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Research Facilities

Observational Research labs
The Department of Psychology at UMass Lowell has two labs which can be used for collecting observational data. These labs include one-way mirrors, and sound and video recording capabilities.

Laboratory for Children and Families, Doreen Arcus
The Laboratory Children and Families investigates the development of children and youth with respect to the ways that individual differences in abilities or temperament interact with social contexts such as family and school. We are particularly interested in children and youth with autism spectrum disorders or who are neurotypical but display aspects of autism; attitudes towards, and experiences of, foster and adoptive families; transitions across systems; and implicit bias, disability, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Assoc. Prof. Ashleigh Hillier runs a monthly social event for high-functioning young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Ashleigh Hillier runs a monthly social event for high-functioning young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Laboratory for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Ashleigh Hillier
The Laboratory for Autism Spectrum Disorders focuses on two main avenues of research involving adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum. The first avenue seeks to further our understanding of the processing of emotional stimuli among those with ASD by examining physiological responses and memory for emotion provoking stimuli. The lab's second main research avenue focuses on evaluating various intervention programs for those with ASD. Currently this is focused on programs for UMass Lowell students who have autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities including a mentoring program and a support group run in collaboration with Student Disability Services. Additional studies include an investigation of health care experiences among those with ASD, sexuality and gender identity among those with ASD, and attitudes of college students towards those with ASD.

Little boy smiling and holding up letter

Language and Learning Lab, Rocio Rosales
The Language and Learning Lab focuses on several avenues of research related to the application of behavior analysis. One primary focus is the empirical evaluation of effective and efficient teaching procedures based on Skinner’s Verbal Behavior to establish verbal repertoires of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including those learning a second language. Current projects also include evaluation of computer-based teaching strategies to help undergraduate students learn how to implement interventions with special needs populations; and evaluation of cultural barriers that may impact access to service delivery for families that have a child with ASD. Students involved in the Language and Learning Lab gain hands-on experience working with children with ASD via their involvement running a socialization group at a community center in downtown Lowell. This program provides an indispensable service to families in the Lowell community.

Young girl turning away from camera and covering her ears.

The Laboratory for Behavior Analysis Research, Richard Serna
The Laboratory for Behavior Analysis Research focuses on both basic and applied research issues relevant to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. The first area concerns the limited and impaired auditory learning skills often seen in children with an ASD. Research in this area investigates auditory discrimination in the autism population from both behavioral and psychophysiological (EEG) perspectives. The second area concerns how children with intellectual disabilities can acquire an understanding of symbols and their referents (stimulus equivalence). The third area concerns training for parents and paraprofessionals on the sound implementation of treatment methods for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Research involves evaluating online distance-learning education programs that may offer a potential solution to the problem.