Observational Research Labs

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

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

Ashleigh Hillier runs a social event for autistic young adults.

Laboratory for Autistic and Related Neurodivergent Profiles, Ashleigh Hillier

The Laboratory for Autistic and Related Neurodivergent Profiles focuses on improving outcomes for autistic adults. Our research has examined the efficacy of mentoring programs for improving preparation to transition from high school to college (the Horizons program), as well as enhancing retention and success for college freshmen (the Horizons Plus program). Other research projects focus on employment, life skills, gender identity, and financial literacy.

Little boy smiling and holding up letter "A" with female speech therapist.

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, 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 autism. Students involved in the Language and Learning Lab gain hands-on experience working with children with autism 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 boy wearing headphones

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 autism and other developmental disabilities. The first area concerns the limited and impaired auditory learning skills often seen in children with autism. 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.