Research questions in the lab largely focus on the development of children, adolescents, and emerging adults, with a particular focus on how sleep influences this development. These questions are motivated by research suggesting that many people do not obtain adequate sleep, and that poor sleep impacts our overall well-being and can lead to the later development of mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety. As a result, a primary focus of our research is to understand how sleep patterns shape daytime emotional and social experiences in ways that make us more or less susceptible to mental health problems. Ongoing studies examine how both healthy and unhealthy sleep patterns develop, and how these patterns intersect with daytime functioning including our stress reactivity, social interactions and biases, motivation, and risking-taking behavior. We investigate how these processes intersect within various contexts (e.g., community, family, school) and in response to a variety of milestones and experiences (e.g., trauma, life stress, puberty).
Research studies often include multiple methods to assess daytime emotional and social experiences (e.g., behavioral paradigms, psychophysiological and neural responses, ecological momentary assessment) and to assess sleep (EEG-based polysomnography, actigraphy). Our lab ultimately aims to promote healthy psychological functioning and emotional well-being.
Our lab space is located at 201 AJM Johnson Hall on MSU's main campus in Bozeman, MT. Our facilities include four different rooms, including ~1200 square feet of assessment space and a comfortable apartment style living area for overnight studies. This space includes a living room, mini-kitchen, and a private bedroom. We have games, toys, and entertainment (TV, movies, iPad games) available. We also have free parking available for participating families, and meals and snacks are typically provided during overnight stays.
Our lab is fully equipped with Micro Motionlogger actigraphy watches (Ambulatory Monitoring, Inc) to measure objective sleep patterns, and polysomnography (SOMNO HD, Somnomedics) to conduct both attended in-lab or unattended ambulatory sleep studies. Our assessment space also includes a room equipped for behavioral and psychophysiological testing, including audio and video recording, and a Biopac MP150 wireless system to record measures such as heart rate, respiration, cardiac impedance, and electrodermal activity from individuals or during dyadic interaction tasks. Through a collaboration with MSU's Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery, some of our research also includes assessments of daytime EEG patterns (ATLAS Neurophysiology System, Neuralynx).