The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Current Projects

BlackBerry Project & Facebook Project

The BlackBerry Project and Facebook Project are part of a large, longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study investigates the developmental origins of aggressive behavior: biological, family, personality, peer group, and school factors. This research also examines developmental outcomes associated with engaging in and being the victim of social and physical aggression. The overall aim of this research program is clarify to developmental precursors of adolescent psychopathology for both girls and boys, with the long-term goal of developing prevention efforts not only for social and physical aggression, but also for internalizing problems, personality disorders, and eating disorders.

Another goal of these studies is to explore how youth use electronic communication (texting, private messaging, and public messaging) in their peer relationships. Given the large amount of time youth spend engaged in online communication, it is important to study how these forms of communication relate to adjustment. Direct observation of adolescents’ text messages allows for the unobtrusive study of natural communication.

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Eye-Tracking Studies

We use a Tobii eye-tracker to study participants’ visual attention to visual stimuli including social media content on Facebook and videos of people interacting. The eye-tracking studies are conducted to better understand how visual attention is related to beliefs and behavior.

Get Involved in Research

Research Assistants

We are always looking for talented and motivated undergraduate students to become Research Assistants. Undergraduate research assistants ensure our research projects’ success by performing a variety of tasks under the supervision of graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and Dr. Underwood. RAs learn about the ethical conduct of research and gain hands-on experience with multiple aspects of the research process.

Lab tasks may include:

  • Coding text message transcripts for content
  • Running eye-tracking participants through study protocol
  • Organizing and cleaning data
  • Preparing materials for data collection

Experienced RAs may have the chance to analyze data and present their own research.

Download the Research Assistant Application.

Lavanya and Denzel

Research Participation: Personality and Social Media Use

  • Aim: To investigate how college students use Instagram and how this use relates to various personal characteristics.
  • Study details: Eligible participants will complete a series of surveys and be asked to browse an Instagram profile for approximately ten minutes. The full study takes approximately 45 – 60 minutes.
  • Eligibility: Participants must be the true owner of an Instagram account, and be a regular user (i.e. having at least some posts, followers, and people followed). Participants also must be at least 18 years old, and be a UT Dallas student who signs up through the SONA system.
  • Incentive: 1 research exposure credit (SONA)
  • For more information please contact: Kaitlyn Burnell or Madeleine George
  • Direct Sona Link: UT Dallas Psych Research Sign-Up System

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