Psychology Laboratory Guidelines

Psychology Laboratory Guidelines

Psychology Laboratory Guidelines

Assistant Lab Coordinator - Austin Kobylinski,

  1. Preface
  2. Expectations
  3. Communicating and Working with Participants
  4. All Lab Attendants
  5. Scheduling
  6. Computer Usage and Software
  7. Printing
  8. Supplies
  9. Shared Drive
  10. Contact List



Eleven years ago, the Psychology laboratory was a four-room trailer and after that it was located in Lawrence Hall. Today, the Psychology laboratory is located in Turnbull Hall and contains eleven individual labs, 20-30 computers with state-of-the-art software, fourteen faculty, and over two dozen students actively engaged in research each semester. Coming this far has been quite an accomplishment for our department. Over the years, the Psychology Laboratories have evolved into a facility with two primary tasks. First, they introduce psychology students to a setting of scientific research, which prepares them for work upon completion of their education here at Penn State-Behrend, whether it is graduate school or a position in the work force. Second, it allows students to design, conduct, and to participate in faculty research as well as to design and carry out their own studies with faculty supervision.

As a laboratory attendant, you will have numerous responsibilities. For some attendants and many student participants, this will be their first time in a setting such as this and therefore we must work to maintain an interpersonal environment of continuity and cohesion. Working together in a professional and friendly manner is and always will be integral, to a successful research environment and each and every one of you will be expected to demonstrate this attitude. Your primary duties will include keeping the lab secure and in operating order, answering student questions, and maintaining a professional atmosphere.

The availability of the psychology lab for student use is a privilege and should be treated as such. Students are expected to obey all rules and carry out their responsibilities promptly and in good humor. This will allow the lab to operate smoothly and continue to benefit both faculty and students.


The Psychology laboratories are designed to conduct scientific research and the environment should facilitate this. As an attendant, you must work to demonstrate a professional attitude that will help maintain a supportive atmosphere.

Each attendant is responsible for their own behavior and performance, for understanding what is expected of them, and for meeting those expectations. Faculty and staff members in the psychology department are glad to help attendants develop their personal skills, but it is their responsibility to seek out that guidance.

Professionalism is expected from all lab attendants. The concept of professionalism encompasses things such as the use of appropriate language and proper dress, being prompt for scheduled hours, polite and courteous treatment of research participants, and the maintenance of a positive and helpful attitude.

Our work and research environment should be free from sexual, racial, religious, ethnic and other forms of harassment. Harassment of or by attendants, student participants, or staff is not tolerated. Attendants who feel that they may be victims of harassment should seek assistance from faculty or the assistant coordinator. All reported or suspected occurrences of harassment will be investigated.

All lab attendants will sign a Psychology Laboratory contract with their supervisor and return a copy to the assistant lab coordinator. The attendance policy is as follows: You as a lab attendant are responsible for coming to your scheduled lab hours. If you cannot make your scheduled hours due to illness or an emergency, you must notify the assistant lab coordinator ASAP. If you do not show up for your scheduled hours and do not notify the assistant lab coordinator with a valid excuse, there will be consequences. For the first offense, your faculty supervisor will be notified in writing. In the event of a second offense, if you are a work study student you be asked to find work elsewhere, if you are an independent study student you will drop at least a full letter grade.

Absences: Necessary absences should be planned in advance with the assistant lab coordinator. If you suddenly fall ill or an emergency arises, please call the lab as soon as possible. Attendants are urged to give as much notice as possible when a shift is going to be missed. As an attendant you are required to find a replacement for your shift, but the assistant coordinator should be notified. If you fail to find a replacement for your scheduled hour(s) your absence will be reported to your faculty supervisor. Please make every effort to work your scheduled hour(s), and find a replacement when necessary. Correct protocol includes notifying the assistant lab coordinator that you will be absent and emailing the lab attendants list asking someone to cover your shift. The assistant lab coordinator should then be notified that a replacement has been found. Failure to complete these procedures will result in consequences as detailed in the lab contract that you have signed.

Good communication is extremely important for the successful operation of the Psychology Laboratory, and the most reliable form of communication is email. As a lab attendant, you will be able to access the Psychology Lab Canvas site and email from there. Therefore, it is very important that all attendants check their email regularly, especially at the start of their shift. This will be the best way to keep in touch with any changes or important notices concerning the Psychology Laboratory. Regular Canvas (email) checks will be done by the assistant laboratory coordinator. If too many emails from the assistant laboratory coordinator are not responded to in a timely manner, your supervisor will be notified for failure to fulfill duties.

As an independent study student, you may be permitted to use the lab after hours as indicated by your supervisors. Along with this privilege comes the added responsibility of locking up the lab. You should be extra careful to insure that the lab is secure when you leave. Check to make sure that all of the procedures for closing have been completed. If you let someone else in the lab while you are there after hours, you are responsible for that person and must be sure that they leave when you do.

Communicating and Working with Participants

Lab attendants are required to assist all students that come to the Psychology Lab.

As a lab attendant, one of the most important duties you have is greeting and assisting students with any questions that they might have. There are several important points to be aware of:

  1. It is your job to greet all people as they enter the lab, as well as assess whether they need help.
  2. Participants who come to the Psychology Lab should be treated with respect, and as a priority. If these participants have questions about anything, you must do your best to answer them (the training provided by the lab coordinator will cover most, if not all, of the answers to these questions). If there is a report of a participant who did not receive help, you will be warned and/or your employment as lab attendant will be terminated.
  3. If you are unable to assist someone, find someone in the lab who can. If there is no one to assist you, take a detailed account of the question(s) and the name, email, and phone number of the student, then email it to the assistant lab coordinator.

All Lab Attendants

The computer in the reception/waiting area will be designated as the lab attendant station. This area allows the attendant to oversee any individual who is either entering or leaving the lab. The attendant is to spend the majority of his/her shifts in this area to supervise operations. You are not to leave your station, but if you must, please use the appropriate lab attendant signs hanging from the desk (Lab attendant on duty, no lab attendant on duty, lab attendant will be right back). Please complete any assigned lab work first.

It is your responsibility to keep the lab in operating order and to supervise all ongoing activity. When a student asks you a question that you cannot answer, please ask someone who might be able to help the student instead of guessing or making something up that may cause that student more harm than good. Local telephone calls may be made from the laboratories assuming that the frequency of calls will not affect your work.

Under no circumstances are the attendants to leave the lab when there is still a student working in it even it that say they will lock up. Should the situation arise where the student has been given permission by the supervising faculty member to stay beyond the regular lab hours, you should check with that faculty member to clear yourself from responsibility.

Clean up any mess from the previous day/night so that the lab looks presentable. This includes papers and things that may have been left by the printer.

Check to see if there is printer paper. If you see that the printer paper is on its last pack, please notify the assistant lab coordinator, so that he/she can get the paper. Make sure that you give your notice in advance so that there is enough time to get it.

Signing In

When you arrive for you shift, you must “sign-in”. You do this by writing your name and the time signed in and out on the sign in page of the psychology lab book.


There are keys for all of the labs and cabinets. These keys are only to be used by those who sign them out with the lab attendant who should use the sign out sheet located next to the key box on the wall.


Room Scheduling

Rooms may be reserved by students and faculty by first emailing the assistant coordinator (Austin Kobylinski at Once the student coordinator has determined the lab space available, a confirmation will be sent out and the scheduled timeslot will be marked on the lab door’s calendar and in the psychology lab binder. Conflicts in room scheduling should be resolved through the same hierarchy that is used to determine computer use. If an individual is occupying a room that is reserved, it is your responsibility to politely ask them to leave and explain why. However, it may be reserved for research purposes after hours and on weekends with the approval of the faculty supervisor.

Participant Scheduling

Student participants can sign up for studies any time through the SONA participation pool system ( If a participant calls to cancel, you must register them in the cancelation log and notify the appropriate experimenter. In the event of a cancelation, the following data should be obtained from the participant:

  1. Name, class section, professor
  2. Time and day of call
  3. Name, time, and date of experiment
  4. Participants telephone number
  5. Experimenter(s) that they were scheduled to see

Once again, it is very important that a cancellation be recorded properly and thoroughly so that the experimenter can reopen that time slot and/or attend to other duties. Also, upon opening the lab, if you should retrieve a message from voice mail that is not complete, you should try to contact the participant to gather the rest of the information.

Most of the participants come from students who are enrolled in Introductory Psychology (PSYCH 100). This class has a research/experiment requirement that makes it necessary for each and every student to complete six (6) credit hours of research/experiment. This research component makes it convenient for both faculty and students by creating a pool of students who are willing to participate in research. All matters concerning the RPP should be addressed to the assistant lab coordinator, Austin Kobylinski; email: .

A list of PSYCH 100 student names will be kept on the Research Participation Pool web site. This list will indicate what experiments the students have participated in, and when they participated. You should familiarize yourself with this site and with the Research Pool guidelines so that you can help student participants find out what else will be required of them. Any problems that the participants may have should be directed to the assistant lab coordinator for resolution.

When PSYCH 100 students show up for an experiment, be polite and friendly and instruct them to wait until the experimenter directs them to the proper room. If the experimenter fails to show, take the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of the students that showed up. On the same paper, write the name of the experiment and who the experimenters are. Tell the students that they will receive ½ credit for showing up and encourage them to sign up for the experiment again. 

Computer Use and Software

Computer Usage

There is a hierarchy of computer use that must be followed in order to achieve maximum operating efficiency. The order is as follows:

  1. Faculty
  2. Psychology Lab Assistant Coordinator/ Participant Pool Intern
  3. Work study and Independent study students conducting research
  4. Advanced Research Methods (PSYCH 406W)
  5. Basic Research Methods (PSY 301W)
  6. Other Psychology students

Please remember that nobody is permitted to eat or drink at the computers. If someone is doing so, please kindly remind them that it is forbidden. Be careful not to bump or jar computers or any of their accessories.

If problems with the computers arise, you should take careful notice of the problem and record it on the problem log designated for that computer. Be sure to record what the problem was and what application(s) was in use when the problem occurred. At no time should lab attendants try to correct a computer problem by shutting off the power or pulling plugs. If you cannot fix a problem, ask someone for help or contact the assistant laboratory coordinators.

At any given time, there are usually a large amount of students working in the lab. Please keep any noise to a respectful level whether on duty or not. If you wish to listen to music or use a program that utilizes sound, head phones MUST be worn at all times.

The computers in this laboratory are our most valuable asset, and they must be treated as such. Most of the questions that you will be asked will deal with the computers and their software. Because there are so many packages available for use in the lab, you will not be required to master all of them but you should have some idea how to move about within them. If you have little or no experience with computers, you should take some of the basic seminars that the computer centers offer. These are free of charge and will provide you with knowledge on programs such as Windows, Word, and using the Internet. Also, if you have not accessed your email account yet, you are required to do so immediately so that inter-laboratory communication can be achieved by all faculty and students involved in lab affairs.

The software that you must be familiar with is as follows:

  • Windows. This is the operating system that the computers in the Psychology Laboratory use. The function of this system is to manage the software on the computer, and to present this software in an accessible format using icons. Most of the software on the psychology laboratory computers can be activated by simply double-clicking on their respective icon on the bottom of the screen with the left mouse button. Any remaining programs can be accessed by using the start button and selecting the proper program.
  • Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft Office Suite is the most popular software package used in the lab. It includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is also available from the lab. Basic photo editing can be completed with Adobe Photoshop.
  • SPSS. This is a statistical package used for data analysis and research. It is found in the Programs Menu under Humanities Programs. It is located in the IBM SPSS Statistics 20 folder. Please familiarize yourself with this program because you will be asked many questions about them by students using the lab.
  • Webmail. Webmail is an internet-based email system that will let you get your email from home or anywhere there is a computer with an internet connection. It is accessed at in any internet browser.
  • Internet Browsers. The internet browser that is most popularly used is Windows Internet Explorer. There is also an alternative internet browser available on the computers, which is called Firefox.
  • OPTI-UPS and PK Blackout Buster. One of these two types of units accompanies each computer in the Psychology Laboratory. They function as a reserve power sources and a buffer against electrical surges. In order to function properly these units should be left on at all times, even when the computer is powered off. Therefore, computers should not be turned off at the power strip but instead turned off at the monitor, tower, and speakers. If the power goes off they will beep alerting the user that they are working on battery power. If the power does not come on after a few minutes save your files and shut down the computer normally to avoid damaging software or hardware. Notify maintenance at #6360 if the power goes off and the breakers need to be reset.

Notes on Internet Use

When using the Internet you are not allowed to download any programs, games, or pictures without the permission of a faculty member. Many of these programs contain viruses that will damage the computers. You are absolutely forbidden to visit pornographic sites; many pornographic sites require you to log on with personal information that is then public material. The university has the right to revoke ALL of your access privileges if you log on to pornographic sites. Always be sure that you are saving any Internet material to your disk. If you need to access sites for your research that may be adult in nature, please ask for written permission from your supervisor and reserve a small lab so that you do not offend any other student. Using University resources, i.e. computer, printers, email accounts to promote political candidates, or to sell merchandise, or to pass Internet viruses or chain letters, are forbidden by University policy and may result in losing all privileges.


Laser printing in the psychology laboratory is free. Our hope is that this privilege will not be abused and therefore will be continued. Please do not take advantage of this privilege. Print only psychology related documents in the lab and only good drafts of papers. Students should not use the printer to supply themselves with many copies of informed consents or other documents. The Computer and Copy Center will print large jobs at reduced prices. Never walk away from a print job in progress. If the print job did not come out as planned, cancel the print job. The scanner/copier may be used only with faculty permission.

Abuse of printing privileges will result in the loss of privileges for that student. Printing abuses include: printing many copies of one document, etc.


New supplies have been purchased for the lab (including scissors, tape, a ruler, etc.). These are located in the lab attendants’ area and will be the responsibility of the attendant on duty. Please make sure that before you leave your shift, these supplies have been returned or notify the next attendant on duty. Computer paper should be kept in supply. Work Study students should be sure that an extra pack of paper is always available.

Shared Drive

The psychology lab uses a shared drive called the “S” drive. Students and faculty can store files on this drive and have access to these files from any computer in the lab. Many of these files are very important and the use of the “S” drive should not be abused. Students who are using the “S” drive for Psych 301W and 406W are asked to use the folder designated by their instructor for their research. Within this folder they may create sub-folders, but please do not create folders outside of this designated folder. For all lab attendants, do NOT delete or move files that are not your own. You can never be sure if these files are important or not.

Lab Phone Numbers

  • Data Analysis Room (203) & Reception Area, 898-6036
  • Large Group Research Room (202), 898-6033
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Room (201), 898-6529
  • Applied Research Suite, 898-7284
    • Storage Area (208)
    • Developmental Lab (209)
    • Control Room (210)
    • Human Factors Lab (211)
  • Perception Lab (214), 898-6772
  • Cognitive Lab (212), 898-6771
  • Clinical Interview Room (105), 898-6770

Contact List

Psychology Laboratory Coordinator & Research Participant Intern

Other Useful Numbers

  • Maintenance, 898-6360, call for power, heat, and water leaks
  • Michelle Newcomb, 898-6969, call for computer problems
  • Health and Wellness, 898-6217, call for health problems

If it is health or security related emergency, call campus police @ ext. 6231.