If you took PSYC343: Sleep and Psychological Functioning in Youth last semester, then you likely already know Assistant Professor of Psychology Royette Tavernier and a little something about her expertise. Joining Wesleyan this past fall as one of 8 new tenure-track faculty, Professor Tavernier began a brand new research group focused on sleep and psychological adjustment (or SPA, for short). You can read more about the lab and how to get involved on their website.
Okay, so now to the spitting part. One of the projects in the SPA Lab is looking to examine whether “stress mediates the relationship between physical activity and sleep.” A big part of this study involves students giving up their spit in the name of science. The lab assays for cortisol, a hormone deemed ‘public health enemy number 1’ is found at much higher levels in people who are v stressed. Well, in an effort to spread awareness about spit tests, the members of the lab (including the wonderful friend of Wesleying Toys Koomplee ’17) have posted several videos to Instagram and one to YouTube about the process. They focus on how spit can be used to measure stress levels, how one actually takes a sample of their spit, and what people think about when they’re spitting. They have been informative and good and you should see them (past the jump):