The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Current Projects

Teens and Instagram Study

The lab is conducting a study on how teenagers use Instagram. They are currently recruiting teenagers from the community who are between 13 and 15 years old, and who have an active Instagram account. The Blackberry Project is providing $50 compensation per family for participating.

Participation requirements:

  • Teens and a parent must attend a 75 minute session at UT Dallas
  • Teens must be between 13-15 years old and speak English
  • Teens will complete surveys on their social media use, personality, body image, and well-being
  • Teens will browse a few posts from their Instagram account using an eye-tracker
  • Teens must have an active Instagram account, have no history of epilepsy or proneness to seizures, have no medical device susceptible to infrared light, not wear heavy glasses or contact lenses, or be diagnosed with any of the following conditions: cataracts, amblyopia, strabismus, mydriadsis, or nystagmus

If you are interested, please email Kaitlyn Burnell at [email protected], or fill out this form to be contacted by the lab.

Instagram Study

BlackBerry Project & Facebook Project

The BlackBerry Project and Facebook Project are part of a large, longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This study investigates the developmental origins of aggressive behavior: biological, family, personality, peer group, and school factors. This research also examines developmental outcomes associated with engaging in and being the victim of social and physical aggression. The overall aim of this research program is clarify to developmental precursors of adolescent psychopathology for both girls and boys, with the long-term goal of developing prevention efforts not only for social and physical aggression, but also for internalizing problems, personality disorders, and eating disorders.

Another goal of these studies is to explore how youth use electronic communication (texting, private messaging, and public messaging) in their peer relationships. Given the large amount of time youth spend engaged in online communication, it is important to study how these forms of communication relate to adjustment. Direct observation of adolescents’ text messages allows for the unobtrusive study of natural communication.

Girls at computer

Eye-Tracking Studies

We use a Tobii eye-tracker to study participants’ visual attention to visual stimuli including social media content on Facebook and videos of people interacting. The eye-tracking studies are conducted to better understand how visual attention is related to beliefs and behavior.

Get Involved in Research

Research Assistants

We are always looking for talented and motivated undergraduate students to become Research Assistants. Undergraduate research assistants ensure our research projects’ success by performing a variety of tasks under the supervision of graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers. RAs learn about the ethical conduct of research and gain hands-on experience with multiple aspects of the research process.

Lab tasks may include:

  • Coding text message transcripts for content
  • Running eye-tracking participants through study protocol
  • Organizing and cleaning data
  • Preparing materials for data collection

Experienced RAs may have the chance to analyze data and present their own research.

Download the Research Assistant Application.

Lavanya and Denzel