Performance Psychology Lab

The mission of the Performance Psychology Laboratory is to understand how emotion influences the thoughts and behaviors of participants in health and performance settings. The lab has studied how emotion influences attention and, ultimately, the motor actions of elite athletes and other performers. The lab also studies the role of attention and emotion in anxiety and movement disorders.

Our work has led to a better understanding of how emotion impacts attention and motor function, while providing insight concerning the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral manifestations of mind-body interactions. We hope that continued work in this area will inform recommendations for improving the effectiveness of interventions for those who suffer from emotion and movement disorders, while holding performance enhancement implications for individuals such as firefighters, surgeons, athletes, military personnel, and others who are consistently challenged to perform under emotionally charged situations.


Emotion and Attention
A primary mission of the Performance Psychology lab is to determine the influence of emotion on attentional processing, specifically with regard to the mechanisms underlying visual selective attention, automaticity, and self-regulation. (Read more…)

Emotion and Motor Function
The other primary arm of our research has focused on how emotional reactivity influences the motor parameters that underlie simple and complex functional behaviors. We have found that exposure to unpleasant emotional conditions leads to faster, more forceful ballistic upper extremity movements compared to pleasant and neutral conditions. (Read more…)


Most Recent Publications:

  • Regulating emotions uniquely modifies reaction time, rate of force production, and accuracy of a goal-directed motor action. (PDF)
  • Diving below the surface of progressive disability: Considering the role of compensatory strategies in contemporary models of disability. (PDF)
  • A systematic review of studies comparing body image concerns among female college athletes and non-athletes, 1997-2012. (PDF)
  • Physical activity interventions differentially affect exercise task and barrier self-efficacy: A meta-analysis. (PDF)
  • Too much of a good thing: Random practice and self-control of feedback lead to unique but not additive learning benefits. (PDF)

For more publications, click HERE!

Lab Director

Christopher Janelle, Ph.D.

Ph.D. Students
Garrett Beatty
Brad Fawver
Torrie Higgins
Kyoungshin D. Park

Undergraduate Students
Eugenio Bricio
Tyler Cardillo
Molly Harry
Lindsey Ina
Isaac Lee


National Institutes of Health
National Science Foundation
American Heart Association


For information & photos of the Lab Facilities, click HERE!