The Clinical Psychology and Psychophysiology Research Lab, directed by Dr Georgia Panayiotou, is part of the Department of Psychology and is housed in the New Wing of the central campus. The lab space is shared with the lab activities of Dr George Spanoudis and it houses both the independent research projects of Dr Panayiotou and collaborative research efforts with Dr Maria Karekla and other department faculty. The main interest of our lab is EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY, i.e. the use of experimental methods to examine the etiological and sustaining cognitive and emotional mechanisms behind psychological disorders. In terms of disorders, we are interested in a wide range of problems, including anxiety, depression, aggression, impulsivity and smoking. Some of the research projects being conducted represent the doctoral dissertations or masters theses of Department of Psychology students, under the supervision of Dr Panayiotou. Others are projects funded by various funding agencies.
The Clinical Psychology and Psychophysiology Research Lab houses equipment for human psychophysiology research and has access to Virtual Reality equipment. Currently, studies using peripheral psychophysiology measures, such as the startle reflect, heart rate, galvanic skin response, facial EMG etc are being conducted, while in the near future we hope to include central psychophysiological indices such as evoked potentials.
Physiological measures used in this lab are meant as indices of psychological processes, particularly of emotion and attention, rather than as measures of bodily or brain correlates of behaviour. Therefore, the focus and interest of our studies is clearly psychological.
Collaborators to some of our projects include researchers from the MD Anderson Cancer Centre at the University of Texas, the University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University and other major research centres.
Currently the following research projects are in progress.
- Epidemiology of Anxiety Disorders in Cyprus and Examination of Differences in Affective and Cognitive Responses to Phobic Stimuli between Anxiety Disorders. This study attempts to understand differences in affective reactivity among disorders than may inform treatment. (with Dr Karekla)
- Physiological Responses of High and Low risk Drivers to Affective Situations This study attempts to understand the way drivers process everyday affective situations and if differences in reactivity may be associated with differences in driving behavior between high and low risk drivers.
- Smoking Urges under Stress. This study examines whether smokers use smoking as a way to combat stress, in relation to their level of addition. (with Dr Karekla)
- Psychophysiological Responses of School Bullies and Victims. The study examines school aggression looking for psychophysiological correlates that will help explain the type of aggression in which different participants in bully/victim situations engage.
- Standardization of achievement measures and other cognitive and behavioral tests for children with learning and behavioral difficulties. As part of the study the WIAT-III and several rating scales for children will be adapted for use in Cyprus as diagnostic tools.