Social Psychology PhD Students

  Student   Affiliations Bio Research question (one per lab)
Janet Ahn Social Janet was born in Queens, New York and received her B.A. in Psychology (minored in Religion and Political Science) at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her interest in social psychology was piqued as she conducted research with former graduate student of Dr. Walter Mischel, Ethan Kross, on emotion regulation. With her mentors, Gabriele Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer, her research focuses on nonconscious goal pursuit, more specifically putting emphasis on a phenomenon called goal projection, which is the naïve assumption that another shares one's personal goal. In her leisure time, she enjoys biking with her husband and training for a triathlon next summer! How does projecting one's goals (i.e. assuming another shares your person goal) facilitate (or hamper) interpersonal relations?
William Brady Social Billy is a first-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 automatic and perceptual processes such as visual attention can affect emotion generation, perception and regulation (and vice versa).  He also thinks about what emotions really are on the side. How might visual attention biases in emotion perception predict relationship conflict? (with Emily Balcetis).  What is the precise role of attention in models of emotion regulation?
Crystal Clarke Social I was born in Brooklyn, NY and received my BA in Psychology from Amherst College in Spring 2011. I am currently a first year doctoral student working primarily with Tessa West. My research interests include exploring how implicit/explicit stereotypes and prejudices orchestrate intergroup relationships. Can the racial homogeneity of liberal, egalitarian movements inadvertently lead to more racial inequality via implicit re-conceptualizations of race and inequality? (Tessa West and Eric Knowles)
Shana Cole Social Shana is a 3rd year student in the Social Psychology Doctoral Program at NYU.  Before graduate school, she received her B.A. in Psychology from The College of New Jersey and worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania. Shana’s research primarily focuses on the sources, functions, and consequences of biased visual perception. In particular, she studies how people’s perceptions are biased in accordance with their active goals and motivations in ways that ultimately may aid self-regulation.  How do people perceive the world around them when they have strong psychological goals but lack the physical resources to act on them?  Are perceptions biased in ways that assist in managing this conflict? (with Emily Balcetis)  Is perception sensitive to the affective signals emitted by objects in the environment, particularly those signals that suggest action is needed?  (with Emily Balcetis)  Can visual biases reduce the motivational strength of temptations, helping to enable perceivers to stay on track to their long-term goals?  (with Emily Balcetis and Yaacov Trope)
Jenny DePierre Social

Jenny grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University in 2010. She spent 2 years working at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity studying weight stigma, and started her Ph.D. at NYU in the fall of 2012. Jenny is broadly interested in prejudice and stigma from the perspective of both the target and the perceiver, as well as in how perceived discrimination contributes to ill health.

How does intergroup anxiety affect the expression of racial bias? (with David Amodio)

Seth Dickinson Social Seth Dickinson received his BA in Psychology from the University of Chicago, and began PhD work at NYU in 2012. He is interested in the control of automaticity, particularly in the context of racial bias and police shootings.   
Ana Gantman Social Ana received her B.A. in Philosophy from Harvard University in the Spring of 2010. She began her PhD at NYU in the Fall of the same year, working primarily with Peter Gollwitzer and Gabriele Oettingen.  Given that one of the differences between conscious and nonconscious goal pursuit is awareness of the goal intention, what consequences does realizing that our actions are unexplainable by our explicit intentions have?  What role does motivation play in the perception of moral events? 
Yael Granot  Social Yael received her B.A. in psychology from Vassar College. She is currently a 2nd year doctoral student working primarily with Emily Balcetis. How do our group identifications influence our visual perceptions of the environment? What are the consequences of such visual biases on legal decision-making? (with Emily Balcetis). 
Lindy Gullett Social Lindy graduated from Pomona College in 2009 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in mathematics. She is a second year graduate student at NYU working primarily with Tessa West, and in her free time, Lindy likes to play volleyball in Central Park. How can simple interpersonal manipulations (e.g. expectations of similarity, trust, and reciprocity) improve same-race and cross-race interactions? (with Tessa West) Under what conditions do we apply female stereotypes to males? (with Tessa West and Madeline Heilman) What underlies the positive effects of sharing a common identity? (with Jay Van Bavel and Tessa West)
Leor Hackel Social Leor received his BS in Neuroscience & Behavior from Columbia University and began his PhD in Social Psychology at NYU in 2011. Leor is interested in how social identity, context, and motivation impact social perception, at cognitive and neural levels of analysis. How do motivation and social identity impact how we attribute minds to others (with Jay Van Bavel)?
Erin Hennes Social Prior to arriving in New York, Erin majored in Music, Psychology, and Liberal Arts & Management at Indiana University. She is currently a 5th-year doctoral student working primarily with John Jost. How does the motivation to justify existing socioeconomic arrangements influence how we perceive, process, and respond to information (with John Jost)? Does stare decisis serve system justifying goals within the American legal system (with Tom Tyler and John Jost)? How does the perceived reciprocity of self-disclosure influence intimacy in close relationships (with Pat Shrout)?
  Sylviane Houssais Social   How do people set realistic goals and pursue them successfully? (with Gabriele Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer)
Stefan Huynh Social Stefan was born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT. He received his B.S. in Mathematics and Psychology from the University of Utah in 2012 and began at NYU the same year, working primarily with Emily Balcetis. He is interested in how information-processing mechanisms affect decision-making and self-regulation. Stefan spends the majority of his free time swing dancing. What are the information-processing precursors to impulsive behavior and how can these be adjusted to promote self-control? (with Emily Balcetis) How does motivation influence visual perception to promote goal pursuit? (with Emily Balcetis)? How do mindsets affect decision-making processes (with Yaacov Trope)?
David Kalkstein Social David received his BA in sociology and psychology from Cornell University in 2011. He is a first year graduate student at NYU working primarily with Yaacov Trope. Why do people behave in ways that are inconsistent
with their own overarching goals and interests? (with Yaacov Trope and John Jost) How do mindsets and target of focus impact perception? (with Yaacov Trope and Emily Balcetis)
Margarita Krochik Social Margarita Krochik is a Ph. D. student in social and personality psychology at New York University. She received her B.A. in interdisciplinary social sciences at the University of Virginia. Her research investigates the dynamics of attitudes and belief systems within individuals, relationships, and cultures/societies. She is particularly interested in understanding the interplay of cognitive and relational factors in political behavior, ideological conviction, attitude structure, and response to social influence.   What basic processes of motivated cognition are involved in the adoption of an ideology, and how do such individual tendencies interact with interpersonal contexts to shape ideological outcomes? What are the interpersonal, intergroup, and societal consequences of ideological conflict (and consensus)? (with John Jost) Do perceptions of conflict or bias in the decision-making processes employed in various government bodies (e.g. Congress, the Supreme Court) shape how effective, important, and legitimate the public perceives these bodies to be? (with Tom Tyler) What role does psychological distance play in how political ideology is mentally represented, structured, and translated into decisions and behavior in political and non-political contexts? (with Yaacov Trope)
Amy Krosch Social Amy uses behavioral and physiological measures to examine how situational and motivational factors exacerbate racial inequality and how they shift the perceptual criterion used to determine group membership. Her long-term goal is to inform interventions aimed at reducing racial disparities in socio-economic outcomes. Before beginning graduate school, she received her BS in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Later she researched behavioral decision making at Columbia University with Professors Elke U. Weber and Eric J. Johnson and Dr. Bernd Figner, specifically investigating the neural underpinnings of intertemporal choice.

How does threat influence intergroup decision making and perception of group boundaries (with David Amodio and Tom Tyler)? How does ideological motivation influence race categorization (with Jay Van Bavel, John Jost and David Amodio)? Do stereotypes influence the low-level visual processing of the object of those stereotypes (with David Amodio)?

Sean Lane Social Sean received a B.S. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.A. in quantitative methods from Columbia University before beginning his Ph.D. at NYU in 2007. He is currently in his fifth year in the Social Psychology Program and is broadly interested in quantitative models of emotional experience and communication.

How do intimate couples come to co-regulate their moods over time, and what determines which partner has more influence in these coupled regulatory systems? (with Pat Shrout) How does being distant from our significant others, in time, space, or social status, affect our evaluations of them? (with Yaacov Trope) How do people's ideological beliefs influence their perceptions of risk through concurrent and reconstructed emotional experience? (with John Jost)"

  Anesu Mandisodza Social   How do people perceive, interpret and respond to threatening and/or changing social systems?
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)
Hannah Nam   Hannah received her B.A. in Psychology from Wesleyan University in 2008. She began her PhD in 2010, working primarily with John Jost. What are the psychological mechanisms and motivations that underlie both resistance to and support for change, especially under circumstances in which the existing social, economic, and political arrangements are characterized by inequality and intergroup conflict (with John Jost)? What are the neuro-cognitive correlates of political ideology, attitudes, and behaviors (with John Jost and Jay Van Bavel)?
  Polina Potanina Social   How do the automatic components of racial and gender bias interact with consciously-held beliefs about such biases? (with David Amodio)
How do such biases help perpetuate the hierarchical structure of society? (with John Jost)
Elizabeth Przybylinski Social Liz Przybylinski is in her fifth year in the Social Psychology Doctoral Program at NYU. She was a psychology (and philosophy) major at Barnard College, where she worked with Dr. Eshkol Rafaeli on research related to emotion regulation, and support and hindrance in interpersonal relationships, as well Dr. Barbara Woike on implicit motivation and memory. After college she spent two years working as a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Mailman School of Public Health Division of Substance Abuse under Dr. Deborah Hasin. Does the process of transference (how past and present relationships with significant others influence new relationships) serve meaning-making functions? Does the shared reality/meaning system that one has with a significant other part of the transference process? How can individuals effectively regulate the influence of past and present relationships with significant others on new relationships? (Susan Andersen)
Lindsay Rankin Social Lindsay received her BA in Psychology from Northwestern University where she worked with Alice Eagly. At NYU she has worked with Tom Tyler and is currently working with John Jost. Do people both low in explicit or outward endorsement of system justification still have similar motivations - do they show reactions to system threat; do they use different methods to respond to or cope with such threats (with John Jost)?
Jennifer Ray Social

Jenny received her BA in psychology and political science from Williams College and began her PhD in Social Psychology at NYU in 2009.  She is broadly interested in studying the psychology of morality, punishment, and legal decision-making. In her research, Jenny tries to understand the antecedents and consequences of moral outrage.

How does the inducement of moral (versus non-moral) evaluative modes impact reactions to taboo-tradeoffs and punitive judgments? (with Jay Van Bavel) How do role assignments and framing enhance or attenuate affective reactions in the context of legal decision-making? (with Jay Van Bavel & Dominic Packer) How do descriptive and prescriptive gender stereotypes impact perceptions of guilt and assigned punishment? (with Madeline Heilman) What triggers the ascription of evilness in perpetrators of harms and what are the consequences of its ascription to retributive and procedural justice concerns? (with Tom Tyler)

Katherine Reilly Social Kate earned her B.A. in Psychology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, in 2010. Upon graduation, she joined the Emotion, Health and Psychophysiology Lab, directed by Wendy Berry Mendes, where she worked for a year as the lab manager. She entered the doctoral program at NYU in the fall of 2011. How do emotions and stress influence self-regulation? What are the physiological mechanisms underlying goal setting and striving? (Gollwitzer and Oettingen)
Bryan Sim Social Bryan received his B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He entered the doctoral program in 2012, and is advised primarily by Gabriele Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer. Bryan is interested in basic motivational processes, and is currently researching unconscious competitive behavior. When do we compete, and what makes us do it? How does competition affect the way we set and pursue our goals? What happens to us, psychologically and socially, when we compete?
Joanna Sterling Social Joanna received her BA in Psychology and International and Area Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. She is a first year graduate student at NYU working primarily with John Jost. 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
Chadly Stern Social Graduated with BA in Psychology from NYU in 2011. How does the topic of an intergroup discussion between power discrepant groups influence (a) the allocation of resources and (b) expectations of how those resources will be allocated (with Tessa West)?
  Rugile Tuskeviciute Social Rugile graduated with a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2010. She is a first year graduate student working primarily with Susan Andersen.  How can the transference process be regulated, and its downstream consequences prevented? (Susan Andersen)
Alexandra Wesnousky Social Alex received her B.A. in Psychology and Classical studies from Colby College in 2010. She began her PhD at NYU in the fall of 2010, where she works primarily with Gabriele Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer. How do our self-concepts influence self-regulatory thought and behavior? Can a maladaptive or undesirable self-concept result in positive behavioral and affective outcomes (with Gollwitzer and Oettinge)?
Jenny Xiao Social Jenny received her BA in psychology and biology from Bard College and began her PhD in Social Psychology at NYU in 2010, working with Professor Jay Van Bavel and Professor Yaacov Trope. Jenny is broadly interested in studying social categorization, social identity, stereotyping and prejudice. In her research, Jenny tries to understand intergroup relations and interactions by exploring how high-level social psychological constructs such as social identity can alter low-level cognitive and perceptual processes. Jenny’s primary line of research with Jay Van Bavel seeks to understand how our social identity and intergroup threat work in concert to shape our perceptual and representational experience of physical reality—particularly physical distance—which could in turn lead to detrimental consequences in intergroup relations and interactions.  How does high-level social psychological constructs such as social identity alter low-level cognitive and perceptual processes? How flexible is our perceptual and representational systems and to what degree are they sensitive to top-town influences? What are the psychological mechanisms through which intergroup threats lead to intergroup consequences such as discrimination? How are different dimensions of distance (e.g, social distance) represented in the human brain?
Joy Xu Social Joy received her B.S. in Psychology and Biology from Carnegie Mellon University where she worked in Dr. Brooke Feeney’s Relationships lab. Now at NYU she primarily works with Patrick Shrout in the Couples lab. Her interests are in the processes involved in maintaining close relationships. Her current projects include studying fluctuations and change in attachment anxiety over time, as well as investigating how attachment and perceived support are associated with an individual’s engagement in exploration. Joy also works with Professor Susan Andersen, examining the occurrence of transference in ongoing romantic relationships. How do attachment orientation and perceived availability of support predict personal exploration? (Pat Shrout) Can Transference occur in the context of an on-going relationship and if so, with what consequences? (Susan Andersen)
Marika Sylvie
Social Marika received her BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in the Spring of 2011.  She is currently a first year doctoral student working primarily with Pat Shrout. 
What are the positive functions of relationship conflict and under what conditions do they occur? How do we negotiate between the immediate costs and potential benefits of engaging in conflict in our close relationships?
Daniel Yudkin Social Daniel is a first-year in the Social Psychology program; his primary advisor is Yaacov Trope but he also works with John Jost and Jay Van Bavel. He graduated from Williams College in 2008 and spent the next two years playing semi-professional jazz piano in Paris. He then spent half a year working as an Academic Coordinator at a middle school on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. At Williams, his work in psychology centered on the effects of poverty on present orientation and time discounting. He lives in Brooklyn and enjoys soccer, chess, and music. How do people compare themselves to dissimilar others?  How does group membership affect people's moral judgments? How can empirical research in psychology teach us about What It's Like to be a person?

back to the top