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Lab Director

 
Jon Freeman Jon Freeman, Ph.D. 

[Web] [Email] [CV]

Jon Freeman is Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University and director of the Social Cognitive & Neural Sciences Lab. He received his Ph.D. from Tufts University and was on the faculty at Dartmouth College before coming to NYU in 2014. Broadly, his research focuses on the cognitive and neural basis of person perception. He studies the mechanisms underlying basic ways we see and understand other people, including social categories and group membership, personality traits, and emotion. Specifically, his work examines how social dimensions are perceived from facial cues — in addition to vocal, bodily, and contextual cues — and how these lower-level sensory processes interact with higher-order social cognition and prior social and cultural knowledge to shape split-second perceptions. He is additionally interested in how cognitive and neural dynamics during initial perceptions predict downstream social behavior. He takes an integrative and multi-level approach in examining these phenomena, incorporating insights across social psychology and the cognitive, vision, and neural sciences. His studies use a wide range of methodologies, including brain-imaging, electrophysiology, real-time behavioral techniques, and computational modeling. He is also the developer of the data collection and analysis software, MouseTracker. His research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation.
 

 

Lab Manager
 

Xuan Zhang Xuan Zhang

[Email]

Xuan Zhang received her A.B. in Mathematics, cum laude, nutrition and health minor, from Cornell University in 2014. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Laboratory of Rational Decision Making with Dr. Reyna. She is interested in programming and data analysis, and plans to go to graduate school, possibly in biostatistics, after working with Jon Freeman. In her free time, she loves hiking and backpacking.


 

Post-doctoral Researchers
 

Eric Hehman
 
Eric Hehman, Ph.D.

[Web] [Email] [CV]

Eric Hehman is a post-doctoral researcher working with Jon Freeman at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in 2012 from the University of Delaware while working with Sam Gaertner. His research examines how evolutionary forces shaped the psychological mechanisms responsible for perceiving others, and how these mechanisms can manifest in modern-day social issues. He prefers to examine his research questions from multiple perspectives, utilizing various socio-cognitive, behavioral, physiological, and statistical approaches. In his free time, Eric travels as often and as broadly as possible.



 


 

Ph.D. Students
 

Ryan Stolier Ryan Stolier

[Email]

Ryan completed his MA in Social Psychology working with Melody Sadler at San Diego State University. He then began his PhD at Dartmouth College working with Jon Freeman, who he is continuing his doctoral training with at New York University. Ryan is broadly interested in the architecture and dynamics of systems underlying person perception, and how they are instantiated neurally. To investigate this, his research primarily examines top-down influences on face perception, such as how motivations and prior knowledge impact social category representation. His work applies both implicit behavioral and neural decoding methods to these questions.
 




 

Visiting Scholars
 

Marco Brambilla Marco Brambilla, Ph.D.

[Email] [Web]

Marco Brambilla is Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Milano-Bicocca who will join the Social Cognitive & Neural Sciences Lab as a visiting scholar in September 2014. He received his MSc in Psychology from the University of Milano-Bicocca and his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Bologna. His research is mainly concerned with social perception, social cognition, and intergroup relations, with a focus on the processing of the fundamental dimensions of social judgment (i.e., warmth and competence), the role of morality in the impression formation process, and stereotyping. At NYU, he will investigate how context and other top-down social factors influence real-time person and group perception.


 

Masters Student Research Assistants
 

Ryan Lisann Zahra Kadkhodaie

[Email]

Zahra received her B.Sc. in Physics before switching to psychology. She began her Masters in psychology at NYU in 2013. She is working in the lab as a research assistant and is interested in the underlying mechanisms of human judgment and how social context, motivation, and group membership influence perception and judgment. She is also interested in the neural and cognitive mechanisms involved in moral judgment and related psychological phenomena such as empathy, fairness, and prejudice.


 

 
Ryan Lisann Xi Shen

[Email]

Xi is a Masters student at NYU, majoring in psychology. She is working in the lab as a research assistant and is interested in face perception and its role in social cognitive processes. She's also interested in the broad area of how people perceive others implicitly, through texts and nonverbal cues. In her spare time, she likes cooking, watching movies in theaters and travelling.

 



 

Undergraduate Research Assistants
 

Ryan Lisann Stephen Spivack

[Email]

Stephen is a psychology and philosophy student from Chicago, Illinois. He is working in the lab as an undergraduate research assistant and is interested in studying the neural underpinnings of the social cognitive process of transference. Outside of NYU, he is interested in weightlifting and bodybuilding, playing the drum set, and spending time with the people he loves.

 


 

 
Ryan Lisann Leah Weingast

[Email]

Leah Weingast is a Brandeis undergraduate from Long Island, who plans to major in Neuroscience and Behavior or Cognitive Science. She is working at the lab as an undergraduate research assistant and is interested in the connections between motivation and visual processing. She has previously assisted with research in a health psychology lab, focusing on the impacts of stress on the immune system and in gene expression. In her free time she enjoys running, playing with her dog, and spending time with friends.

 


 

 
Ryan Lisann Zachary Mitnik

[Email]

Zachary Mitnik received his BA from Hampshire College in 2014, where he studied the social neuroscience of religion and spirituality. His thesis explored possible neurological differences between mindfulness meditation performed solo and with a partner. He is currently interested in religion's role in social identity/categorization and moral cognition. Outside of research, he enjoys board games, theater, and fencing.

 


 

 
Ryan Lisann Ying Xie

[Email]

Ying Xie is a psychology major currently in her sophomore year at Hunter College. She is interested in studying the neural circuits and biology involved in visual perception. In her free time, she enjoys photography and watching online lectures. She is also an avid mystery fan.

 


 

 
Ryan Lisann Ryan Lisann

[Email]

Ryan Lisann is an undergraduate at Dartmouth from Long Island, New York. He worked with Jon Freeman as an undergraduate research assistant at Dartmouth and will continue working with him at NYU during Summer 2014. He is very interested in learning about the relationship between visible perception and processing of these perceptions within the brain. He is on a pre-health track pursuing a major in Neuroscience. Outside of class, he is involved in MEDLIFE, a global health organization, and recently went to Ecuador to work in medical clinics. He also enjoys doing community service as part of both the Rotaract and ASPIRE clubs. In his free time he likes to play tennis, squash, rock climb and swim in the Connecticut.

 


 

 
Valerie Orellana Valerie Orellana

[Email]

Valerie is an undergraduate at Dartmouth from Los Angeles, California. She worked in the lab with Jon Freeman as an undergraduate research assistant at Dartmouth and will continue working with him at NYU during Summer 2014. She was selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Sophomore Science Scholar for the 2012-13 year. She is interested in researching about the real-time perception of race and gender. She will be majoring in psychology and possibly minoring in either French or Film. Outside of class, she swims as part of Dartmouth’s Varsity Swimming and Diving team. She also loves watching Criminal Minds and foreign films.

 


 

Lab Alumni
 
Zach Ingbretsen Zach Ingbretsen
Lab Manager

Zach graduated from Dartmouth College in 2011 with an A.B. in neuroscience with honors. After graduating, he was lab manager for Catherine Norris' social neuroscience lab, and then lab manager / research technician / software development assistant extraordinaire in Jon Freeman's lab. He is currently a research technician / software engineer in Mina Cikara's lab at Harvard.

  Jay Dumanian Jay Dumanian
Undergraduate Honors Student

Jay Dumanian was a psychology major at Dartmouth from Los Altos, California, who graduated in 2014. He completed an honors thesis in the lab, studying the effects of personality judgments on our mental representations of the faces of others.

 



 
Natalie Salmanowitz Natalie Salmanowitz
Undergraduate Honors Student

Natalie Salmanowitz was a neuroscience major and theater minor at Dartmouth from Menlo Park, California, who graduated in 2014. She completed her senior thesis project in the lab, exploring the neural basis of the facial width to height ratio and its impact on predictions of guilt. She is currently a Masters student at Duke.
  Jemin Park Jemin Park
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jemin Park is a neuroscience major at Dartmouth from Knoxville, Tennessee. He worked in the lab as an undergraduate research assistant and is interested in studying how the brain converts sensory information into definite perceptions of people.

 

 

Cartoon illustration at top-right by Danielle Laurenti.
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