To strengthen the link between the University and the neighboring community, the Department collaborates with a range of organizations and institutions in the Beer Sheva community.
The department has established a unique collaboration with the Carasso Science Park in Beer Sheva in the form of an experimental lab that will operate in the museum. The lab performs scientific research in the fields of social, cognitive, personality, and developmental psychology within the community. More specifically, the lab will investigate how children and adults regulate their emotions and behavior, make decisions, learn and communicate.
Visitors at the Park, both adults and children will participate in experiments conducted by researchers from the Psychology Department. They will gain knowledge about how people think, feel and make decisions, and how these processes develop from early childhood to adulthood. This collaboration is designed, in part, to break down barriers between scientists and the public, and allow lay-people to learn about scientific discovery by participating in active and fun studies.
For the past two years, the department has also been running a community outreach program with the Israeli Society for Autistic Children (ALUT), in the context of which five to six adults with autism, 18-25 years old, with low to mid-level cognitive abilities, come to the university on a daily basis. In the morning, they spend time in Dr. Dinstein’s lab studying rudimentary math, reading and practicing writing skills with their ALUT instructors.
In addition, they work in different places on campus, including several cafeterias and the university copy center, where they earn wages and a sense of independence. This integration into the university gives both the ALUT participants and psychology students a chance to get to know each other. So far, the program has been extremely successful and has formed strong ties between the ALUT participants and the lab.