The West Interpersonal Perception Lab

People

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

Postdocs

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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.

PHD Students

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Kate Thorson

Kate is a Ph.D. student in NYU's Social Psychology program. She graduated from Bates College in 2010 with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in dance. She then worked as a lab manager at the University of California, San Francisco before coming to NYU. Her research examines the influence of stress and social hierarchies in dyadic and group interactions. In some of her current work, she is studying the influence of stress within STEM settings and the effects of power and status in teams. She applies a multimethod approach to her research, studying the interplay among interpersonal behaviors, physiology, performance, and self-reports to gain a comprehensive understanding of social interactions.

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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 @BillysBrain.

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 Junior 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. In her Senior year, she hopes to complete her Honors Thesis in Psychology on how gender affects individuals' attitudes towards deviance.

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Chloe Chan

Chloe is currently an NYU Junior, 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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Ryan Tracy

Ryan is a first year MA student, who graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a BA in psychology in 2013. He is primarily working in Jim Uleman’s lab, and is interested in how people perceive each other from a standpoint of morality (both implicitly and explicitly), and how these perceptions ultimately determine social engagement at both the group level and in dyadic interactions.

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Maxwell Mikelic

Max is a postbac student at Columbia University studying psychology. He graduated from the University of Michigan Honors College in 2012 with a B.S. in mathematics and English literature. After graduating, he went on to work at a small real estate private equity fund in New York City, where he stayed for four years. In addition to working at the West Lab, Max also works at the Couples Lab at Columbia. He is especially interested in intimate relationships and the schizophrenia-bipolar spectrum in both clinical and research settings.

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Tarika Nalwa

Tarika is currently a junior 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 junior 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 sophomore 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 freshman 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 freshman 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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Amruta Wagh

Amruta received her bachelor's degree in psychology from University of South Alabama in 2012. While working toward her Master of Science degree concentrating in clinical psychology at Auburn University Montgomery, she learned about how wonderfully social psychology reverberates as a close cousin to many clinical concepts such as cognition, schemas, personality and so on. She joined the West Lab in May 2017 and plans on pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology focusing on evidence-based youth intervention and its effects.

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Manisha Ram

Manisha is a sophomore at NYU majoring in Economics on the premedical track. New to the West Lab, Manisha is interested in how stress can affect social interactions and peer relationships especially amongst adolescents.

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 http://www.chadlystern.com/.

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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 www.noceto.com.