Personality, Intelligence & Psychophysiology

Office (506) 460-0336
Lab (506) 460-0337
Fax (506) 450-9615

Michael Houlihan
Professor of Psychology
St. Thomas University

Psychophysiology Lab

This lab is dedicated to research in personality and intelligence and to the training of undergraduate students on experimental methods in psychology with an emphasis on psychophysiological recording techniques.


There are two current lines of research in the lab. The first project is aimed at understanding extraversion. The differences between introverts and extraverts in terms of sensory and motor activity is explored using different types of psychophysiological recording. the second project involves examining differences between individuals in cognitive ability. A comparison is made between standardized test scores and brain activity related to the automatic discrimination among tones.

Current Students

  • Honours

    • Kristyn DesRoches

      • Kristyn completed an independent study in 2011/2012 calendar yearand is now completing her honors thesis. She described her study as:
        • Intelligence is often used as a measure of an individual’s ability to perform many tasks that require complex thought processes. The ability of the brain to automatically detect changes in auditory environments can be measured using electroencephalography. Discriminating the difference between a standard tone being presented and an unusual, or deviant one, can be done regardless of attention to the auditory stimuli themselves. This discrimination will be generated as the ERP component, MMN (mismatch negativity). The current study proposes a relationship between this automatic discrimination and intelligence. Participants with larger MMN’s and therefore a stronger response to the deviant stimuli are predicted to have higher measures of intelligence. This presents opportunities to use sensory discrimination as a predictor of intelligence from a biological basis.
    • Lauren Morrissey

      • Lauren completed an independent study in 2011/2012 calendar year and is now completing her honors thesis. Here is a description of her thesis study:
        • Extraversion is a widely studied higher order trait of personality; it reflects sociability, energetic behaviour, and assertiveness. Extraversion can be divided into two categories: agency and affiliation. Agency reflects social dominance, achievement, and assertiveness while affiliation reflects the value of interpersonal bonds, warmth, and affection. The psychometric properties of a new questionnaire assessing agentic extraversion (AG) and affiliative extraversion (AF) will be evaluated. Alternate methods reliability will be assessed as both online and paper and pencil questionnaires will be used.  Construct validity will be assessed by comparing the new measures to Eysenck’s EPQ-R and Carver and White’s BISBAS. In addition the relation of the new measure with leisure and drug use will be examined.

  • Independent Studies

  • Christian Morin

    • Christian will describe his own study as the term progresses.

Current Volunteers

  • 2012-2013

    • Emily Thomas
    • Jessica Townsend
    • Sarah Heffernan
    • Joshua Slade
    • Anna Scheidler
    • Madyson Williams
    • Brandon Sparks
    • Sophie Anne Lalonde Leblanc
    • Cassie Dorgelo
    • Kristen Bullock
    • Courtney Purdy

Advanced Biological Psychology Fall 2012

  • The class completed a project examining the relation between brain activity and personality measures such as extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism, sensation seeking, agreeableness, contentiousness, and openeness.