Projects

There are a number of different projects ongoing at the INSPIRE lab. Take a look below for a sample of the different topics that are being explored!

Social Difficulties in ADHD: Cognitive Underpinnings

Julia Ryan & Dr. Maria Rogers

Individuals with ADHD symptoms commonly experience difficulties in forming and maintaining friendships, a phenomenon that is poorly understood and that currently has not been adequately addressed with medication or other therapeutic interventions. In this project, investigators aimed to explore whether individuals with ADHD symptoms have impaired dynamic cognitive abilities that may explain the social difficulties they experience. To do so, they used INSPIRE’s fully-equipped testing rooms to present participants with a cinematic film in a quiet setting, assessing their ability to identify meaningful social interactions. 

Working memory as a key to understanding the equivocal relation of motivation and academic performance

Alexandre Gareau & Dr. Patrick Gaudreau 

In an attempt to better understand motivational aspects of academic achievement, these researchers aimed to combine various social cognitive perspectives to produce a novel task. Using advanced programming methodology, this project measured both conscious and unconscious motivation, while simultaneously manipulating the effect of working memory. Findings from this project suggest that conscious and unconscious motivation interact to have an effect on academic achievement, but only when students are operating with higher levels of working memory. 

Antecedents and consequences of self-determined sexual motivation 

Emilie Eve Gravel & Dr. Elke Reissing & Dr. Luc Pelletier 

When in a committed relationship, it is common for people’s sexual well-being to vary from day to day. Why might this be? This question is being tackled by examining the quality of interactions between partners. Using the private cubicle set-up, these researchers administered a variety of questionnaires measuring sexual experience, sexual motivation, and global well-being.

Measuring Sexual Interest with Visual Measures

Marie-Andrée Légère & Dr. Martin Lalumière

Traditionally, conducting research on sexuality and sexual interests have employed methods of self-report and measurements of physiological responses. Although these methods can be extremely useful and are generally valid measures of sexual interest, they also come with limitations. Investigators heading this project are attempting to validate a new form of measurement that involves presenting sexual images unconsciously using a stereoscope, and measuring viewing time to images presented consciously on a computer screen to determine sexual preferences. This study aims to replicate one other study and validate this methodology as a valid approach to measuring sexuality and sexual interests.

Spatial Navigation and Metacognition

Chantal Lemieux & Dr. Charles Collin

Spatial navigation is a complex cognitive ability, and performance ability varies from person to person. In this project, investigators are interested in determining spatial navigation ability as well as participants’ own awareness of their ability. Participants make their way through several 3d virtual environments that test their spatial navigation ability, and are later asked questions to determine their level of awareness and judge their own ability.

Eye Movements during Detection of Configural and Featural Changes in Faces

Chantal Lemieux & Dr. Charles Collin 

When recognizing faces, people may use either featural elements, which are individual components of the face (e.g., shape or size of the eyes), or configural elements, which are the spatial relationships between features in the face. Either of these elements can be used to recognize or differentiate between faces, and this project aimed to determine which elements participants use for detecting whether a face changed or not depending on whether they are given information about the type of element that changed. To do so, participants were asked to determine if a face was the same or different, and their eye gaze was used to determine their detection strategies. Eye gaze was measured used an eye tracker, a sophisticated device that collects information about eye positions and eye movements.

Emotion Recognition and Emotion Coping Strategies

Laura Ziebell & Dr. Charles Collin

This study is intended to better understand if variability exists in an individual’s ability to recognize emotional faces, and whether or not this variability is linked to emotion coping strategies. During the study, participants view morphing images on a computer monitor and indicate whether or not they recognize the facial emotion presented. Participants are also asked to passively observe emotionally expressive facial images while their physiological changes are measured. Answers to questions about emotion coping strategies are then linked to emotion recognition accuracy and recorded physiological changes.

Impact of Microvolunteering on Self-Esteem and Well-Being

Andrea Dixon & Dr. Elizabeth Kristjansson

These researchers wanted to find out if microvolunteering, a new type of short, easy volunteering that can be done online and with little to no training, could increase people's self-esteem and sense of well-being. A group of students were asked to complete five minutes of microvolunteering per day for two weeks, and compared their scores with a group of students who did not do any microvolunteering. While the students enjoyed their microvolunteering activities, there was no change in their sense of self-esteem or well-being scores.

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