The Personality and Well-Being lab is housed in the basement of the Psychology Building on the Michigan State University Campus. The main lab consists of one large room for meetings and group-based research studies. In addition, we have individual computer stations for administration of surveys and experimental stimuli. In addition to this main room, the Personality and Well-Being lab includes multiple rooms for individual, dyadic, or small-group-based interactions. These rooms are wired for multi-angle video and sound, which can be monitored from a central control room. Members of the lab also have access to additional shared resources, including sound-proof rooms and additional computer labs. Click here for more pictures of the space available in the Personality and Well-Being lab.
Personality researchers often focus on characteristics that are stable over time. However, these characteristics often result from underlying processes that have dynamic components that do change from moment to moment. Furthermore, subjective well-being researchers have, for decades, sought to understand the dynamics of emotion, mood, and even satisfaction judgments over time. Thus, methodologies that allow us to capture moment-to-moment changes are an important component of the work we do in the Personality and Well-Being lab. Researchers in the lab use a wide variety of experiencing sampling tools, including text-based surveys from Qualtrics, to proprietary programs created to flexibly administer experience sampling and day reconstruction method surveys. Students in the lab have many resources available to conduct this type of study.
Although collecting primary data is an important part of the training program at Michigan State University, we also encourage students to gain exposure to alternative research techniques, including the analysis of existing data. Our lab published one of the first major publications in psychology that uses one of the world's largest and most important panel studies, the German Socio Economic Panel Study (GSOEP). Since that time, psychologists have become an increasingly important user group for studies like the GSOEP. In the Personality and Well-Being lab, students gain experience using a wide variety of secondary sources of data. The use of these datasets can help address concerns about psychology's reliance on student samples, while allowing researchers to answer "big questions" that are difficult to answer with the resources available to any one lab.
Students at Michigan State University have access to a wide range of resources for statistical training. In addition to core courses in statistics and methodology, MSU offers a concentration in Quantitative Methodology and Evaluation Science. This concentration involves extra coursework and a student development project related to the student's interests. Students in the lab are also are encouraged to participate in the College of Social Sciences' Social Science Data Analytics Initiative. This newly created initiative provides additional resources for connecting researchers interested in a wide variety of computationally intensive statistical methods. Students in the Personality and Well-Being lab can also receive funding to attend specialized statistical workshops outside of MSU. Training in advanced quantative methods is essential both for the primary research we conduct, and for broader issues about replicability and research practices in the field, and thus, it is highly emphasized at MSU.