Here at ARU, psychology students and researchers are based in our £45m Science Centre in the heart of Cambridge.
Opened in 2018, the Science Centre features dedicated labs for EEG, perception, biomarker analysis, neuroscience and more. Take a look.
Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings are made using a 64-channel active electrode EEG setup. Recordings measure the electrical activity along the scalp and are performed in a shielded chamber that reduces acoustic and electrical interference. The lab is equipped with visual and acoustic stimulation systems that can be controlled through a variety of programmes such as E-Prime and Matlab. Processing of this data is conducted through a variety of commercial software packages: BESA and Brain Vision Analyzer. The EEG lab hosts a variety of research projects that focus on the brain mechanisms involved in face perception, driving performance, attention and inhibition.
We have a variety of specialist equipment enabling us to examine how the body responds to a variety of stimuli or tasks. For example, our PowerLab devices are used to measure a wide range of physical attributes such as emotional and physiological arousal. Using the PowerLab and available transducers you can measure arousal from a range of autonomic responses such as: GSR, EMG, EEG, respiration rate, skin temperature, and pulse rate. In addition, we have a portable device, called a Nexus, which allows us to record some of these responses during real-world tasks outside of the laboratory.
The Perception Lab is home to our brand new Tobii Pro 300TX eyetracker, which provides precise information about where a participant is looking and their pupil dilation. Such insight into visual attention is of interest to a diverse range of psychologists from consumer psychologists to traffic psychologists and, as such, is a popular method of research. As well as our static eye tracker, we have a selection of other portable and wearable eye trackers.
The Neuroscience Lab contains a range of equipment used for stimulating the brain and measuring brain activity. The tDCS and TMS machines deliver electrical and magnetic stimulation, respectively, to the brain. Combined with behavioural and cognitive testing, this allows us to see if specific areas of the brain are associated with certain function. This lab also houses our brand new fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) machine, which allows for the measurement of neural activity via blood flow in the brain.
The Biomarker Analysis Lab is a customised facility that allows students and researchers to analyse various biomarkers in saliva and hair samples. Saliva can be analysed for a range of hormones and enzymes such as cortisol, testosterone and α-Amylase. Hair samples can be analysed for cortisol and testosterone, providing more long-term, retrospective measurement.
The Human Factors lab is the place to investigate everyday psychology using virtual reality and simulation techniques. This lab houses a driving simulator with which to study various aspects of driving competence and safety and factors that influence this.
The Social Behaviour lab is much the same as our generic testing cubicles, but it features a discrete CCTV monitoring system with which to covertly view your participant’s behaviour in controlled experimental settings.
The Body Lab contains a range of equipment that can be used to study bodily reactions to stimuli and aspects of bodily awareness such as interoception. Using one of our brand new PowerLabs, you can measure a range of parameters including galvanic skin response, heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, breathing – and you can even administer controlled electric shocks if you have the necessary ethical approval! This lab is also home to our Oculus Rift VR headset, which can be used to disrupt the integration of visual and tactile information, prompting something like an out-of-body experience!
The Development Lab is a controlled environment in which to manipulate and observe the behaviour of children. Psychometric tests that use toys as a way of assessing children’s behaviour are perfect for this quiet environment.
With a capacity of up to ten people, the Psychometrics Lab is the ideal space for mass-testing of participants using appropriate psychometric tests. This lab is also used for the delivery of Qualtrics workshops where you can learn all about administering psychometric tests online.