Exercise Psychology Lab

Studies Currently Recruiting in the Exercise Psychology Laboratory

Impact of Exercise Training on Pain and Brain Function in Gulf War Veterans

Post-Exertion Malaise in Gulf War Illness: Brain, Autonomic, and Behavioral Interaction

For more information or to participate as a research subject, please contact Neda Almassi or call 608/262-2457

Pain, Psychological, and Endocannabinoid Responses to Yoga in Breast Cancer Survivors with Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain

If interested, please contact Brianna Leitzelar at leitzelar@wisc.edu or 608/262-2457.

Laboratory Facilities and Research Paradigms: The Exercise Psychology Laboratory includes two sound-dampened chambers for use in conducting experimental research, and these testing facilities are supported by state-of-the-art hardware employed in gathering psychophysiological data. Separate space is dedicated for metabolic measurement during exercise. Research in the Exercise Psychology laboratory has been generally concerned with quantifying the psychophysiological responses to exercise and determining the neurobiological benefits of a physically active lifestyle. Numerous behavioral methods have been used to determine affective and perceptual responses to exercise including the use of biofeedback, hypnosis, imagery, meditation and traditional relaxation interventions such as autogenic training. More recently, the labs focus has been on the psychophysiologcal aspects of pain, fatigue and perceived exertion during and following exercise. These studies are being conducted in both healthy participants and patients with chronic pain and fatigue and are aimed at understanding the psychophysiological mechanisms that underlie the perceptual experience. Functional and structural neuroimaging methods are a primary tool of the lab and are used to determine neural responses related to pain, fatigue and exercise.

The lab houses or has access to a wide variety of equipment for use in psychophysiological research. For exercise and physical activity, the laboratory has two electronically braked cycle ergometers, a motorized treadmill, two metabolic measurement systems (ParvoMedics), numerous acceleromteres and inclinometers for physical activity and sedentary behavior measurement, hand dynamometers and a TrueMax 2400 metabolic cart. For pain sensitivity and regulation, there is a Forgione-Barber type pressure algometer and several thermal sensory analyzers (Medoc). In addition, the lab has an fMRI compatible computer computerized thermal stimulator, the Medoc Pain & Sensory Evaluation System, capable of selectively stimulating A-Delta fibers and C-fibers for sensory research. Investigators in the lab collaborate with the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and have access to a state-of-the-art GE 3T MRI and PET units. Graduate students in this laboratory have also had an opportunity to interact with visiting scientists from other institutions, as well as investigators from other departments on campus such as the Alzheimer’s disease Research Center (ADRC) and Departments of Psychology, Educational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Psychiatry, Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine.