Applied Psychology Research Institute (APRI)

The Applied Psychology Research Institute is dedicated to improving productivity, accuracy, and safety across humans, technologies, systems, and communities. Areas of emphasis include: 

  • Transportation
  • Training and Performance
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Aerospace/Military
  • Community Research, Intervention, and Action


The Human-Automation and Interaction Lab (HAIL), led by Dr. Jibo He, is interested in eye movements and attention, and the application of psychological theories and paradigms to real-world tasks (e.g., human computer interaction and driving). Current research projects include 1) detection of driver fatigue and distraction using vehicle dynamics, eye tracking, and EEG, 2) performance changes and mechanisms of distracted driving and automation-assisted driving.

The Visual and Perception Lab, led by Dr. Rui Ni, investigates the visual perception of depth and shape in stereopsis, distance perception of 3-D objects in the real world, driving performance and visual information processing, and age-related dierences in perception and cognition. The VPC lab is particularly interested in improving older individuals’ visual performance through training (e.g., perceptual learning). 

The Applied Perception and Performance Lab (APPL), led by Dr. Alex Chaparro, investigates a number of areas including basic and applied research concerning visual perception, reading, aging, driving, and aviation. Much of the research has been funded by grants from industry and government agencies including the U.S. Air Force, FAA, Microsoft Corporation, and General Atomics. APPL’s current projects include: 1) An investigation of the effects of driver distraction including text messaging on hazard detection and vehicle lane control; 2) How cellular phone design affects driver workload; 3) The effects of simulated cataracts on speechreading

User Experience (UX)

The Software Usability Research Lab (SURL), led by Dr. Barbara Chaparro, is an applied research laboratory that conducts research related to human-computer interaction (HCI). In addition to research, the lab provides usability evaluation services and interface design services to the software development community and trains students on HCI with real-world projects. SURL has worked on a contract basis to address usability and HCI issues for many Fortune 500/1000 companies  including Microsoft, Dell, Motorola, Coca-Cola, Textron, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coleman, and Benchmark Brands. The current focus is website design and usability, mobile device usability and methods of text input, eye tracking of websites and mobile applications, and voice recognition on mobile devices.


The Aviation Psychology and Human Factors Lab, led by Dr. Alex Chaparro, provides practical psychology to the needs of aviation and defense industries, government authorities like the FAA and the NTSB, the U.S. military, and a great variety of other institutions. NIAR’s applied and theoretical research projects are designed to meet the immediate needs of their clients with regard to Human Information Processing, Human Computer Interaction, Automation, and Human Ergonomics. Current projects involve General Atomics and the design of a ground control station for aircraft drones. 

Community Research, Intervention, and Action

The Behavioral Community Research and Action Team, led by Dr. Rhonda Lewis, is focused on conducting community-based research that promotes the health of adolescents and reducing health disparities among Racial and Ethnic groups. The Behavioral Community Research and Action Team currently is focused examining the health behaviors of college students, educational aspirations and expectations of youth in foster care and role racial identity plays on the health behaviors of emerging adults. The research team also has a partnership with Gordon Parks Academy, Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, Grant Chapel AME Church, Center for Health and Wellness and the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas to implement a program to encourage physical activity, increase academic performance, and promote careers among elementary and middle school students.


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