Social Psychology PhD Students

  Student   Affiliations Bio Research question (one per lab)
Vivienne Badaan Social Vivienne is a first year PhD student working primarily with Prof. John Jost. She received a BA in Psychology with a minor in Biology (2010), as well as an MA in Psychology (2012) from the American University of Beirut (AUB), her thesis focusing on prejudice against Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from an intergroup threat theory perspective. Prior to joining NYU, Vivienne was a research consultant at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, working on policy-related issues with the Participation and Social Justice section at the commission. She has written on political participation and social justice issues in the Arab region during and in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. She also taught Psychology at two major universities in Beirut, Lebanon. She is primarily interested in system justification in the Middle East, and religiosity as a system-justifying ideology. She is also broadly interested in the psychology of protest, collective action, and social change.
Jeffrey Berg Social Jeff is a first-year Ph.D. student. He received his B.A. in Cognitive Science and Political Science from Carleton College. Before coming to NYU, he spent two years as a research technician in the Memory & Cognition Lab at Washington University in St. Louis. At NYU, he hangs out in the Social Neuroscience Lab, and is interested in how we form, maintain, and change our attitudes in the consumer, moral, political, and social domains. How do different types of learning uniquely influence the formation of implicit and explicit attitudes? (with David Amodio)
William Brady Social Billy is a fourth-year Ph.D. student. Before NYU, he received his B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Then, he got an M.A. in "Neurophilosophy" from Georgia State University and was a visiting researcher in Stanford's affective science department. Billy is generally interested in how emotions regulate social interactions, particularly in the realm of morality. How do people influence each others' moral beliefs through emotion? (with Jay Van Bavel) Why do people seek negative emotion experiences? (with David Amodio)
Jeff Brooks Social Jeff Brooks is a third year PhD student at NYU working with Jon Freeman. He received his BA from Tufts University in 2012, after which he worked as a research assistant at Duke University and as a lab manager for Kristen Lindquist’s lab at UNC Chapel Hill. Jeff is interested in the neural mechanisms that support social cognitive influences on perception, particularly in the context of social categorization and emotion. His current focus is on individual and cultural differences in perceiving facial emotion expressions. How are social and cultural influences on emotion perception implemented in the brain?
Riana Brown Social My short bio: Riana is a first-year Ph.D. student working with Maureen Craig. Before NYU, she received her B.S. in Psychology and International Studies from the University of Miami. She then received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to study Psychology in the Netherlands and completed her M.S. in Social Psychology from Vrije University Amsterdam. She is broadly interested in the interplay of privilege and stigma on policy preferences and behavior. How do people cope with ingroup privileges when also a part of a stigmatized group? (with Maureen Craig)
Crystal Clarke Social Crystal is a ​fifth year doctoral student. She graduated from ​Amherst College​ in 2011 with a Bachelor's​ in Psychology. ​Her research interests include studying police-minority relations, unconscious bias, egalitarianism, stigmatized identities and how prejudice orchestrates intergroup relations. How do black youth respond to police stimuli? How do differences in ethnic identity influence perceptions of the police? (Pat Shrout and Eric Knowles)
Christina Crosby Social Christina first earned a BA in marketing from the University of Missouri - St. Louis and while working in the world of advertising became increasing interested in the underlying motivations behind people's behavior. She receiving her BA in psychology in 2013, and joined NYU's doctoral program fall of that year. She works primarily with Gabriele Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer to investigate the gap between intentions/desires and actual behavior, particularly the role of expectations. What factors interrupt the expectancy-motivation relationship; more specifically, how can people who have low expectations remain engaged with difficult but important goals?
Jenny DePierre Social Jenny grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University in 2010, after which she worked as a research assistant at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity studying weight stigma. She started her Ph.D. at NYU in 2012. Jenny is broadly interested in implicit bias in the context of intergroup anxiety and perceptions of socioeconomic status, as well as the role of social identity threat in intergroup relations and conflict. How do optimal distinctiveness threats to collective identity affect intergroup relations? (with Eric Knowles) How does intergroup anxiety affect attention and implicit bias? (with David Amodio) How do gender and obesity stereotypes affect perceptions of women in the workplace? (with Madeline Heilman)
Sarah DiMuccio Social Sarah DiMuccio is a second-year PhD student working with Eric Knowles and John Jost. She received her BA in Psychology from Dickinson college in 2015. She is broadly interested in manhood/masculinity and how its precarious nature may influence political attitudes and positions. In what ways does the precarious nature of manhood in today's society influence men's political stances, attitudes, and opinions?
Pia Dietze Social Pia was born and raised in Germany and she received a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2011. She began her PhD in the Fall of 2013, working primarily with Eric Knowles on topics related to social class, politics and intergroup relations. She also works with Maureen Craig investigating how the framing of social inequality (advantage vs disadvantage frames) influences attitudes, alliances, and collective action. How does our socioeconomic status/social class influence our cognitions, behaviors, and attitudes? How do social class cultures shape early information processing (e.g. attention, theory of mind, and face perception)? How do people make sense of intergroup disparities? How does the language we use to describe economic inequality shape if and how we take action?
Yasaman Ghodse-Elahi Social Yasaman is a first-year Ph.D. student at NYU, working primarily with Dr. Pat Shrout. She received her B.Sc. in Psychology with a minor in Buddhism and Mental Health from the University of Toronto in 2015. Yasaman is generally interested in bridging the gap between sex research and research on romantic relationships. How do couples navigate conflict resolution, social comparisons, and decision making in the context of sex in romantic relationships? (with Pat Shrout)
Shahrzad Goudarzi Social Shahrzad is a second-year Ph.D. student. She grew up in Tehran, Iran, and received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.She is broadly interested in ideology, tolerance of inequality, and social change. How do ideological beliefs regulate emotional responses to inequality and disadvantaged? (with Eric Knowles and John Jost)
Elizabeth Ann Harris Social Elizabeth is a first-year Ph.D. student. She received her B.Sc. in psychology from the University of Western Ontario in 2017. She is part of the Social Perception and Evaluation Lab, and is interested in studying moral cognition, with specific topics of interest including moral contagion and moral judgments. Additionally, she is interested in group cognition, including group identity and group influence. She is interested in utilizing a range of behavioral and neural techniques to study these topics. . Does one's group identity affect their perceived taste of ingroup-relevant foods and outgroup-relevant foods? (with Jay Van Bavel)
Anne Hill Social Anne graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in Psychology in the summer of 2012 before spending two years as a lab manager at the University of Oregon for Dr. Jennifer Pfeifer and Dr. Elliot Berkman. She entered the Social Psychology program at NYU in the fall of 2014 and primarily works in Dr. David Amodio's Social Neuroscience Lab. How do social class differences influence individuals’ basic social-cognitive functioning and early information processing (attention, perception, theory of mind)? How does social class shape lay theories, values, and self-contstruals? How can we measure social class and study it empirically? Overall, we take a cultural-psychological perspective of social class that traces the origins of class differences to divergent resource ecologies.
Alexa Hubbard Social Alexa received her B.A. from Columbia University in English literature and psychology. She is currently a PhD student working primarily with Yaacov Trope. What is the role of psychological distance in the the construal of mental simulations?
Mao Mogami Social Mao received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She started doctoral program at NYU in the fall of 2017, working with Dr. John Jost in the Social Justice Lab. Mao is broadly interested in social justice, morality, and political psychology. One of her research interests is examining effective interventions that can overcome the motivated information processing regarding social issues. She is also interested in expanding social justice research outside Western contexts (e.g., East Asian countries). How do people’s political ideology and system justifying beliefs affect their information processing regarding social issues? What can we do to overcome the motivated information processing?
Elizabeth Mutter Social Liz received her BA in Psychology from Amherst College in 2015. She is a second-year doctoral student at NYU working primarily with Peter Gollwitzer and Gabriele Oettingen. How can we use self-regulatory strategies such as MCII to promote thriving?
Melanie Langer Social Melanie received a B.S. in Psychology with a focus on Philosophy from Yale University and an M.A. in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University. She is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in John Jost's lab and is interested in how fundamental, motivational needs affect ideological orientation. How can the strategies described by attachment style be understood at the sociopolitical level to underlie ideological orientation? (John Jost, Social Justice Lab)
Ethan Ludwin-Peery Social Ethan received his B.A. in Cognitive Science from Hampshire College in 2013. Before coming to NYU he worked as a research assistant in Harvard’s Psychology Department with Professor Dan Gilbert, and at Harvard Business School with Professor Alison Brooks. He also worked as a data scientist in the research team of Broad Green Pictures. At NYU, he works primarily with Yaacov Trope. How are we able to quickly learn complex behaviors from limited information, particularly in terms of reasoning from examples? (With Yaacov Trope) Could a capacity for mental simulation explain our impressive physical reasoning ability, or do we make consistent errors that are incompatible with a simulation explanation? (With Todd Gureckis and Ernest Davis)
Francesca Manzi Social Francesca received her Psychology degree from Universidad Católica de Chile in 2007. From 2007 to 2010 she worked as research coordinator at MIDE UC, the research center for the psychology department at Universidad Catolica. In 2010, Francesca moved to New York to work in Dr. Madeline Heilman’s lab and in 2012 she began her Ph.D. in Social Psychology. Francesca is generally interested in stereotypes and prejudice, particularly in the case of gender. She works primarily with Dr. Heilman. How do gender-based expectations affect perceptions of competence for women in male-dominated fields? (with Madeline Heilman)
Yanitsa Toneva Social Yana is originally from Bulgaria, and she received her B.S. in psychology from Saint Peter’s University. She joined NYU as a first year doctoral student in the fall of 2014. How do motivation and self-regulation affect achievement? (with Peter Gollwitzer and Gabriele Oettingen)
Diego Reinero Social Diego is a third-year Ph.D. student and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow working with Dr. Jay Van Bavel. He received a double B.S. in Psychology and Business from Skidmore College in 2012. Diego is broadly interested in empathy and morality; he studies how we “click” with others in groups and how moral attitudes change. Currently, he is exploring the dynamics of group cohesion and whether group identification shapes neural synchrony and collective performance. He is also investigating how people’s attitudes about moral issues change and the unique features of moral persuasion. What makes us ‘click’ with others and how does that impact our collective abilities? How do our moral attitudes change?
Matthew T. Riccio Social Matt received his BA in Psychology from NYU in 2012. He then spent three years at Columbia University working with Professors Niall Bolger and Gertraud Stadler before returning to NYU to join the Social Psychology program in 2015. Matt is primarily interested in the social cognitive and perceptual processes that predict and promote effective health relevant self-regulation and goal pursuit. He is also interested in the ways that motivational states and social support processes can encourage individuals to act despite challenges to self-regulatory success. Matt works primarily with Professor Emily Balcetis, as well with Professors Pat Shrout and Yaacov Trope. How do individuals’ perceptual experiences influence both motivation and subsequent goal-relevant action? (with Emily Balcetis) What is the social regulatory role of interpersonal relationships and social support in health-related goal pursuit and/or behavior change? (with Pat Shrout)
John Sciarappo Social John graduated from Queens College, CUNY with a BA in Psychology and went on to earn an MA in General Psychology at NYU. In 2013, he began his PhD in Social Psychology at NYU. What influences the relative weight people give to social perception dimensions when deciding with whom to align themselves? (with Yaacov Trope and Eric Knowles)
Joanna Sterling Social Joanna Sterling received her BA at the University of Pittsburgh in both Psychology and International and Area Studies. Joanna is interested in how underlying cognitive and motivational differences between liberals and conservatives might manifest themselves in language. Her other research interests include system justification theory, stereotyping, and social perception. How do cognitive limitations in category formation influence individuals’ conceptions of political categories? (John Jost) How do non-elite political party members perceive the individuals who identify with the opposing party? How do these perceptions influence communication strategies? (Eric Knowles and Tessa
Anni Sternisko Social Anni is a second year PhD student working primarily with Yaacov Trope and Emily Balcetis. She grew up in Germany and received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Economics from the Ludwigs-Maximilians-University (LMU). Before pursuing her PhD, Anni worked as a research assistant at Columbia University with Prof. Adam Galinsky and at NYU with Prof. Adam Alter and Prof. Yaacov Trope. How do basic motivations, such as the need to predict and control events, influence how individuals perceive and interact with their social environment? For example, how do psychological distance and construal level influence the sense of agency and control and what are the implications for political judgment and action (with Yaacov Trope)? How do motivational states and cognitive styles influence voting decisions based on visual appearance of the candidates (with Emily Balcetis)?
Ben Stillerman Social Ben received a B.S. in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego before working as a research coordinator in Gina Kuperberg's NeuroCognition Lab at Tufts University and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a first year doctoral student working with Jonathan Freeman and David Amodio. How do stereotypes and prejudice influence how we place others into social groups? (Freeman) How do the various neural mechanisms behind intergroup bias rely on different types of long term memory? (Amodio)
Ryan Stolier Social Ryan Stolier applies behavioral and neuroimaging methods to study how we represent social perceptions and concepts. His research primarily concerns how bottom-up perceptual (e.g., face perception) and top-down social factors (e.g., stereotyping, prejudice) influence our social categorizations and trait impressions of others. See his website here for more information. question: How do social factors, such as stereotypes and motivations, impact the impressions we make of others? Face perceptions seamlessly leads to social categorizations (e.g., Black), and elicits common stereotypes about that category (e.g., Athletic). How are the various levels of this process hierarchically organized in the brain (e.g., visual face cues, social categories, stereotypes), and how do they dynamically interact neurally?
Susanna Stone Social Susanna received her BA in Psychology from the University of Southern California in 2013. After graduation she worked with Dr. Cheryl Wakslak in the Management and Organization department at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Susanna is a 2nd year doctoral student working with Dr. John Jost. She is interested in social systems, stereotypes, intersectionality, group-based identities (i.e., gender, race, social class, political ideology, etc.), and justifications of inequalities. Why (and how) do people justify and rationalize inequalities? What motivates support for the status quo? Why might people be motivated to endorse social systems that are personally disadvantageous?
Yana Toneva Social Yana received her B.S. in Psychology from St Peter’s University and joined the NYU Social Psychology program as a doctoral student in the fall of 2014. She works primarily with Madeline Heilman. How do people perceive successful women? When and why are intrapersonal relationships among women negative?
Timothy Jacob Valshtein Social Tim is a first year doctoral student working primarily with Peter Gollwitzer and Gabriele Oettingen in the the Motivation Lab. In 2014, he received a BA in Psychology with minors in Jewish Studies and Hebrew from Temple University. In 2016, he received an MA in Psychology from Wake Forest University, working with Cathy Seta and writing his thesis on regret as a self-regulatory system. Tim is also a freelance photographer and draws on his experiences behind the lens to inform his research. How does future thought affect the way people pursue and maintain romantic relationships? How can we utilize self-regulatory skills to improve sleep habits?
Qi Xu Social Qi was born and raised in China. Qi received her B.S. in Applied psychology from Shanghai Normal University in 2012. Then she began her master at NYU in the fall of 2012, primarily working with Dr. Pat Shrout in Couples Lab in projects related to cultural differences and social support provision. After receiving her M.A. in "general psychology" in 2014, she joined NYU's doctoral program fall of that year and continues to work with Pat. To what extent do people view their romantic relationship as a unit? To what extent do people identify themselves with their romantic relationship? How does the relationship entitativity impact people's social cognition, perception and behavior at the individual level and relationship level?
Julian Wills Social Julian is a fifth-year PhD student working with Dr. Jay Van Bavel. Before NYU, Julian graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Cognitive Science from the University of Virginia. Broadly speaking, his research draws on neuroimaging and social network methods to inform our understanding of prosocial behavior, morality, and ideology. Julian’s current projects investigate the neurocognitive processes that guide cooperation and moral cognition as well as the ways in which identity, ideology, and group norms shape these processes. What are the core neurocognitive processes that guide cooperation and how are they shaped by group-level phenomena (e.g., identity, ideology, and norms)? In what ways do emotion and ideology shape and constrain the diffusion of moralized information within social networks?
Marika Sylvie
Social Marika received her BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in the Spring of 2011. She entered the doctoral program in 2012, where she works with Pat Shrout and Yaacov Trope.  
How does the level of abstraction one uses to mentally represent close relationships affect relationship regulation processes and outcomes (e.g. conflict, support, satisfaction)? How can self-control in the context of close relationships be conceptualized as a dyadic, interpersonal process?

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