Skip to main content



Research comprises the core of our work in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology. At Rochester, psychology research covers four main areas:

  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Adolescence
  • Motivation

But our research often crosses disciplines and connects domains, and we maintain strong ties with biological and social disciplines across the University, including the Medical Center, the Warner School of Education, and the Mt. Hope Family Center, among others. As a result, our work is characterized by collaboration with faculty, researchers, and colleagues on campus and in the community. Undergraduate students also play active roles in departmental research, from research assistants to research study participants.

Locally and globally, our researchers are making discoveries that help lead to an improved understanding of how the world works in an effort to make the world ever better.

Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

Faculty and graduate students of the department are frequently in search of individuals with an interest in social sciences research. These positions vary with regard to requirements, duties and compensation.

Many positions are volunteer positions, and offer an excellent opportunity to participate in the field of psychology first-hand. They also offer valuable experience for those continuing their careers in a research field.

Positions are posted on the research assistant opportunities and university's job board pages.

Faculty Research Interest

Loisa BennettoProfessor Bennetto’s research focuses on the neurocognitive bases of autism spectrum disorder.  Her work examines the role of multisensory processing in social-communication difficulties and in everyday behaviors, including restricted food preferences.
Patrick DaviesProfessor Davies’ research interests include marital conflict, family discord, parental adjustment, child emotion regulation and coping with family stress, child psychosocial maladjustment, and competence.
Edward DeciProfessor Deci is interested in human motivation, particularly the nature and development of self-determination.
Andrew ElliotProfessor Elliot’s research focuses on approach and avoidance motivation, achievement motivation, social motivation, and well-being.
Marie-Joelle EstradaProfessor Estrada's research focuses on interpersonal relationships – specifically romantic relationship initiation and progression over time.
Catherine GlennProfessor Glenn’s research focuses on the development and prediction of suicidal and self-injurious behaviors.
Jeremy JamiesonProfessor Jamieson's research focuses on social stress and decision making, emotion regulation, and risk and uncertainty.
Christopher NiemiecProfessor Niemiec is interested in human motivation, emotion, and personality in social contexts. His research uses self-determination theory to examine the nature and functional significance of autonomy in a variety of life's domains.
Harry ReisProfessor Reis’ research interests involve social interaction and close relationships.
Ronald RoggeProfessor Rogge’s research focuses on understanding romantic relationships, from the early stages of dating to marriage.
Judith SmetanaProfessor Smetana’s research focuses on adolescent-parent relationships and development in cultural contexts; the development of young children’s moral and social knowledge; parent’s parenting beliefs and their relationships to parenting practices and child outcomes.
Lisa StarrProfessor Starr's research focuses on the origins and consequences of depression and anxiety in adolescents and adults. Particular emphases include understanding the interface between psychopathology and the social environment and delineating complex, reciprocal, and interactive relationships between interpersonal, cognitive, and biological risk factors and internalizing symptoms.
Melissa Sturge-AppleProfessor Sturge-Apple’s research interests include parenting, interparental conflict, and children’s socioemotional adjustment; ethological and family systems theories; psychophysiology; quantitative methods.
Sheree TothProfessor Toth is the Director of the Mount Hope Family Center. Her research interests are broadly focused in the field of developmental psychopathology.  She is especially interested in examining the effects of maltreatment and parent depression on child development, particularly in the domains of self development and representational capacities.  Dr. Toth is also committed to the evaluation of preventive interventions for high risk populations.
Miron ZuckermanProfessor Zuckerman works on topics related to psychology of religion, social cognition, nonverbal behavior, and data analysis.