Ongoing Faculty Research

The psychology faculty at Stonehill College are actively engaged in research aimed to better understand human thoughts and behavior.

Erin O’Hea

Professor O’Hea is presently principal investigator of a grant, funded by the National Cancer Institute, that is looking at cancer survivorship planning and quality of life in women ending treatment for breast cancer. Students have opportunities to work at UMASS Medical School on this project (e.g., recruiting patients, enrolling patients) and assist on Stonehill’s campus with other research-related tasks (e.g., literature reviews, data analyses, publication writing). In addition to this ongoing project, Professor O’Hea intends to conduct studies examining a group intervention for food addiction in her laboratory at Stonehill. Students would have opportunities to assist with all areas of these on-campus projects, including study design, recruitment of participants, running of participants and disseminating findings through conference presentations or publications.

Bonnie Klentz

Professor Klentz’s interests in group decision making and the application of psychology to legal settings has led her to conduct research on jury decision making. Because of the four-camera, multiple-audio-track recording capabilities in the Psychology department research space, she is able to record mock juries deliberating to decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant. She is interested in examining how jurors discuss different types of evidence and the extent to which extralegal factors may influence decisions.

Students may be involved in designing the study, including preparing a “case” for the mock trial, running participants and observing deliberations, coding and analyzing data, preparing manuscripts for publication, and/or presenting the research at conferences. She conducts additional research projects examining group members’ ability to determine if their group has made a good decision (group metacognition). 

During the 2017–2018 academic year, one or two new students are welcome to join the research team. This year, we are completing a study already in progress and starting the design of a new project. You can stop by Prof. Klentz’s office to chat about research opportunities.

John McCoy

Professor McCoy’s research is in collaboration with a research team at the Laboratory of Neuroscience at West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Hospital and affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The laboratory conducts preclinical basic research focusing on a number of key questions related to sleep and wakefulness, such as:

  1. How does the brain wake us up, put us to sleep and switch between different states of sleep?  
  2. Which brain mechanisms make us sleepy when we stay awake for prolonged periods? 
  3. Can we develop animal models of human sleep disorders or disruption? 
  4. What molecular, cellular and neurobehavioral changes are associated with sleep loss/disruption? 

Research internships in the laboratory are available to students on a competitive basis.

Jennifer Cooper

Professor Cooper welcomes students interested in researching educational applications of cognitive psychology. Her work focuses on conceptual development, learning and problem solving, and has two main lines of research: a) the development of statistical literacy and b) the effects of different types of visual representations (e.g., diagrams, graphs and illustrations) on children’s and adults’ learning and problem solving in math and statistics. In both of these topics, Prof. Cooper’s research considers how individuals’ problem solving may relate to their interests, attitudes and abilities.

Rebecca Babcock Fenerci

Professor Fenerci welcomes students who are interested in collaborating to conduct research in her Supporting the InterGenerational Healing from Trauma (SIGHT) Laboratory at Stonehill. During the 2017–2018 academic year, the SIGHT Lab is conducting a research study investigating how experiences of childhood adversity may influence relationship expectations and emerging parenting attitudes among undergraduate students.

Student researchers will have opportunities to become involved at every level of the research process, including recruitment and running of participants, data analysis, and manuscript writing and scholarly presentation of findings. In the summer of 2018, the SIGHT Lab plans to launch recruitment for a community-based study with parents and their school-age children to examine factors that may increase risk or protect against the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Student researchers will have opportunities to contribute to the study’s design and receive training in multiple methodologies (cognitive experiments, parent-child behavioral observation, child attachment paradigms), in addition to other research tasks.  

Research Experience in the Psychology Department

Year (typically)



First year, Sophomore

PSY110 Psychological Science (permission of instructor required)

Designed for first-year students; early exposure to the research process; small group experience and getting to know a member of the Psychology faculty; 1 credit

Sophomore, Junior

PSY271 Research Methods in Psychology

Complete a research project designed with instructor supervision. Required for all Psychology majors; fulfills the Writing in the Discipline requirement

Junior/Senior – may accept first year or sophomore depending upon interests

PSY341 Research in Social Psychology (Professor Klentz or Capezza)


PSY342 Research in Developmental Psychology (Professor Craton or Poirier)


PSY344 Research in Educational Psychology (Professor Poirier)


PSY347 Research in Health Psychology (Professor O’Hea)


Small research team collaborates with faculty member on research project. Permission of instructor required; PSY271 is a prerequisite; offered occasionally; 3-credit course; student may repeat the course


PSY490 Directed Study

PSY496 Independent Research

Enroll in 1–3 credits; student approaches a faculty member in the Psychology department; may repeat


PSY441/442 Advanced Research Externship I and II

(Professor O’Hea)

Research conducted off campus in a lab with federally funded NIH grant (e.g., Brown University, UMass Medical School) approx. 10–12 hours/week; expected to enroll for both Fall and Spring semesters; PSY261 and PSY271 are prerequisites


PSY475 Internship in Applied Psychology (Director of Internships)

Typically a one-semester, off-campus research experience; PSY261 and PSY271 are prerequisites; summer internship might be possible


Intern Abroad


Some students have engaged in research at their international internship site; all sites are coordinated through the International Programs Office

Summer after Junior year; possibly after Sophomore year

Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

Forty hours per week for 8 or 10 weeks during the summer; includes stipend; approach faculty member if he/she is applying; Psychology majors can complete SURE program with faculty in other departments; competitive program selection process by campus SURE committee


PSY497 Senior Thesis

Student designs his/her own study under the supervision of a faculty member; study requires Stonehill IRB approval; typically 3 credits