The Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory

The VCU Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab is dedicated to research on quality of attention as it operates in personal and interpersonal domains. A particular current focus is upon mindfulness, including its neurophysiological correlates and its psychological, behavioral, and physical health consequences. The laboratory also serves to teach, training undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars in the measurement and analysis of mindfulness and related modes of attention.

Prospective graduate students

Graduate students in the Laboratory pursue a range of topics in mindfulness and related phenomena (see People for a list of current graduate students in the lab and their research interests). Dr. Brown generally accepts one new graduate student each academic year or two to join the PhD program in Social Psychology or Health Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He DOES expect to accept a new student for Fall, 2017 entry. Qualities of successful applicants include eagerness to conduct high-quality research in mindfulness and related phenomena, a strong work ethic, and dedication to the research enterprise. Background in mindfulness is a plus, as is background in, or interest in learning, one or more of a variety of neuroscientific methods, including fMRI, EEG/ERP, and autonomic, hormonal, and immunological assessment.

For more information about graduate study as part of the VCU Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, please contact Dr. Brown.

Prospective students interested in attending graduate school in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University may find this resource useful:

Post-doctoral fellows

Post-doctoral fellows joining the Laboratory take full advantage of its resources, and those of the VCU Psychology Department. A variety of courses of relevance to the Laboratory’s work are available at VCU, including the biobehavioral bases of behavior, genetics, emotion, the self, neuroscience, and advanced statistics. VCU also offers an active network of researchers on positive psychology.

If you’d like to discuss the possibility of joining the Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow, please contact Professor Brown to arrange an interview: kwbrown at vcu dot edu.

Undergraduate research interns

Do you want to become a research intern or independent study student in the Laboratory? The success of this laboratory depends heavily upon the involvement of bright and motivated undergraduate students, and we welcome your interest in this research and teaching laboratory.

Our ongoing research projects all focus on mindfulness. These projects typically use multiple methods to tap neurophysiological (e.g., brain, autonomic, hormonal), behavioral, and subjective responses. Getting involved in these projects as a research intern or independent study student (Psyc 494 and Psyc 492, respectively) is an ideal way to see whether psychology is for you, and to develop the research skills that can help you gain admission to psychology graduate programs, medical school, or other professional training programs.

Past interns and independent study students in Dr. Brown’s lab have gone on to well-regarded graduate programs in Psychology, Education, Medicine, Neuroscience, and Business across the United States (see People for recent Laboratory alumni).

Each student is given opportunity to help conduct one or more of 3-4 different research projects, and is offered a variety of roles to choose from. Students can serve as experimenters in running study sessions, help with data manipulation using specialized physiological data software, and conduct video coding, computerized data entry, and pilot testing of new projects.

Dr. Brown typically accepts 20-30 interns and independent study students every semester; More information on these opportunities can be found here. To join the lab, please contact Professor Brown to arrange an interview: kwbrown at vcu dot edu.

Research volunteers

The Laboratory benefits greatly from the presence of research volunteers, and in turn, the Laboratory offers excellent opportunities to develop research skills in preparation for graduate or professional school. Volunteers in the Laboratory, whether undergraduates or college graduates, work closely with other members of the lab (including graduate students and Dr. Brown) on one or more of a variety of ongoing research projects. There is also opportunity to take the lead on conducting a research study in collaboration with Dr. Brown. These research positions are typically volunteer rather than paid, but arrangements can sometimes be made for paid research and clinical work.

Past volunteers in Dr. Brown’s lab have gone on to well-regarded graduate programs in Psychology and other fields (see People for recent Laboratory alumni).