Center for the Study of Ethical Development (PI: Steve Thoma)
The Center for the Study of Ethical Development (http://ethicaldevelopment.ua.edu) has two primary goals: furthering research in ethical development and supporting psychological measures that have been developed by Center affiliates. To that end, the Center solicits contracts for the use of the measures including scoring and the interpretation of results. In addition, the Center supports research in the field by attracting international scholars, funding small research grants, and providing aid to graduate students who come to Alabama with an expressed interest in ethical development. In addition to these traditional roles, it is our intent to use the Center as a catalyst for research in ethical development on campus. The Center has already committed to a fellows initiative that provides funds for faculty interested in the ethical dimension of their respective fields. Additionally we hope to use these small grants to stimulate external funding. Finally we wish to develop two new initiatives in the areas of neuropsychology of moral thinking and citizenship education. Currently the Center supports two studies exploring neuropsychological correlates of moral reasoning. We fully expect this focus to grow as the departmental focus on educational neuroscience expands. Regarding citizenship education we note recent theoretical work that highlights the connection between ethical development and citizenship. The Center would like to explore this link more directly using the measurements it currently supports.
ELDEN (Embodied Learning Design and Educational Neuroscience) Lab (PI: Firat Soylu)
The Embodied Learning Design and Educational Neuroscience (ELDEN) research group (http://elden.ua.edu) focuses on behavioral, neuroimaging, and design-based investigations on learning and cognition in STEM domains. Our goal is to provide mechanistic, multi-level (e.g., neural, cognitive, socio-cultural) explanations for how learning occurs in STEM domains through both lab and classroom studies, to formulate learning-design heuristics from an embodied perspective, and to design computational tools for learning. ELDEN group is part of a new educational neuroscience initiative in the College of Education, at the University of Alabama.
ECS (Education & Cognitive Science Lab) Lab (PI: Dr. Lisa Hsin)
As cognitive scientist dedicated to applied research, Dr. Hsin studies the linguistic, cognitive, and social development of children from various sociocultural backgrounds, and how that development shapes and is shaped by their school-based learning. Drawing on the methods and insights of the fields of developmental psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience, she carries out her research both in her laboratory, the Education & Cognitive Science (ECS) Lab (http://ecs.ua.edu), and in schools around the country, working with students, teachers, and administrators, to develop studies that respond to genuine educational needs, while also addressing basic issues of learning and cognition. Her work specifically investigates interactions between cognitive abilities and information processing, learned social and academic skills especially around literacy, students’ perceptions of pedagogical practices, and the civic charges that shape contemporary curricula. To this end she uses a variety of methodologies, such as structural priming, linguistic and qualitative analysis, intermodal preferential looking, and eye-tracking, in order to study human phenomena from an interdisciplinary perspective. Much of Dr. Hsin’s research highlights issues arising in the linguistic and cognitive/sociocognitive development of bilingual children, from preschool through middle school, seeking to understand and foster mutually supportive language and social skill development in that diverse population of children.
NMPVR (Neuromodulation Processes and Virtual Reality) Lab (PI: Rick Houser)
The Neuromodulation, Processes and Virtual Reality (NMPVR) Research group focuses on the impact of neuromodulation, low current brain stimulation, on cognitive enhancement (math enhancement) and rehabilitation (improving social skill development and decision-making for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders). We also study neural processes such as cognitive and ethical decision-making in various environments (e.g. high threat environments such as law enforcement decision-making). Lastly we study the use of virtual reality in understanding neural processes and the impact of neuromodulation combined with virtual reality on cognitive processes.
SEED (Social, Emotional and Educational Neuroscience) Lab (PI: Dr. Hyemin Han)
Dr. Hyemin Han is Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology and Educational Neuroscience at the University of Alabama. As an interdisciplinary research interested in the improvement of education, Dr. Han conducts research projects in Social, Emotional, and EDucational (SEED) Neuroscience. His research interests include neuroscience of morality, socio-moral development, growth mindset, educational intervention, computational simulation, and professional ethics education. He uses multidisciplinary research methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), deep learning, longitudinal analysis, meta-analysis, and psychological intervention methods, examining the mechanisms of human social, affective, and motivational processes.