The West Interpersonal Perception Lab


Principal Investigator

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Tessa West

Tessa is an Associate Professor at New York University. She has been at NYU since earning her PhD in Social Psychology at University of Connecticut in 2008. Her research focuses on understanding the nature and dynamics of human perception, in particular how we perceive others in cross-race interactions. Tessa's multi-method approach to studying dyadic- and group-level interactions balances real-world validity with the control of experimental settings.

Her CV can be found here


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Kate Thorson

Kate is a postdoctoral student in NYU's Social Psychology program. She graduated from Bates College with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in dance and worked as a lab manager at the University of California, San Francisco before attending graduate school. She earned her PhD in social psychology, with a minor in quantitative psychology, from NYU. She studies fundamental processes in interpersonal interactions. She examines the subtle and overt ways in which people convey their psychological experiences to others and how those communications influence their interaction partners. She asks questions such as: Do women engage with female peers in ways that differ from how they engage with male peers in math and science? When meeting someone from a different country, how does the knowledge that one’s partner is from a country that is richer or poorer than one’s own shape how quickly people “tune in” to their partners? She applies a multimethod approach to her research, capturing psychological, behavioral, and physiological processes as they naturally unfold over time to gain a comprehensive understanding of social interactions. Her website can be found here.

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Tina Sundelin

Tina got her PhD in psychology from Stockholm University in 2015, focusing on how sleep-deprived people are perceived by others. She is interested in the social effects of sleep loss and her current research explores social abilities and dyadic interactions following insufficient sleep. Her postdoc is in collaboration with Tessa West at NYU and John Axelsson at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

PHD Students

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Diego Reinero

Diego is a 4th year Ph.D. student and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow who studies how people connect with and understand the experience of others. His primary line of research explores how people's brainwaves synchronize with others during social interactions and what it means (e.g., a shared experience) and what it might predict (e.g., enhanced group performance). Reinero also does some meta-science work on psychology's "replication crisis”, and is interested in how people’s attitudes about moral issues develop and change. His Twitter handle is @diegoareinero and his CV can be found here.

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Oana Dumitru

Oana graduated from NYU with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Math and Computer Science, and is now a first year student in the Social Psychology Ph.D. program at NYU. She is broadly interested in how interpersonal interactions are influenced by social factors, such as social status and group identity. Furthermore, she is interested in how social hierarchies can be disrupted and in how such disruptions could affect behavioral outcomes of individuals within groups.Her CV can be found here.

Lab Managers

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Dory Gurinsky

Dory is a Senior from Austin Texas majoring in Psychology. She has been working as an RA in the lab since her Sophomore year and transitioned into the lab manager position in the summer of 2018. She is really interested in learning how situational influences affect interactions between people and how our perceptions shape our real-world behavior.

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Allie Degen

Allie is a Senior at NYU majoring in Psychology with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies (CAMS). She has been working in the lab since her Junior year and transitioned into the lab manager position in the summer of 2018. In addition to working at the West Lab, Allie also works at the NYU Family Translational Research Group (FTRG). She is especially interested in how stress and dominance behaviors can affect interpersonal relationships, particularly in adolescents.

Research Assistants

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Eliana Aronson

Eliana is a junior at NYU Gallatin concentrating in Psychology and Criminal justice with a focus on mass incarceration in the United States. Eliana has been working with the West Lab since the summer of 2016, and intends to apply a forensic lens to the study of interpersonal dynamics.

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Caroline Grace Zemsky

Caroline is a Junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Public Health. She spent her freshman year in London where she became increasingly aware of the global aspects of social psychology and brain science. Her recent summer research at the IASLab at Northeastern University further spurred her interest in psychology through her work using EEG and fEMG tools. Caroline is especially interested in focusing on the successful diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders.

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Stephanie Hauck

Stephanie is a Senior at NYU majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies and Web Programming. She has been working in the lab since her Junior year and will be completing her honors thesis on the effects of sleep loss on negotiation behaviors this year. She is interested in the factors that impact our perception of others and our willingness to work with them.

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Max Needle

This is Max’s third year at NYU and at the West Interpersonal Perception Lab. Max is a Psychology Major with a Business Studies Minor and a Joint Minor in Mathematics and Computer Science. He is interested in conducting organizational psychology research around such topics as motivation, emotion, culture, and feedback.  

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Mari Sophia Otsu

Mari is an NYU undergraduate student from Maunawili, Hawaii engaging in a triple major in Global Liberal Studies, Psychology, and French, with minors in Studio Art and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. Her interests are diverse, and include the acquisition and utilization of social categorization, social stereotyping and prejudice, how language can be used as a cultural input, and the ways in which perceptions of future potential mates change with each new experience with a significant other. Mari would like to go on to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she loves to hike, paint, draw, sculpt, and swim.

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Trisha Gupta

Trisha is a Sophomore on the Pre-Medicine track in the College of Arts and Science at NYU majoring in English and American Literature and double minoring in Chemistry and Public Health. Her psychology research in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science and volunteering experiences at the NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center sparked her interest in interpersonal dynamics. She is new to the West Lab this year, and as a student combining passions for communication and science, she is excited to deepen her knowledge of the intersection between psychological and physiological processes – especially in relation to real-world human interactions.

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Anna Nguyen

Anna Nguyen is a rising senior at NYU majoring in Psychology and Musical Theater. She is currently looking towards graduate school to further her studies in Psychology. Anna hopes to garner a further understanding of the perceptions and motivations behind people's actions.

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Casey Hoffman

Casey Hoffman is a senior majoring in Psychology with a minor is Child & Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She is also in the accelerated BA/MA program in General Psychology. She is interested in research involving how people make judgements and decisions regarding others, especially in regards to stereotyping and prejudice, and how identity influences this. This is her first year as a research assistant in the West Lab.

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Winnie Chang

Winnie is a Senior at NYU from Taiwan majoring in Psychology with minors in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies (CAMS) and Media, Culture, and Communication (MCC). She is interested in research involving the perception and judgment of others, and would like to learn more about how interpersonal interactions influence identity. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in psychology in the near future. 

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Carly Stern

Carly is entering her senior year at New York University. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies and American Sign Language. She is hoping to enter a Psyd program next fall to study clinical psychology! Carly worked at Child Mind Institute this summer as a counselor in the Summer Treatment Program and is a Program Assistant on the Selective Mutism and PCIT tracks. She can’t wait to get started in the lab!

Past Lab Members

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Gaelin Bernstein

Gaelin graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in Criminology and Data Analytics and a minor in Computer Science in 2018. She joined the West Lab in January 2015 as a Research Assistant, and transitioned into the position of Lab Manager in Fall 2016. Last year she completed her Honors Thesis in Psychology on how gender affects individuals' attitudes towards deviance. She is now working as a technology analyst at the Manhattan District Attorneys office.

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Kim Bourne

Kim was the lab manager of the West Lab from 2016-2017 after she graduated from Colby College in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish. She is now working as the Lab Manager for Jessica Good at Davidson College and is hoping to attend a graduate program in social psychology in the near future.

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Chadly Stern

Chadly is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research examines how the motivations of liberals and conservatives influence their perceptions of the social world, and how these perceptions can shape large-scale outcomes. His website is

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Odile Rodrik

Odile received her BA in psychology from New York University in 2016, where she worked as an RA and lab manager in Dr. Tessa West's Interpersonal Perception Lab. During her time in the lab, she focused mainly on the effects of appearance-based judgments in STEM. After graduation, she worked as lab manager at the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at Columbia University with Dr. Kevin Ochsner. While there, she conducted fMRI and behavioral studies that investigated emotion regulation strategy efficacy and choice in healthy and clinical populations. In Fall 2018 she will begin as a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at the University of Wisconsin where she will apply this line of work to psychopathic populations.

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Emily Badin

Emily was the lab manager and an Honor's student at the West lab from 2014-2015. She graduated from NYU in 2015 with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies (CAMS). She is currently the CAMS Program Advisor and Grand Rounds Coordinator at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. In the fall of 2017 she will be pursuing a PsyD at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Studies (GSAPP) at Rutger's University. At GSAPP, she will be working with Dr. Brian Chu, studying assessment and treatment of anxiety and depression disorders in youth, with a special emphasis on the dissemination of evidence-based practice, mechanisms of change, and transdiagnostic approaches to understanding youth disorders.

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Danusha Selva Kumar

Danusha Selva Kumar was a Research Assistant at the West lab from 2014 - 2015. At the West lab, she completed an independent research project through the Dean's Undergraduate Research Fund. She graduated from NYU in 2015 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Child & Adolescent Mental Health Studies. Since graduating, Danusha has been a Research Coordinator at CASPIR, an addictions lab at Northwell Health. At CASPIR, she worked on multiple randomized controlled trials on individuals looking to reduce alcohol use, as well as technology-based interventions. In the Fall of 2018, Danusha will begin her PhD in Clinical Psychology program at Fordham University. At Fordham, she will be working with Dr. Haruka Minami, researching novel interventions for smoking cessation particularly among vulnerable and underserved populations.

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Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon was lab manager of the West Lab from 2011-2012 after completing her undergraduate thesis at NYU with Dr. West, entitled "A little similarity goes a long way: The effects of peripheral but self-revealing similarities on improving and sustaining interracial relationships." She received her Master of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard. T. H. Chan School of Public Health in 2014, and is currently a doctoral student in Health Services Research at Brown University studying healthcare reform and Medicaid policy.

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Lindy Gullet

I'm currently running my family's winery, Vino Noceto. We are located in Amador County in California. I use my degree every day. Not only did my research focus on managing diverse work groups, which I now do every day, but while working in Tessa's lab, I got a lot of experience overseeing and mentoring undergraduate researchers. Plus, knowing about psychology has given me a huge leg up when I'm making marketing choices, and I still use mturk to run surveys and test products! My website is