Explore This Research Lab

Psychological Assessment employs a battery of psychological tests (combined with a clinical interview, observation, and medical chart information) to attain a comprehensive, integrated, and detailed depiction of a person’s emotional, interpersonal, social, and cognitive abilities.

The Psychological Evaluation and Research Laboratory (PEaRL) is a clinical consultation service offering comprehensive psychological evaluations. Patients referred for PEaRL evaluations often have complex or confusing clinical presentations, a history of sub-optimal treatment response, and a possible co-morbid medical condition.

PEaRL evaluations include psychological and neuropsychological instruments to provide a broad description of a patient’s intellectual, neuro-cognitive, and psychological functioning. While psychological assessment has many applications, PEaRL evaluations are clinically focused, and we do not provide educational (i.e., identification of learning disabilities), functional (i.e., disability determinations), or legal (i.e., forensic evaluations) evaluations.

PEaRL evaluations are specifically designed to answer important clinical questions such as differential diagnosis, prioritizing and tailoring treatment strategies, and progress monitoring. Our psychologists are specialists with extensive training and experience conducting psychological assessments. They collaborate with referring professionals to ensure that our evaluations address the specific concerns of each patient.

As a result, PEaRL evaluations aid clinicians by answering critical clinical questions while also providing unique insight into the neurocognitive and psychological bases of a patient’s difficulty.

Our Services

We are committed to providing prompt service with most appointments being scheduled within 4-8 weeks and reports available four weeks after the completed evaluation. In addition to providing clinical service, the PEaRL has an active research program and is a major training resource for the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School pre-doctoral psychology internship program.

Treating professional within the Partners Healthcare system can refer patients for a comprehensive psychological evaluation through EPIC. 

Research Projects

In addition to conducting state-of-the art psychological assessments, the PEaRL is an active and productive research program.

Consistent with our mission to advance the effectiveness of psychological assessment, PEaRL research is focused on understanding the validity and utility of common psychological and neuropsychological instruments. To achieve this goal, we have created an IRB-approved database that currently contains over 1,300 completed assessment protocols.

This extensive database allows us to explore the relationship of assessment findings to important life events (e.g., psychological trauma, hospitalization, academic problems and suicide attempts). Through this database, we are actively exploring the validity and clinical value of common psychological tests, while also seeking to increase our understanding of important psychiatric conditions. Members of our group have extensive expertise in psychometrics, scale development and validation, as well as specialized knowledge in the assessment of psychopathology, personality functioning, and treatment outcomes.

Trainees have the opportunity to join our ongoing research projects or develop projects consistent with our research and clinical mission. Most of our recent trainees have had successful research experiences and have presented papers or posters at professional conferences or published research articles as part of their PEaRL training.

Current Research Projects

Validity and Utility of the Social Cognition and Object Relations Scale-Global Rating Method (SCORS-G)

The SCORS-G is a well validated method for rating narrative data. We also provide research consultation and reliability training for individuals or groups interested in using the SCORS-G in their clinical and/or research practice. Please contact Michelle Stein, PhD, if you have further inquiries and/or are interested in more intensive training.

Exploring Meta-Cognition through Method Convergence

We are interested in exploring clinically useful information embedded within our standard clinical assessment tools, consisting of both performance-based and self-report measures of similar constructs. We are currently interested in how meta-cognition—people’s ability to accurately evaluate their strengths and limitations—may be demonstrated through utilization of standard clinical assessment tools.

Mass General Psychiatry Treatment Monitoring Program (Completed)

Maintain, monitor and analyze outcome data for all clinical services provided within and across the Mass General Department of Psychiatry.

Schwartz Outcome Scale (SOS-10) Project

The SOS-10 is a unique and highly versatile mental health outcomes measure. We maintain a growing SOS-10 database and engage in projects that expand the use and application of the scale.

Research Collaborations

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Borderline Psychopathology: Mass General DBT program, Michelle Jacobo, PhD, Director

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Processes and Outcome Research Program, The Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University, Mark J. Hilsenroth, PhD., Professor of Psychology

Inpatient Treatment Outcome Project, Nassau University Medical Center, Greg Haggerty, PhD, Staff Psychologist

Psychological Instrument Validation Project, Psychological Assessment Center, University of California, Santa Barbara, Steve R. Smith, PhD., Associate Professor of Psychology

Forensic and Aggressive Personality Assessment Project, New York University School of Medicine, Daniel Antonius, PhD, Assistant Professor, Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiative.


Professional Training

Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School offers a full-time, predoctoral internship in Clinical Psychology to matriculated doctoral students enrolled in clinical or counseling psychology programs. The PEaRL is a significant training site for the Adult Clinical Psychology Elective in the Internship in Clinical Psychology.

Learn more 

There is typically a full-time, postdoctoral fellowship position in Clinical Psychology available to individuals who have successfully completed an APA-Approved predoctoral internship and are strongly interested in assessment and measurement. The fellowship year runs from July to June. It offers a competitive stipend, four weeks of vacation and healthcare benefits. All fellows receive appointments at Harvard Medical School as clinical fellows in the Department of Psychiatry.

Publications

2015

Slavin-Mulford J, Perkey H, Sinclair SJ, Stein MB, & Blais MA External Validity of the Symptom Assessment-45 (SA-45) in a clinical sample. Comprehensive Psychiatry (in press)

Sinclair SJ, Walsh-Messinger J, Siefert CJ, Antonius D, Baity M, Haggerty G, Stein M, Blais M Neuropsychological functioning and profile validity on the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI): An investigation in Multiple Psychiatric Settings. Bull Menninger Clin (in press)

2016

Siefert CJ, Stein MB, Slavin-Mulford J, Sinclair SJ, Haggerty G, Blais MA Estimating the effects of Thematic Apperception Test card content on SCORS-G ratings: Replication with a nonclinical sample. J Pers. Assess, 2016; DOI: 10.1080/00223891.2016.1167696

2015

Stein MB, Slavin-Mulford J, Siefert CJ, Sinclair SJ, Smith M, Chung WJ, Liebman R, & Blais MA External validity of SCORS-G ratings of Thematic Apperception Test narratives in a sample of outpatients and inpatients. Rorschachiana, 2015; DOI: 10.1027/1192-5604/a000057.

2014

Haggerty G, Blanchard M, Baity MR, DeFife JA, Stein MB, Siefert CJ, Sinclair SJ, Zodan J Clinical Validity of a dimensional assessment of self and interpersonal functioning in adolescent inpatients. J Pers. Assess, 2014; DOI: 10.1080/00223891.2014.930744

Sinclair SJ, Smith M, Chung WJ, Liebman R, Stein MB, Antonius D, Siefert CJ, Haggerty G, Blais MA Extending the validity of the Personality Assessment Inventory’s (PAI) Level of Care Index (LOCI) in multiple psychiatric settings. J Pers. Assess 2014; DOI: 10.1080/00223891.2014.941441.

National Awards

Michelle B. Stein, PhD
2014 Samuel J. and Anne G. Beck Award, Society of Personality Assessment, for “outstanding early career research in the field of personality assessment”

Mark A. Blais, PsyD
2009 Theodore Millon, Award in Personality Psychology, American Psychological Foundation,“For outstanding work in advancing the science of Personality Psychology