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The Changing Activity, Substance Use, and Health lab (CASHlab) is a research team in the Department of Psychology at James Madison University. The CASHlab is involved in a variety of research projects primarily focused on health choices and basic physiological and learning processes associated with substance use that may inform intervention. We are also interested in developing and testing behavioral interventions for health risk behaviors including substance use and inactivity.


Here is a list of some of our current and recent research topics:


  • Contingency Management for a variety of health behaviors (e.g., substance use, physical activity, smartphone use, social media use, sunscreen use, video-gaming)

  • Factors that affect relative reinforcing efficacy of substances, food, etc.

  • Effects of physiological states (e.g., drug priming, sleep deprivation) on health choices

  • Cue-induced withdrawal and its effects on health choices

  • Transactional Sex as a health risk behavior

  • Measurement development and validity testing for health behaviors 

  • Potential health effects (therapeutic and/or detrimental) of cannabinoids alone and co-administered with other compounds

The members of the CASHlab stand against injustice and systemic racism in all its forms. We acknowledge that scientists measure that about which they care and we will honor our values through our science. We vow to engage in our science in ways that promote discovery that considers individuals from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds and that has the potential to benefit those individuals.

Below you will find information about getting involved with research in the CASHlab. You do not have to be a psychology major to get involved, and you may receive course credit for lab membership. Students interested in working with the lab for a Masters degree should visit the Psychological Sciences program site (linked below) to apply.




If you would like to complete our screener, please click above. If you qualify for a lab-based study, you will be contacted and invited via email. For most studies, you must be a JMU student or employee to qualify.




Curriculum Vitae


Jessica G. Irons is a Professor of Psychology at James Madison University and mentors the CASHlab. Click above to view her CV.

Lab Application


If you are interested in joining the CASHlab, please click above to complete an application.


Graduate School


If you are interested in attending graduate school, the resources here may be of use to you in addititon to visiting your academic advisor.

(Coming Soon)

Click above to visit the JMU homepage.

Click above to visit the CHBS homepage.

The CASHlab is housed within the Department of Psychology at JMU. Click above to visit the hoempage.

If you are interested in studying with the CASHlab for your masters degree, you may click above for more information about program.

Dr. Irons is currently accepting students.

Click above to find resources related to teaching.

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Jessica Irons                                                      Mentor

Noah Gustin                                                     Graduate Student

Caroline Sokol                                                  Graduate Student

Avery Knowlton                                                      Senior

Kaitlyn Egger                                                   Senior

Rachel Jones                                                     Junior

Some of the skills you will learn and practice as a member of this lab*:

  • study development

  • IRB preparation

  • behavioral data collection

  • cognitive/self-report data collection

  • biological data collection (breath, urine, saliva)

  • substance administration and monitoring

  • data analysis

  • presentation development and delivery

  • scientific writing

  • validity testing

  • and sometimes skills such as product design, sewing, and patience


*steps to becoming a baby angel research unicorn


The CASHlab collaborates with a number of lab alum, colleagues and students at other universities, and colleagues in healthcare and industry. 




38 Briana Craig - Eryn Donovan - Ashley
lab grad
lab awards
Awards Ceremony 2015
burger cake
Awards Ceremony 2009
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Jessica G. Irons

Miller Hall 1177


Phone: 540-568-6565

Fax: 540-568-3322 (attn: Irons)


James Madison University

Department of Psychology

MSC 7704

91 East Grace Street

Harrisonburg , VA 22807


Burruss Hall 334 and Miller Hall 1202

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"The data will prevail." -- George Bigelow

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