Campus & Community

Psychology labs rely on community participants for the public good

Psychology faculty and students often work collaboratively with communities in Denver and across the state to conduct research on everything from health disparities and early childhood development to violence and its impact. For example, Assistant Professor Omar Gudino and the Services for At-Risk Youth & Families (SAYF) Lab are working across three Colorado counties to investigate the disparity between the unmet mental health needs of Latino and non-Hispanic white youths. Gudino serves as a member of a Colorado Department of Human Services workgroup designed to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services across multiple service agencies.

Another DU psychology professor, Sarah Watamura, has created a partnership between her Child Health and Development (ChaD) Lab and Clayton Early Learning, which led to a Head Start University Partner Grant. Watamura also collaborates with the Colorado State Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and recently was selected to evaluate the adverse childhood experiences data collected at the OEC’s initiation.

“Faculty and students doing psychology research in our department are focused on important scientific issues — ranging from understanding the effects of poverty on children’s development to access to mental health services,” says Anne DePrince, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology. “Much of our research depends on public participation to ensure that study findings are applicable in the real world.”

Many DU psychology labs currently need participants from the Denver area to help them with their groundbreaking work. The following research studies are seeking participants:

  • The Life Skills/Life Story project (part of Gudino’s SAYF Lab) is seeking teens ages 13–17 who have experienced trauma. Participants will be reimbursed for their time and transportation costs. For more information, contact Laura, the study coordinator, at 303-871-7452.
  • The Family and Child Neuroscience Lab is currently conducting two studies. The Study of Infant Neurodevelopment of Emotion (SHINE) project is seeking 12- to 14-month-old infants of first-time mothers. Families will be compensated, and childcare and transportation are available. The Infant Development, Emotion, and Attachment (IDEA) project is seeking first-time mothers who are currently pregnant. Participants will be compensated. If interested in either study, contact the Family and Child Neuroscience Lab at 303-871-3096 or
  • The Genes, Environment and Mood (GEM) lab is conducting a study on how adolescents think and remember. Researchers are seeking adolescents ages 13–22 to complete computer tasks and questionnaires that ask about thinking and remembering, mood and events in life. Participants will be compensated. Those interested should contact the GEM lab at 303-871-6828 or email before June 2016.
  • The Neurodevelopmental Research Program is looking for participants for its Early Experiences and Infant Development Study. The study explores how maternal psychological well-being and biological signals during the prenatal and postnatal periods influence infant development, emotion processing and attention regulation. The study seeks women over 18 years old with infants between the ages of 4 months and 18 months. During the visit, infants will complete an eye-tracking task where they view different faces on the computer screen and perform a series of infant development tasks. Visits will last about 1.5 hours at a lab on the University of Denver campus. Participants will be compensated $30 for their time. Interested women should contact Lily Berger at, or call 303-871-3797.
  • The psychology department is home to two clinics. Both the Clinic for Child and Family Psychology and the Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic are open to the public, with fees on a sliding scale based on economic background. The clinics are open to referrals of children and adolescents for the treatment of anxiety disorders including OCD, social anxiety, depression and post-traumatic reactions. The Clinic for Child and Family Psychology also offers behavior management groups for parents of children with ADHD and other problems like defiance, rule-breaking and fighting.



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