Research and Creative Inquiry Activities
My research interests are broadly based on the effects of stress and fatigue on humans - our ability to function, our health, and our well-being. Almost any topic that relates to stress and fatigue can capture my interest. My team and I use a wide range of measures to assess the effects of stress and fatigue including performance measures, subjective measures, emotional cognition/recognition measures, and physiological measures.
I also work with a Creative Inquiry team that uses social media to share information about the human brain, how the brain works, and how it affects our daily lives and choices.
- Work and Exercise. This research program uses FitDesks (stationary bikes with a desk top) in college study areas, K-12 classrooms, and in office spaces to examine how being active while working or studying can positively affect performance, health, and well-being. We are placing FitDesks around the Clemson campus and are working with the FitDesk's FitStudent initiative to place FitDesks in K-12 educational settings nationwide. The goal of this research is to document the effects of combining work with low-level of exercise. This research effort could ultimately change how our society views work and exercise.
- Sleep and Sleep Loss. This research effort includes two main research paradigms. (1) Examining the effects of sleep loss and sleep deprivation on performance, health, and well-being. (2) Examining the effects of sleep habits (including sleep timing, sleep quantity, sleep quality, and day-time sleepiness) on daily functioning, performance, health, and well-being. In both areas, we are interested in a broad range of measures including many different performance measures, measures of attention, measures of emotional cognition/recognition, subjective measures, and health/well-being meausres. The broad goals of these research projects are to develop intervention strategies to improve performance and well-being in the work place and to help college students make better decisions regarding sleep habits.
- Brain Tips. My Brain Tips team (Smart & Savvy Students) shares interesting and informative ideas about the human brain using social media. Our audience is primarily college and high school students. We focus our information on topics relevant to our daily lives including health, well-being, positive habits, decision making, exercise, sleep, and healthy eating. We incorporate basic information about the brain in our articles to help our readers better understand how our brain affects everything we do and become.
Graduate and undergraduate students interested in learning more about the research process and in gaining research-related skills are welcome to join my research team. Graduate students can participate through course credit (i.e., independent research, thesis, and dissertation credit) or as volunteers. Undergraduate students participate through Clemson University's Creative Inquiry program and register for course credit through PSYCH H4900, H4910, 4980, or H4980. I encourage interested undergraduate students to join our research team no later than their junior year. Both graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to stay involved in the research team for multiple semesters to take full advantage of the learning opportunities intrinsic in our research team and effort. Students can be involved in any of my research projects, depending on their interest and our current research topics.
Students have the opportunity to be involved in several stages of the research process depending upon the number of semesters that they remain on the team including: literature searches to find necessary background information, reading and critically evaluating background literature, data gathering, data management in Excel, data analyses in SPSS, and data presentation and publication. Students involved in my research team during the spring semesters will also complete a poster presentation at the research exhibition on campus. Because of the on-going nature of our research effort, students have the opportunity to become immediately involved in the research process beginning in their first semester. Furthermore, students who work for a minimum of 4 semesters on our research team have the opportunity to attend regional and national research conferences to give presentations about our work.
Students also work on the Brain Tips team. This group works to identify interesting and pertinent scientific articles about a wide range of productivity, health, and well-being that would be of interest to other students. The students write a short summary of the topic and then promote their ideas using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This team provides in-depth experience in reading scientific literature and applying the ideas in ways that will interest other students. They also practice summarizing the ideas in a meaningful way and write multiple posts for our Facebook page. Students work on my Brain Tips team for a minimum of 2 semesters and complete a poster presentation at the research exhibition on campus each spring semester.
Please contact me if you are interested in joining any of my Creative Inquiry and research teams.
Featured Stories and Media Coverage
- Sleep Research: Featured in first edition of Decipher (Vol 1, Fall 2012), the Clemson University Creative Inquiry magazine (pg 44).
- FitDesk Initiative: Clemson student newspaper.
- FitDesk Initiative: Segment in ABC/ESPN Clemson-Boston College game (the FitDesk segment starts at 1:50:39; Oct 12, 2013).
- FitDesk Initiative: Segment on News 4 (local NBC channel).
- FitDesk Initiative: Article in Library Journal.
FitDesk Initiative: Featured in Decipher (Vol 3, Fall 2014), Clemson University Creative Inquiry magazine; “Pedaling Towards a Healthier Lifestyle.” (pp. 31-32).
Recent Student Presentations (student names in red)
- Morris, D. M. & Pilcher, J. J. (2014). The impact of cold stress on driving performance. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 58th Annual Meeting, 58, 2038-2042. [Presented at Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; Chicago, IL.; October 2014]
- Donnelly, J., Bethel, S. A., & Pilcher, J. J. (2014, October). Caring for the Caregiver: Effects of Secondary Traumatic Stress in Health Care Providers. Poster presentation at the 2014 Compassionate Care Conference, Greenville Health System, Greenville, SC.
- Morris, D. M., Pilcher, J. J., & Switzer, F. S. (2014). An improved method for the detection of drowsy drivers using lane heading difference [Abstract]. Sleep, 37 (Suppl.), A95-A96. [Presented at Associated Professional Sleep Societies Meeting; Minneapolis, MN.; June 2014]
- Donnelly, J. & Pilcher, J. J. (2014, May). Awake at night: Implications on working memory. Presentation at the 26th Annual Association for Psychological Science Convention, San Francisco, CA.
- Feigl, H. B., Howard, E. E., Henderson, E. A., Ferguson, E. M., Morris, D. M., Jellen, J. C., Lamm, C., & Pilcher, J. J. (2014, April). Sleep Habits around the World. Poster presentation at Clemson University 9th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Symposium, Clemson, SC.
- Hildreth, L. M., Holmes, K. M., Osborn, R. E., & Pilcher, J. J. (2014, April). Smart and Savvy Students: The Beginning. Poster presentation at Clemson University 9th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Symposium, Clemson, SC.
- Burnett, M. L., Pilcher, J. J., & Markle, R. S. (2013). Paving the way to academic success: Depression and sleep deprivation in college students [Abstract]. Sleep, 36 (Suppl.), A99. [Presented at Associated Professional Sleep Societies Meeting; Baltimore, MD.; June 2013]
- Jennings, K. S., & Pilcher, J. J. (2013, May). Effects of perceived interest and difficulty on auditory comprehension under sleep deprivation conditions. Presentation at the Work Stress and Health 2013 Conference, Los Angeles, CA.
- Bryant, S. A., Howard, E. E., Rummel, E. G., Baker, V. C., & Pilcher, J. J. (2013, April). Evaluation of Mood State and Sleep Quality in College Students. Poster presentation at Clemson University 8th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Symposium, Clemson, SC.
- Sullivan, K. L., Henderson, E. A., Hohenberger, M. E., Smith, P. D., Williams, J. F., & Pilcher, J. J. (2013, April). Correlations between Sleep Factors and Body Mass Index in Undergraduate College Students. Poster presentation at Clemson University 8th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Symposium, Clemson, SC.
- Jennings, K. S., & Pilcher, J. J. (2012, April). The Effects of Total Sleep Deprivation on Dual-Task Auditory Language Performance. Poster presentation at Clemson University 7th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Symposium, Clemson, SC.
- Padgett, A. L., Jennings, K. S., Sullivan, K. L., & Pilcher, J. J. (2012, April). Evaluating Sleep Quality in College Students. Poster presentation at Clemson University 7th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Symposium, Clemson, SC.
- Burnett, M. L., & Pilcher, J. J. (2011). Evaluating speed-accuracy tradeoff in sleep-deprived persons [Abstract]. Sleep, 34 (Suppl.), A100-A101. [Presented at Associated Professional Sleep Societies Meeting; Minneapolis, MN.; June 2011]
- Deacy, K. A., Ross, C. E., Jennings, K. S., Weaver, H. M., & Pilcher, J. J. (2011, April). Moody College Students: Or Is It the Start of the Semester? Poster presentation at Clemson University 6th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry Symposium, Clemson, SC.
- Peach, H., McCubbin, J. A., & Pilcher, J. J. (2011, March). Cognitive functioning declines in prehypertensive young adults throughout a night of sleep deprivation. Poster presentation at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, San Antonio, Texas.
Student Theses and Dissertations (student names in red)
- Janet Donnelly (Master Thesis, 2014). Awake at Night: Implications of Sleep Deprivation on Working Memory
- James F. Williams (Honors Thesis, 2014). The Effect of Sleep on Life Satisfaction and Quality of School Experience in Undergraduates: A Model of Sleep-School Conflict and Sleep-School Facilitation
- Elena Garifallou (Honors Thesis, 2013). The Effect of Dream Recall on Emotional Reactivity to Stimulating Photographs and Emotional Expression in the Eyes
- Laura Lamantia (Honors Thesis, 2013). The Relationship between Emotional Expressiveness and Affective State after Waking from Dreaming
- Kristen Jennings (Honors Thesis, 2011). The Effects of Total Sleep Deprivation on Auditory Language Performance
- Monica Lindsey (Honors Thesis, 2010). The Effects of Partial and Total Sleep Deprivation Conditions on Engagement in Task
- Robert Markle (Honors Thesis, 2009). The Effects of Depression on Performance and Self-Assessed Performance under Sleep Deprivation Conditions
- Nicholas Beck (Honors Thesis, 2008). Effect of Sleep Deprivation and Sustained Work on Critical Thinking in Native and Non-Native English Speakers
- Nick Galan (Honors Thesis, 2008). The Effect of One Night of Sleep Deprivation on Working Memory: Non-Native versus Native English Speakers
- Melissa A. Vander Wood (Master Thesis, 2008). Actual and Self-Assessed Performance on a Logical Reasoning Task during a Night of Total or Partial Sleep Deprivation
- Laura E. McClelland (Doctoral Dissertation, 2007). Examining the Effects of Fatigue on Decision Making in Nurses: A Policy-Capturing Approach
- Sarah B. Spainhour (Honors Thesis, 2007). The Impact of Emotional Well-Being on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate during Sustained Operations under Sleep Deprivation Conditions
- Tyler C. Pierce (Honors Thesis, 2006). The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Spatial Ability
- Philip Poole (Honors Thesis, 2006). Controlled Attention: The Effect of 30 hours Sleep Deprivation on Performance on a Psychomotor Vigilance Task and a Four-Choice Response Task
- Joseph B. Mulvihill (Honors Thesis, 2005). The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Subjective Measures of Motivation and Enjoyment on a Cognitive and a Vigilance Task
- David A. Band (Master Thesis, 2004). The Ability of Automated Fatigue Measures to Monitor and Predict Simulated Driving Performance
- Cortney A. Brenner (Honors Thesis, 2004). The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Decision Making
- Kristina Ihlenfeldt (Honors Thesis, 2004). The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Language Skills
- Shea Tolbert (Honors Thesis, 2003). Relationships between Stress and Fatigue and Performance Skills