Lab capabilities

HDSL is a broad-spectrum, cutting edge biobehavioral research facility offering investigators a wide range of research tools for the precise and rigorous investigation of how emotion, cognitive processes, and the neuroendocrine system shape judgment and decision making. Our suite of research facilities can be used individually or in customized combinations to support investigator research protocols.

Computer stations:
The lab is a 36-seat, fully networked behavioral laboratory. The centerpiece of the lab is the computer cubicle experimental stations, each equipped with two display screens linked to a keyboard/mouse input system and integrated headphone/microphone system for each subject.

Each cubicle is also equipped with a hidden, high-resolution video camera with variable focus and zoom. Linked together by extensive networking and switching equipment, this system allows researchers to communicate directly with subjects during an experimental trial and to create variably sized groups of subjects able to hear and see each other in real time while engaged in a study protocol. All communications between subjects can be recorded and stored as data, and the record of this data can be synchronized with both the moment of presentation of various stimuli and the execution of specific decisions in a given protocol.

Interview Rooms:
The lab also provides three separate interview rooms for small-group interactions or study protocols based on subject-and-interviewer interaction. Each interview room is equipped with two video cameras and ambient, unobtrusive audio recording technology. As a result, all experimental interactions can be recorded in these rooms for later study by experimenters.

Physiological capabilities:
Twelve of the thirty six computer cubicles in HDSL are additionally equipped with an extensive array of physiological monitoring and measurement capabilities. These cubicles each have the capability for autonomic measurement of impedance cardiography, facial electromyography (EMG), finger pulse amplitude, peripheral temperature, respiration, blood pressure, and skin conductance. Each of these cubicles is equipped with MindWare™ software systems,which is designed to both collect and analyze physiological data from experimental subjects. The lab is also equipped to collect and store saliva samples from subjects for use in identifying genomic markers or in assaying latent hormone levels indicating neuroendocrine activity during an experimental run. Laboratory-grade freezers in our facility permit storage of saliva samples until arrangements can be made for shipment to assay facilities.

Subject Pool:
HDSL maintains a large and diverse subject pool for researcher use. Access to this resource is managed by the Lab Manager, and specific recruitment drives can be undertaken by the lab with sufficient notification from experimenters. For more information on how to become a member of the HDSL subject pool, see decisionlab.harvard.edu/study_participants.

Assistance:
A group of trained undergraduate research assistants work for the lab and are available to assist researchers in experimental design and programming, the running of experiments, and the analysis of data resulting from experiments conducted in our lab. The Research Computing Specialist can be available to help with your security and data collection questions in addition to programming and all other IT-related questions you may have. Two post-doctoral fellows at the lab are available for consultation on experimental design.