Student presenting their research poster at Scholars Day

Research in Kinesiology

Our students have many opportunities to participate in research in the kinesiology major. Undergraduates can gain valuable experience from research including analytical, critical thinking, oral communication, and writing skills. Research can also provide students with experiences that will separate them from their peers when competing for graduate programs and jobs. Some students develop such a strong interest from their research that it has led them on a different career path.

Students interested in participating in research at any level should review the list of kinesiology faculty research interests below and contact the faculty member(s) in which you share common research interests. We will then determine if there are opportunities for you to participate in a current research project or develop a project of your own.

Undergraduate students have participated in all aspects of research from participant recruitment to data collection to analyses and even write-up. Some students have published articles as undergraduate students alongside their mentor(s). Other students have attended and presented at conferences both locally, nationally, and internationally.

Sport Psychology

Sport psychology is the study of how psychological factors can affect a person’s performance and how performing in sport and exercise can affect not only physical factors, but psychological factors as well. While this research is typically done on athletes, there are also benefits to seeing how being involved with a sport and exercise can effect any individual’s psyche.

Dr. Mario Fontana’s background is in Achievement Goal Perspective Theory and he has a particular interest in how athletes experience and process self-conscious emotions such as shame and pride. He loves working with athletes and coaches to help them get in the mindset for how to have an optimal experience in sport, no matter what their skill level may be.

Dr. Vista Beasley’s research interests revolve around the psychology of pain and injury in sport, tactical, and other physical activity contexts. The psychological factors she examines include mental toughness, the desire to impress others (i.e., self-presentational concern), and social identification. She is currently exploring research questions including: What can be done so that athletes, law enforcement officers, and military members make good decisions when they’re in pain? Which athletes are more likely to push through pain or hide pain from coaches/instructors? Why does a recreational athlete or hiker do something risky that causes them to get injured? She employs quantitative and qualitative research methods and is open to helping students develop their own research projects related to these research questions and psychological factors.

Motor Behavior

The study of motor behavior examines how motor skills are learned, controlled, and developed throughout a lifetime. Studies within motor behavior may also try to understand and enhance people with physical disabilities.

Professor Pamela Haibach-Beach’s research interests focus upon motor development assessments including motor competence and balance in typically developing and specialized populations. She co-directs the Institute of Movement Studies for Individuals with Visual Impairments with Dr. Lauren Lieberman and conducts much research with this population in all ages as well as develops educational videos, books, and conducts workshops for practitioners and students. Recent research includes balance interventions with older adults, motor development assessments with children with CHARGE Syndrome, motor imagery in children and adolescents with visual impairments, and running with guide dogs. She is also very open to helping students develop their own research projects related to motor learning, motor control, and/or motor development.

Dr. Melanie Perreault’s research revolves around motor learning and motor development of children with and without disabilities. Specific topics include the effects of internal and external attentional foci on motor learning in typically developing children; factors impacting the development of fundamental motor skills in children with CHARGE Syndrome; and imagery use and function in children with visual impairments. She is also open to student initiated projects that fall within my area of expertise. If you have an idea, she would love to hear about it!

Sport Philosophy

Sport philosophy seeks to analyze the idea of sport in our society including how it shapes and influences our culture.

Dr. Peter Hager’s research focuses on the philosophic study of the measurement and achievement of excellence in sport. He also conducts philosophic research related to ethics in sport competition. Dr. Hager also enjoys helping students to develop their own projects so that they are strongly invested in their work and motivated to achieve.

Professor Cesar R. Torres’s interests and research are in sport philosophy, sport history, Olympic studies, and Latin American studies. In sport philosophy, his research revolves around the nature of and relationship between games, sport, and the skills they create. He has connected the latter to a theory of sport known as interpretivism. Following his theoretical interpretivist insights, he has analyzed a number of pressing controversies in sport, physical education, and the Olympic Movement. For sport history, Olympic studies, and Latin American studies, Prof. Torres’s primary interest lies in the cultural conversation and exchange between the Americas at the end of the nineteenth and throughout the twentieth centuries in the fields of sport, physical education, and Olympism. He is specially interested in the role that Latin America, and particularly Argentina, has played in the development of the Olympic Movement.