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About Us

The focus of the PAHA Lab is human psychophysiology and human adaptation. The lab's first study Cognition, Health and Computer Gaming is beginning in November 2009. This study will examine the influence that habitual computer game playing, such as World of Warcraft playing, may have on the body composition and "stress" response.

Lab Members:

  • Seamus Decker, Ph.D., Director
  • Jessica Aither, Undergraduate Junior, Research Assistant
  • Davenchy "Max" Erilus, Undergraduate Senior, Research Assistant
  • Jessica Gay, Post-Graduate, Research Assistant

In the PAHA Lab we use a Powerlab four-channel data acquisition system to measure human psychophysiological response during experimental problem solving or decision tasks. The Powerlab system can measure a variety of physiological functions while participants engage in tasks, including heart rate, respiration and skin conductance response. Check out the ADInstruments site for more information. 

Another tool that is central to our current research is the Go/No-go Association Task (GNAT).  The GNAT was developed by Brian Nosek and it is used to measure implicit social cognition.  The GNAT is similar to the Implicit Attitude Task (IAT) that is used in social scientific studies of unconscious bias like stereotyping or racism. Unlike the IAT the GNAT only requires a single target category.  Read more about the GNAT

Another key element in current PAHA Lab methodology are sound, image and word stimuli from the Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention (CSEA).  The CSEA resources we are using include: IAPS, ANEW, and IADS media databases.  These databases comprise hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures, words, and sounds whose psychophysiological characteristics have been extensively studied among North American populations.


E26 Machmer Hall
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
240 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003

Contact Us:

Phone #: (413) 545-3592