Lab Spotlights

All labs are considering recruiting Ph.D. students for the 2018 academic year.

Exceptional Psychology Master's applicants will also be considered. Please contact your intended advisor before applying.

Safety Management & Applied Research Team (S.M.A.R.T.)

Dr. Konstantin Cigularov (kcigular@odu.edu)

Employee health and safety are two of the most critical and yet overlooked aspects of the workplace. Dr. Cigularov and other members of S.M.A.R.T. aim to understand the role of leadership, culture, and training in promoting happier, healthier, and safer workplaces. We collaborate with researchers and industry partners from across United States, Europe, and Australia to answer questions like:

  • Why and how do organizational leadership and climate matter for employee motivation, safety, and health?
  • What makes leaders effective in different industries like construction and healthcare?
  • Are leadership training programs successful in improving workplace safety?
  • What determines successful training programs?
We are a hard-working team comprised of individuals each with their own unique research interests under the umbrella of occupational health psychology. Not only do we work together formally on projects, we also freely bounce ideas off each other and regularly see each other outside of school.

Workplace Affect and Relations Lab (WARLab)

Dr. Xiaoxiao Hu (x1hu@odu.edu)

Dr. Xiaoxiao Hu’s Workplace Affect and Relations Lab focuses on two broad research areas within Industrial/Organizational Psychology: 1) affect (i.e., emotions and moods) in the workplace and 2) relational dynamics (e.g., interpersonal perceptions and interactions) in organizations. The purpose of this lab is to understand employees’ subjective experience at work and investigate ways to build a more pleasant and harmonious workplace.

Current projects examine topics such as:

  • Workplace interventions designed to improve employees’ emotional experience and subsequent job attitudes and performance
  • Discrete positive emotions (e.g., gratitude, pride, interest) experienced at work
  • Management of emotional expressions (e.g., faking and suppressing emotional displays) in organizational settings
  • Employees' perceptions of how they are viewed by others (e.g., supervisors and coworkers), etc.
  • Employees' social relationships with others (e.g., leaders, peers, etc.) in the workplace

There are so many opportunities to build studies from the ground up-- affect is such an important (and sometimes overlooked) part of the workplace experience! I also like knowing that our research can help employees through focusing on positive emotions and bringing new insight into how to improve their social relationships.

Testing New Technologies in Learning, Assessment, and Behavior (TNTLAB)

Dr. Richard Landers (rnlanders@odu.edu)

The mission of TNTLAB is to understand how modern workplaces use technology to improve the experience of employees from two major perspectives: assessment and learning/performance.

On the assessment side, we investigate how new technologies, like social media and virtual reality, can be used to identify top talent. Projects have included using web technology to detect cheating, to predict stress responses with virtual reality experiences, to predict personality and job performance from Facebook activity, and to make assessment more fun for the assessee using videogames and gamification.

On the learning/performance side, we seek to understand how these same technologies can be used to help employees learn new skills and improve their work performance. We've gamified performance to make dull work a little more interesting and we've immersed learners in 3D virtual environments.

We get to study Internet technology in the workplace. It’s not going away, and we’re only going to start studying things tomorrow that are cooler than everything we study today (which includes video games, social media, mobile devices, and virtual reality for crying out loud!).

Career Development Laboratory (CDLab)

Dr. Debra Major (dmajor@odu.edu)

What does it mean to have a satisfying and successful career? What are the barriers to reaching career goals and, more importantly, how can they be overcome? These are the core questions driving research in the CDLab. Current projects investigate:

  • Professional Development – What makes some people proactively pursue development opportunities?
  • Managing Work and Family – How does effective leadership contribute to greater work-family balance?
  • Underrepresentation – Why are there so few women and ethnic minorities in the pipeline for STEM careers? What can be done to level the playing field?

We value collaboration and initiative in the CDLab. We work with members of other I/O labs, different departments on campus, and academic and industry partners. CDLab students are encouraged to stretch themselves and take on leadership roles.

You should expect to work hard...VERY hard! By the same token, you will see your efforts rewarded with numerous accomplishments...conference presentations, books chapters, peer-reviewed publications and NSF-funded research assistantships. Big investments yield big rewards; that’s the culture in the CDLab.

Work Attitudes and Social Influence Lab (WASILab)

Dr. Violet Xu (x3xu@odu.edu)

Dr. Xu's research lab focuses on two broad research areas: (1) work attitudes and (2) social influence. The mission of this lab is to clarify the nature, scope, and structure of work attitudes and social influence to make employees happier and more productive.

Current projects investigate topics such as:

  • To what extent job attitudes (e.g., organizational commitment) change over time, and what is the impact of the change on employee performance, turnover etc.
  • How network ties with others (coworkers, supervisors) influence employee attitudes and behaviors (counterproductive work behaviors, citizenship behaviors), and organizational climate?
  • How individual differences (e.g., Big Five) influence employee perceptions (e.g., job insecurity), attitudes and behaviors? Are some employees more susceptible to social influence than others?
WASI Lab is actively recruiting students for 2018! Please contact me for more information.