CBU Receives NSF Grant for New Psychology Lab with EEG Equipment

MEMPHIS — Christian Brothers University (CBU) has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for nearly $60,000 to purchase an Advanced Psychophysiological Recording System, including a 64-channel electroencephalography system (commonly known as an EEG machine). The grant, awarded to the CBU Department of Behavioral Sciences, came after a proposal was submitted in January to fund the purchase of the whole-head EEG system. Along with the purchase of the EEG system, the grant will allow the creation of the only whole-head laboratory geared to undergraduate education.

Electroencephalograms record electrical activity and are often used to diagnose epilepsy and brain disorders. This EEG machine also gauges stress levels, heart rate, brain activity and human experience from the head of one or two persons at a time. The measurement of physiological activities such as arousal, emotion and muscle activity will also be conducted.

CBU’s new ARPS laboratory would be the only facility in greater Memphis to focus on multi-disciplinary research using a whole-head EEG system. This will give students competitive knowledge through hands-on experience along with the combined education they will gain through required projects. The proposed research will explore the emotional aspects of computer-mediated communication, examine different electrical processes, and also study the interaction of affect and memory. The research will allow students to witness the brain’s response to seemingly mundane everyday tasks such as texting and multi-tasking.

“In many ways, this is a unique proposal. What it brings to the Memphis area, especially in terms of opportunities for students, seems to have been one of the main strengths. In particular, it presents a terrific opportunity to engage students who are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences,” said Dr. Jeffrey Sable, assistant professor in the CBU Department of Behavior Science.

For the duration of three years, under the leadership of Dr. Sable, the department is responsible for maintaining goals and progress by conducting three initial projects. Each project will be studied collaboratively by students and faculty, leading to published research and presentations. There will also be a joint collaboration with the graduate students from the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis.

“Our psychology program has a strong tradition providing excellent undergraduate research experiences. Student research is a given at the graduate level, but it’s unusual to have a program as robust with hands-on research as ours designed exclusively for undergraduates. The grant is in large part recognition of our success in this area,” said Dr. Paul Haught, Dean of CBU’s Rose G. Deal School of Arts.

Sable believes that this grant will put undergraduate students in a position that most would consider a rarity and make them more marketable in their future career choices.

“This will provide undergraduate students with opportunities to present and publish their research and to even develop novel research plans of their own,” Sable said.

CBU faculty members will also employ the APRS in coursework in order to offer research-based experiences. By employing this equipment, the possibility of acquiring new and unique results is hoped to not only educate but also motivate student researchers to explore additional uses and generate innovative new ideas for further experimentation.

CBU’s grant is one of only six active NSF Major Research Instrumentation awards in Tennessee.

For more information on the CBU Department of Behavioral Sciences, visit www.cbu.edu/psychology or call the Rose G. School of Arts at (901) 321-3335. ###

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