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, and her CV can be found here.

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 second 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. Her current line of research aims to explore how newcomers become integrated into groups and under what circumstances they can influence group decision-making. She is further interested in what factors determine how much variability individuals show in their perceptions of others' rank in the social hierarchy. Her CV can be found here.

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Ashley Berkebile-Weinberg

Ashley Berkebile-Weinberg is a graduate student at NYU. She received her Master’s from San Diego State University, California and is interested in studying intergroup interactions and relations. Specifically, her work focuses on interracial and intraminority friendships and race-related discussions, along with relevant perceptual, categorical, and group processes. Ashley aims to apply her work to address social issues, and is involved with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Consortium of Social Science Associations which aim to connect research with public policy. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hip-hop, ballet, and collective/contact dancing, as well as finding fun and artistic community events to explore. Her CV can be found here.

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Kareena del Rosario

Kareena is a first year doctoral student in the Social Psychology program at NYU. Prior to joining NYU, she received her B.A. in psychology from San Francisco State University and worked as the lab manager in the UCSF Emotion, Health and Psychophysiology Lab under Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes. Broadly, she is interested in understanding how social connection impacts health and well-being and exploring the role of biological factors, like autonomic physiology and sleep, in our interactions. She is particularly interested in investigating empathy in intergroup contexts and understanding how physiological responses provide insight into how we interpret and respond to our social environment. Her CV can be found here.

Lab Manager

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Mari Sophia Otsu

Mari is a senior majoring in Global Liberal Studies (with a concentration in Arts & Literatures), Psychology, and French, with minors in Studio Art and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She is the Vice President of NYU Psi Chi and works as a research assistant in the Trope Lab. Over the summer, Mari interned in Dan Gilbert's lab, contributing to research on the common illusions we have about the world. Her interests lie at the intersection of history, culture, psychology, writing, and art. Born and raised in Hawaii, Mari is especially interested in grappling with themes of post-war and intergenerational trauma, multiethnic identity, and mental health in the Asian Pacific Islander diaspora. Outside of academia, she loves to read, go to galleries and museums, see plays, hike, swim, and create art.

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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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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Celeste Nsubayi

Celeste is a rising senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Chemistry and Religious Studies. She has always wanted to be a doctor, but after watching a number of crime shows, she also developed a passion for behavioral analysis and criminology. Having decided to pursue both of these passions, she got on the pre-health track, with hopes of one day becoming a Criminal Psychiatrist.

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Casey Stern

Casey is a 3rd year Psychology major and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Studies minor. She intends to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and work in a clinical setting, focusing on behavioral treatment for internalizing and externalizing disorders in children and adolescents. Her other interests include self-perception, social comparison, and the relationship between health practices, perceived self-efficacy, and achievement. Outside of the lab, Casey enjoys baking, avoiding her GRE prep, and bringing her love of psychology to her sorority's philanthropic cause, the Women's Wellness Initiative..

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Sol Anh

Sol is a senior at NYU studying Applied Psychology in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is interested in many areas of research including individual productivity within groups, motivation and performance, how music affects emotions, and how bilinguals perceive and express their thoughts and emotions through different languages. In the future, she would like to pursue a career in Industrial Organizational Psycholog

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Charlotte Standefer

Charlotte is a Senior majoring in Classics and minoring in Creative Writing. She discovered her interest in Psychology after taking an Intro to Psych class her Junior year and since has spent much of her personal and academic time learning more about social psychology. After graduating from NYU, she will pursue either a PhD or MSW. Ultimately, she hopes to work with adolescents using an integrative approach that emphasizes mindfulness. In her free time, she does yoga, reads, and watches reality TV with her cats.

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Songzhi (Era) Wu

Era is a senior studying Sociology, Philosophy and Psychology at NYU. She is interested in social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, quantitative methods in social sciences, moral psychology, philosophy of science and philosophy of mind. She intends to write her senior thesis on the topic of stereotype threat.

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Kathryn Lau Chin

Kathryn Chin is a senior at NYU pursing a major in Psychology with minors in Chemistry and American Sign Language. She is interested in the intersection of psychology and the medical field; specifically, how implicit racial biases affect treatment and patient/physician interactions. Outside the lab, Kathryn enjoys playing the piano and traveling.

Past Lab Members

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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.

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Dory Gurinsky

Dory graduated from NYU with a BA in Psychology. She worked as an RA in the lab since her Sophomore year and transitioned into the lab manager position in the summer of 2018. Currently, Dory is a Leadership Consultant for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. For the next school year, she is going to be traveling to different universities across the country to work with student leaders in the sorority and university administrators. She hopes to continue on to a career in higher education.

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Allie Degen

Allie graduated from NYU CAS in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She joined the West Lab as a research assistant in the summer of 2017 and transitioned into the lab manager position in 2018. During her senior year, she completed her honors thesis in psychology, in which she studied how race and power interact to affect perceptions of behavioral dominance. She is now working as a 5th and 6th grade science teacher through Teach For America in the South Coast region of Massachusetts.

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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 is an assistant professor in the department of Health Law, Policy, and Management at the Boston University School of Public Health. She received her doctorate in Health Services Research from the Brown University School of Public Health in the health economics concentration. Her research interests are in healthcare access and quality, policies that impact vulnerable populations, and health insurance. She is the recipient of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) R36 Dissertation Award, the Brown University Public Health Impact Award, and is a 2019 AcademyHealth/VHA Office of Health Equity Scholar. She holds a Master of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

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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