Kellogg School of Management and the neuroscience program at Northwestern University. His research uses methods from neuroscience to understand the underlying mechanisms of our psychology, behavior changes, emotion, decision making and dreams. Additionally, he addresses questions pertaining to the neural mechanisms that underlie decision-making, thereby offering a new perspective on predicting future choices and investigating how much free will we have in our decisions. He holds multiple patents and his works have been published in journals such as Nature and Journal of Nature Neuroscience, Scientific American Mind, Wired, New Scientist and more. Additionally, his work has been portrayed in numerous media and cultural outlets such as CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, NPR, Time and MSNBC.

Dr. Laurence Steinberg

Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Temple University

Dr. Laurence Steinberg is a Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University. He’s previously taught at Cornell University, University of California and University of Wisconsin. Dr. Steinberg is the author of approximately 400 articles and essays on development during the teenage years and the author or editor of 17 books. He’s been a featured guest on numerous television programs, including CBS Morning News, Today, Good Morning America, 20/20, Dateline, PBS NewsHour and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Baroness Susan Greenfield

Professor of Neuroscience, University of Oxford

Professor Baroness Susan Greenfield is a Senior Research Fellow and the Fullerian Professor of Physiology at Lincoln College at Oxford University. Greenfield is a neuroscientist and runs a multi-disciplinary research group exploring novel brain mechanisms linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Greenfield has received two honorary degrees from British and foreign universities and was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians.

Dr. Marc Tetel

Neuroscience Professor + Program Director, Wellesley College

Dr. Marc Tetel is the Dorothy and Charles Jenkins, Jr. Distinguished Professor at Wellesley College. Tetel’s research areas include neuroendocrinology, estrogen and progestin action, and brain and behavior. Tetel directs the Neuroscience Department at Wellesley and teaches at all levels within the program.

Dr. Sam Effarah

Clinical Psychologist, EEG Chicago

Dr. Sam Effarah is a Clinical Psychologist at EEG Chicago. His specialties include neurofeedback and quantitative EEGs (Topical brain-mapping). Sam has held positions at the University of Chicago, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, ProPsych Associates, Cognitive Solutions Learning Center in Chicago, Northwestern Neuropsychological Associates, and at the Jewish Children’s Bureau of Chicago. He developed a Peak Performance Training Program for future school administrators of high-needs schools and has received numerous awards including a letter of commendation from Evanston Northwestern Healthcare for his work after the September 11th attacks, an award that he notes among his most fulfilling. Dr. Effarah is BCIA board certified in neurofeedback.