Applied Psychology Research Institute (APRI)


The three doctoral programs in the Department of Psychology at Wichita State University share a common focus on applied research, in accord with the mission of Wichita State University as Kansas’ only urban-serving university campus.

The Applied Psychology Research Institute (APRI) was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents and opened in June 2013. APRI:

  1. serves as a regional center for research in program evaluation, human factors, and child development
  2. provides infrastructure, including laboratory and office space dedicated to these research activities
  3. fosters collaborative research across disciplines to address problems that require an interdisciplinary approach to understand and ameliorate
  4. provides additional training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students
  5. markets the research capabilities of the institute.


Research Laboratories


Human Factors Aviation Lab

JPEG ImageThe Human Factors Aviation team provides scientific-based analyses to improve the systems that people use to do their jobs in the aerospace systems domain. Our team applies HF principles, guidelines, and user-centered design evaluation methods to optimize the interaction between people and the tools or systems they use.  This approach provides solutions that consider the human cognitive and physical abilities and limitations as well as the environment in which they work. A user-centric system increases operator acceptance, satisfaction, efficiency, situational awareness, and safety, while reducing errors, training time and workload.  Most of these benefits also result in cost savings.

Overview of Current Activities and Research

Sub-contract with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
  • Provide HF expertise for advanced cockpit ergonomic and display design including HMI design support, usability testing, and design documentation.
  • Provide Ergonomic and Anthropometric Analysis of Prototype system to improve operator comfort and performance through digital modeling.
  • Provide design modifications to meet operational capabilities of new customers.
  • Develop a GUI design interface for control several remotely piloted vehicles (RVPs) by a single Collaborative Multi-vehicle Control (CMC) station.
  • Provide Style Guide design documentation utilizing GUI standards, supplemented with a HF design philosophy of principles to guide design decisions.
  • Provide Test Plan of HF approach to evaluation of processes, equipment, and component design. Followed by Test Reports analyzing test measures, user feedback, and providing results-based design recommendations.
Analysis and Evaluation
  • Ergonomic and anthropometric analysis for display placement and seat structure.
  • Ergonomic usability testing of design prototypes.
  • Task Analysis to develop user design requirements to provide framework for prototypes.
  • Proof-of-Concept during Usability testing.
  • Usability Testing assess user performance in part- and full-task simulated scenarios to evaluate and designs utilizing objective/subjective measures.
  • Design reviews of software to assess the consistency of design and the application of the Style Guide and Design Philosophy to final software versions.


Contact Information (978-3812)

Dr. Alex  Chaparro

Dr. Traci Hart

Dr. Bonnie Rogers



Sofware Usability Research Lab

SURL was initiated in 1998 under the direction of Barbara S. Chaparro, who has over 20 years of experience designing and evaluating user interfaces and conducting research in human-computer interaction (HCI). The goal of the lab is to understand User Experience in a variety of domains and environments, to provide usability services to industry, and to provide research findings to HCI practitioners. SURL offers services in HCI research, usability testing, expert review, eye tracking and requirements gathering of websites, mobile device apps, software applications, and hardware.


Overview of Current Research

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Usability Assessment

We bring actual users into the usability lab and ask them to complete a series of tasks with websites or software. Observational, user satisfaction, general aesthetic appeal, and performance data are collected, summarized, and used for design recommendations.
Sample data collected includes:

  • task success
  • time to complete tasks
  • efficiency
  • user perceptions and satisfaction of ease of use and appeal
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Eye Tracking

Our usability testing computer uses the Tobii X120 eye tracking system to detect and collect participant eye-gaze data during testing. The eye-tracker samples the position of the user’s eyes on an average of every 25ms (i.e., 60Hz) and is characterized by the unobtrusive addition of the eye tracking hardware which helps promote more natural user behavior by not placing unnatural restrictions on participants (e.g., helmets, head-rests).

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Mobile Devices
  • Accessing efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction with mobile apps and sites
  • Exploring the use of mobile devices in Healthcare (e.g., EMR, HER)
  • Evaluating methods of input to mobile devices (e.g., physical keyboard, voice, touchscreen keyboard, Swype, handwriting)


Contact Information

Dr. Barbara Chaparro, Director
Dr. Amanda Smith, Research Scientist
Mikki Phan, Graduate Student
Jennifer Paragas Teves, Graduate Student
Mandy Phelps, Graduate Student
Jo Jardina, Graduate Student
Christina Siu, Graduate Student
Christal Haskins, Graduate Student


Recent Contracts

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Training Research and Applied Cognitive Engineering Laboratory

The Training Research and Applied Cognitive Engineering Laboratory started in August of 2012. TRACE has a workforce consisting of 2 graduate and 3 undergraduate students. Our primary research interests include application of training and teamwork theories across multiple applied domains including military, medical, and consumer systems.


Overview of Current Research

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Medical Training and Teamwork Research
  • Involved in validation of medication cross-check with Sedgwick County EMS
  • Developing an empirically validated handoff protocol for Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Involved in data analysis for Children’s Mercy Hospital and DoD Patient Safety Program
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Combat Identification Training
  • Line of research aimed at creating better training paradigms for combat identification using cutting edge technology such as augmented reality
  • Partnership with the Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensing Directorate
  • Current work funded by undergraduate Bardo Grant Award
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Guitar Learning and Embodied Cognition


  • Funded project from Optek Inc. examining the learning effects of their augmented reality guitar system
  • Examine musical learning using the paradigm of embodiment- that thinking occurs not just in the brian, but with the body as well
  • Published and presented research at the International conference on Human Computer Interaction


Contact Information

Dr. Joseph R. Keebler, Director
Dustin Smith, Graduate Student
Brady Patzer, Graduate Student



Wichita State University Undergraduate Student Research Grant

  • Title: Investigating the Efficacy of Augmented Reality Training for Combat Identification Tasks
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Role: Faculty Advisor

Optek Music, Inc. Fretlight Guitar Systems

  • Title: Effects of Embodiment on Musical Learning using an Augmented Reality Instructional System
  • Amount: $12,000 annually
  • Role: PI

Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute‬ ‪Project‬

  • Title: Determining Optimal Handoff Protocols for the Transition of Patient Care‬
  • Amount: $50,000‬
  • Role: Co-I

Institute for Simulation and Training, Orlando, FL Simulation in Healthcare Education Learning Laboratory (SHELL) Grant

  • Title: Augmented Reality Training Systems for Learning Anatomical Structures
  • Amount: $10,550
  • Role: Co-PI

APRI is located in Rm 102 McKinley Hall. For more information contact Dr. Alex Chaparro at Alex.Chaparro@wichita.edu or 316-978-3170.