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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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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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.

PHD Students

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William Brady

Billy is a 5th year Ph.D. student who studies how moral ideas spread in online and offline networks. In the Interpersonal Perception Lab, Billy has a project studying how contagion of moral anger affects moral decision-making in dyads. His twitter handle is @william__brady.

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Diego Reinero

Diego is a 3rd year Ph.D. student and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow who studies how people connect with and understand the experience of others. He is currently exploring the neuroscience of social interactions and the dynamics of group cohesion, specifically, whether group cohesion shapes neural synchrony and collective performance. He is interested in testing the role of synchrony (neural, physiological, behavioral) in interpersonal connection and the possible downstream consequences for moral persuasion. His Twitter handle is @diegoareinero and his CV can be found here.

Lab Manager

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Oana Dumitru

Oana is a Senior majoring in Psychology with a joint minor in Mathematics and Computer Science. She is interested in how individuals’ goals and emotions impact how they experience social interaction, in particular their perceptions of others and their metaperception accuracy. In addition, she is interested in how these underlying psychological processes unfold on a physiological level. This year she will be completing her Honors Thesis in the lab, focusing on the impact of goal conflict in dyadic interactions. In the near future, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Social Psychology, with an increased focus on quantitative methods.

Honors Students

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Gaelin Bernstein

Gaelin is a Senior in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in Criminology and Data Analytics and a minor in Computer Science. She joined the West Lab in January 2015 as a Research Assistant, and transitioned into the position of Lab Manager in Fall 2016. This year she will be completing her Honors Thesis in Psychology on how gender affects individuals' attitudes towards deviance.

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Chloe Chan

Chloe is currently an NYU Senior, majoring in Psychology with intended minors in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies and Social and Public Policy. She has been working in the West Lab for a year now, and has greatly expanded her passion into psychology. She has always been involved in volunteer work with children with special needs, and hopes to pursue work in clinical pediatric care in mental health, with a specialty in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Mina Mathur

Mina is an undergraduate at New York University studying Political Science and Psychology. Her choice to double major in these areas reflects her deep-seated passion for human rights and overall interest in combating all facets of modern day injustice. She plans to pursue a career in Law and ultimately conduct work that applies her research on physiological and behavioral impacts of power on marginalized groups. 

Research Assistants

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Tarika Nalwa

Tarika is currently a Senior at NYU double majoring in Childhood Education & Special Education and Psychology.  She has been in the West Lab since the Fall of 2016. She recently decided to add a second major in Psychology and is still exploring her interests within the field. She is fascinated by how psychology can be applied to the field of education and how her knowledge in different psychological disciplines effect teaching and learning. 

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Sydney Cohen

Sydney is a Senior at NYU majoring in psychology and minoring in child and adolescent mental health studies (CAMS). In her time outside the classroom, she is a sister of AEPhi and takes advantage of NYC's best art museums.

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Dory Gurinsky

Dory is a Junior from Austin Texas majoring in Psychology. She's really interested in learning how situational influences affect interactions between people and how our perceptions shape our real-world behavior.

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Max Needle

Max is a Sophomore at NYU majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business Studies. He is new to the West Interpersonal Perception Lab this year, and he is interested in conducting research in perception, motivation, and social psychology fields. Max is especially interested in how perception, motivation, and positivity can improve efficiency in the workplace. 

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Eliana Aaronson

Eliana is a Sophomore at Gallatin concentrating in psychology, criminal justice and gender studies.

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Dor Katz

Dor is an international student at NYU. She is from Israel, and has grown up in Prague. She is new to the West Lab this year. She is majoring in Psychology, with a potential double major in Middle Eastern Studies, and/or a Business Studies minor. She is interested in research involving the formation of stereotypes and prejudices, and how to prevent them.

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Allie Degen

Allie is a Junior at NYU majoring in Psychology with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies (CAMS). 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.

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Olivia Savitz

Olivia is a Junior at NYU majoring in Psychology and minoring in Media, Culture, and Communication (MCC). She is new to the West Lab this year, and is interested in how stress can alter or affect interpersonal relationships. She is also fascinated by how people’s perceptions of one another shape real world behavior in dyadic interactions as well as in group settings.

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Jennifer K Dimascio-Donohu

Jennifer is a senior at NYU majoring in Psychology and minoring in German. She is concentrating her studies in Cognitive Neuroscience and is interested in further research regarding memory and perception. Outside of life at NYU, she is an avid hiker, marathon runner, and patron of the arts.

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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 Junior in the NYU College of Arts and Science majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies and Computer Science. She is new to the lab this year and wants to learn how perceptions, motivations, and behaviors can impact our ideas about others and our interpersonal interactions.

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Nicole Jun

Nicole recently graduated from NYU this may with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She is interested in how psychological and physiological responses affect individuals’ attitudes and behaviors toward others. In addition to working at the West lab, she works at Icahn School of medicine at Mt. Sinai for a mood and personality disorder research program. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology in the near future.

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Rebecca Lin

Rebecca is a graduate student at NYU pursuing a Master of Arts in Psychology. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Italian Studies. Prior to coming to NYU, she was a Junior Specialist at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior where she worked on studies at the intersection of social psychology, physiology and technology. Rebecca is interested in using innovative methodologies to study interpersonal and group relations, with a focus on minorities and underrepresented groups.

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Nirupika Sharma

Nirupika is a recent graduate of New York University, where she studied Psychology and Business Studies. She is particularly interested in the effects of interpersonal interactions on goal setting and motivations, as well as on intuitive judgments. At the West lab, she aims to learn more about conducting psychological research and finding her niche within the realm of Social Psychology.

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Ishani Sen

Ishani is a Junior at NYU Abu Dhabi majoring in psychology and minoring in Interactive Media and Technology. She is still exploring her interests in the field, and enjoys volunteering and playing music in her time outside of the classroom.

Past Lab Members

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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 Rodrick

Odile received her BA in psychology from New York University in 2016, where she worked first as an RA then as lab manager in Dr. Tessa West's Interpersonal Perception Lab. While there, she focused mainly on the effects of appearance-based judgments in STEM. She is currently working as lab manager at the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) Lab at Columbia University with Dr. Kevin Ochsner. At the SCAN Lab, she is working on fMRI and behavioral studies that investigate the relationship between stress and emotion regulation strategy choice, as well as emotion regulation and self-representation in patients suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

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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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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