We encourage our students to pursue their intellectual passions and master both traditional and innovative research methods.
Our students have received the following honors:
- Awards and Honorable Mentions from the NSF Graduate Research Fellows Program
- Harold K. Schilling Dean's Graduate Scholarship
- Geis Memorial Award
- Clara Mayo Grant from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Fellowship
- APA Travel Award and Society for Personality and Social Psychology Travel Award
- Psi Chi Graduate Research Grant
- The following Penn State Awards: Africana Research Center Award, Awards for excellence in the PSU Graduate Student Exhibition, Graduate Scholar Award, Liberal Arts RGSO Dissertation Support Award, Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award, and the Welch Nagle Award
They have also been selected to attend the Summer Institute in Social and Personality Psychology and the International Summer School in Affective Sciences.
Our Current Students:
Dan works with Dr. Reg Adams in the Social Vision and Interpersonal Perception Lab. Broadly, his interests include emotion perception and emotion theory, links between person perception and psychophysiology, and the intersection of social psychology and vision science. One of his specific interests involves examining subtle emotion cues on the neutral face, and how the perception of a neutral face can change impression formation.
Julia Dahl studies social group identities and related processes. Primarily she studies the ways in which belonging to a social group influences important life outcomes (e.g., achievement, engagement in health-promoting and pro-social behaviors). Julia’s research examines related processes from two perspectives. First, she studies biases and prejudice people have towards certain group members. For example, when do gender and race-based stereotypes affect the achievement-related opportunities others give to women and underrepresented minority members? Second, she studies how stereotypes and identities shape people's own behavior. For example, how do gender stereotypes about men affect their achievement motivation or pro-environmental engagement?
- Jonathan Gallegos
I see myself as a psychologist who is interested in understanding interpersonal conflict. Within this research umbrella I seek to understand two unique domains. The first encompasses work on identity, stereotyping, and power dynamics. My current work has focused mostly on examining masculinity as an identity, both in terms of men’s responses to personal transgressions of masculine etiquette (i.e., when they lose their “good man” status), and examining variations in the conceptualization of masculinity. The second domain involves understanding emotion and how it functions within the framework of interpersonal conflict. For instance, understanding the shapes stigma can take, how it is delivered (e.g., implicitly), how people affectively respond, and the influence of that affect within interactions.
I am a member of the Social Vision and Interpersonal Perception Laboratory at Penn State. At the current time, my research focuses on the manner by which people extract various different facial cues from faces to form a holistic impression of other people. In particular, I study cross-group perceptions of facial cues and the effects of intersectional statuses (e.g., age, gender, race, sexual orientation) on perceptual accuracy. I also have an interest in expanding my methods for measuring human behavior to include social cognitive affective neuroscience methodology.
- Nathan Geiger
Nathan is a graduate student working with Dr. Janet Swim to save the world. He is interested in studying psychological reactions to and engagement with climate change and other current environmental issues. As "wicked problems," many of these topics will require enormous human engagement to address but psychological and social mechanisms may act as barriers to prevent meaningful engagement with these topics. Facilitating engagement with these topics and positive social change requires conducting research to understand and overcome psychosocial barriers to action. Please visit my personal webpage for more information on my work. Nathan grew up in Austin, TX and still enjoys natural swimming holes, Tex-Mex food, the occasional cheap beer, and indie rock music. He also enjoys urban farming, cycling, hiking, playing guitar, practicing Spanish, and hanging out with friends who have dogs.
Ash is broadly interested in how people perceive and interact with the natural environment. Ash's current interests include 1) psychological processes involved in responding to changes in the natural environment due to climate change and environmental disasters, 2) how identity, motivation, and social norms influence pro-environmental behavior, and 3) interventions to promote pro-environmental behavior. Ash works with Janet Swim and is currently a Graduate Research Fellow at Mt. Cuba Center studying how to increase biodiversity in suburban areas through changes in residential landscapes and sustainable landscaping practices.
- Lizbeth Kim
Lizbeth is a graduate student working under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Shields. She is broadly interested in how gender and emotion stereotypes elicit prejudice in daily contexts. Specifically, she hopes to explore interventions towards gender and racial discrimination in the context of technology and the media. In her spare time, Lizbeth enjoys watching movies, jamming on the guitar, and hanging out with her cat.
Katie’s research interests include gender, sexism, stigma, close relationships and self. She works with Dr. Terri Vescio. Katie received her B.S. in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 2013 and worked as a lab manager for Dr. Jenny Crocker before beginning graduate school.
Heather MacArthur is a student in the dual-title Social Psychology and Women’s Studies PhD program and is advised by Stephanie Shields. Her research examines how beliefs about emotion are gendered (e.g., how do gender stereotypes influence our perceptions of others’ emotion?), the consequences of sexist language and humor (e.g., what impact do sexist language and jokes have on women and men?), and feminist history and theory in psychology. When not in the lab, Heather is usually seeking out live music, finding new art projects to work on, growing food, or making her best attempt to visit home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Kaitlin McCormick is graduate student working with Dr. Stephanie Shields toward a dual-title Ph.D. in Psychology and Women’s Studies. She studies how people’s perceptions of others are influenced by the social group memberships of those being evaluated. In particular, she is interested in how women’s emotions are perceived in domains such as science and leadership. She is most interested in developing both individual- and societal-level interventions (e.g., WAGES) to combat bias.
Broadly, I study how emotions influence information processing and behavior. I use appraisal and affect-as-information theories of emotion to predict how different emotions arise, facilitate patterns of behavior, and influence the way people make meaning of the world around them, especially in the context of climate change outcomes, risk-perception, and persuasion. With Dr. Karen Gasper I've examined the role of moods in creativity, neutral affect, and how hope and optimism influence motivation and thinking about the future. I'm also interested in the emotions that arise in response to identity-relevant social situations, for example, how advocates respond to others' indifference toward their cherished cause.
Hyun Joon Park
Hyun Joon is interested in questions related to how social identity threats influence individuals from stigmatized social groups. Broadly, Hyun Joon's research focuses on 1) how belonging to a certain group (e.g. based on social status, gender, and race) leads group members to experience social identity threat; 2) how perceptions of stigmatization towards one's group influences psychological well-being and how individuals come to self-perceptions; 3) how to reduce the impact that stigma has upon group members; and 4) whether individuals who belong to different cultures differentially construct and cope with social identity threats. Hyun Joon works with Dr. Jonathan Cook and he graduated from Korea University with a double major in psychology and economics.
Michael researches the psychological and interpersonal consequences of negative stereotypes as they affect people from various stigmatized social groups. In particular, Michael seeks to extend social psychological theory on identity threat and stigma to include the study of religion and religious group membership. Michael is also interested in using longitudinal field-study methods to develop and test interventions designed to buffer individuals from social identity threats and their consequences. Michael works with Dr. Jonathan Cook, is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and is a graduate of Bates College. For more information, please see Michael's personal website.
- Julian Scheffer
Julian is broadly interested in how motivation shapes moral behavior and moral judgment. He is currently interested in the following areas: 1) Self-regulation of empathic responding using a motivated empathy framework, 2) Motivational factors that cause people to engage in prosocial or antisocial forms of behavior, and 3) Motivational processes that lead people to adopt moral and non-moral frames when judging the actions of others. Throughout his work, Julian adopts methods from social psychology and social neuroscience approaches including neuropsychology and electrophysiology.
- Lauren Spencer
Lauren works with Karen Gasper in the Feelings, Behavior, and Information Processing lab studying affect and emotion. She is interested in the ways people regulate their mood- both consciously and unconsciously. Current projects examine how knowing an unpleasant task has to be done twice changes the initial task experience and how commiserating with others might make people feel better.
- Troy Steiner
I am working with Dr. Reginald Adams Jr. to research the influence of facial expressions and facial cues between social identities (i.e., sex and race) on person perception and perceptual mechanisms. Clearer understanding of the perceptual mechanisms involved in face perception can transform our understanding of social perception and clarify many everyday difficulties in face perception (e.g., the cross-race memory effect, and the increased difficulty to identify cross-group expressions). I am enrolled in the Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) program and the use of various neuroscience methodologies (e.g., fMRI, MEG) can help elucidate the lateralized differences in face perception. Once more is understood, my future aims are to study methods to alleviate these common difficulties. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, running, ocean-kayaking, and playing the devil’s advocate in debates.
My research mainly focuses on how social constructions of masculinity are related to men’s harassment of and discrimination against women. Given the rampant harassment of women who participate in video game domains, I’m currently researching how threats to masculinity and endorsement of traditional masculinity norms affect men’s responses to women who play, develop, and critique video games. I spend most of my free time playing guitar and, not surprisingly, video games.