UMass Amherst

Linda M. Isbell, PhD

Affect and Social Cognition Lab

Apply to work in the affect and social cognition research laboratory.
NOTE: If you are interested in being considered for an RA position for the SPRING 2019 semester, please apply by November 26, 2018!.

Current Research Team
Research Team Alumni
Photo Album

Research Team

Graduate Researchers

Richard Liu

I am a third year graduate student in social psychology. I study the affective, cognitive, and behavioral changes that result from the interaction between emotions and cognitive processes. I am also interested in the therapeutic effects of utilizing memory reconsolidation processes to reduce the impact of negative memories.

Joel Ginn (he/him/his)

I am a second year graduate student in the social psychology & peace and violence program. I study the perceptions of social issues and how people choose to engage with those social issues through the lens of social identity and values. My work primarily focuses on perceptions of climate change and reactions to messages on specific strategies, particularly meat reduction. I am also interested in studying reactions to pronouns as part of email signatures as a method to foster a sense of inclusion for trans and nonbinary students in the classroom.

Julia Lemp

I am a visiting graduate student, currently pursuing a master's degree in psychology at University of Heidelberg, Germany. I am broadly interested in how people make decisions in a variety of areas and how this is influenced by social processes and affect. Previous research projects I was part of focused on self-regulation and health behavior. I hope to pursue a PhD in psychology with a focus on behavioral change and decision-making.

Sungha Kang

I am a second year graduate student in clinical psychology. My research interests involve ethnic and racial disparities in ADHD assessment and diagnosis. In particular, my master's thesis aims to examine the mechanisms associated with perceptions of ADHD-related behaviors in African American children, such as cultural expectations of child behavior, stigma related to mental disorders, and experiences with discrimination.

Andrea Cataldo

I am a fifth year student in the Cognitive division of the Psychology program. I am interested in the effects of emotion in judgment and decision-making. Specifically, I use mathematical modeling to study how particular dimensions of emotion, such as valence and certainty, influence specific components of the decision process, such as attention and information integration.

Lab Project Manager

Samantha Nuerminger

I am a UMass Psychological & Brain Sciences Alumna from the Class of 2015. My professional interests include identifying and reducing barriers to Mental Healthcare, understanding of the role of stigma in preventing access to care, and monitoring how newly introduced policies can facilitate the improvement of Mental Healthcare Infrastructure. In my spare time, I sit on the Advisory Board of the Western Mass Area Department of Mental Health (DMH) and consult for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) “Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health” Campaign. Other interests of mine include Fine Arts, Traveling, and studying French Culture.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Amy Higgins

I am a psychology major on the neuroscience track and a member of the Commonwealth Honors college. One of my main reasons for studying psychology is so that I can help people with mental health disorders live better lives. I am interested in the underlying neurological causes of mental disorders as well as finding more effective forms of therapy. I plan to get my PhD in psychology to further explore these interests. In addition to psychology, my other interests include dance, horseback riding, and assisting with therapeutic horseback riding lessons.

Zoe Geannopoulos

I am a junior Commonwealth Honors student majoring in Microbiology, with a minor in Psychology with the hopes of pursuing Emergency Medicine or Psychiatry in the future after completing medical school. I'm interested in both social and clinical psychology. Specifically, I'd like to find out what motivates people and how theories of psychology can help people to improve themselves and their relationships with others. I enjoy spending time with friends, Ultimate Frisbee, and working as a camp counselor.

Sanjana Kadirvel

I am a senior psychology major. I am interested in a wide array of topics within social psychology ranging from judgements and emotions to attraction and close relationships. I hope to get my master's degree in social psychology and move on to conducting independent research in the field. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors and staying active with friends.

Micayla Gifford

I am a senior double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. I am interested in school counseling and hope to pursue my Master's in social work and education after teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in Greater Boston. I am a counselor advocate for the Center for Women and Community and a Residential Assistant on campus. In 2015 I studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, which was an incredible experience. One of my goals for the future is to go abroad to South America to work in the school systems as a teacher or guidance counselor, and hopefully master the Spanish language while I am there!

Gabriela Wells

I am a senior majoring in psychology and have a specific interest in mental illness and stigma. I am also working towards receiving a certification in social work and I plan to apply to graduate school and earn my PhD in clinical psychology. I studied abroad in Florence, Italy spring semester of 2016 and it was the best experience of my life! I am fluent in Spanish and hope to backpack throughout South East Asia when I graduate.

Hajar Traiba

I am a senior psychology major on the neuroscience track. I have a particular interest in psychopathology and the neurobiological bases of mental disorders, but am also curious about the psychosocial contributors as well. I hope to attend medical school (possibly studying psychiatry) and want to be an advocate for those with mental illness.

Lauren Harnedy

I am a junior Commonwealth Honors student majoring in psychology. My main focus is clinical psychology, but I am also interested in social psychology and unraveling the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Ultimately, I hope to earn my PhD in clinical psychology and have a career that allows me to treat patients and conduct research.

Hannah McNeill

I am a junior in the Psychology major. I am specifically interested in mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it and am very interested in helping to reduce this stigma. I plan to work with people who have mental health disorders to help them to cope with everyday life to the best of their ability. Besides psychology I have a passion for animals, books and the beach.

Julia Tager

I am a junior psychology major from Cape Cod, MA. I plan to focus my career around clinical psychology research, but I also have varied interests within the fields of social, developmental, and health psychology. My most recent research experience was studying pediatric psycho-oncology at the NIH in Maryland. On campus, I am a Peer Mentor and leader of the UMass Cares About Cancer student group.

Michael Robichaud

I am a junior psychology major and a member of the Commonwealth Honors College. I'm interested in the stigma associated with mental health conditions, and how this can affect the patient. I plan to attend graduate school after graduating and am interested in pursuing a career in industrial/organizational psychology.

Emma Cyr

I am a sophomore Commonwealth Honors student majoring in psychology and public health with hopes of attending medical school to become an Emergency Department physician. I am most interested in studying people's behaviors and how emotions affect our actions. Outside of my studies, I have a passion for helping others and staying active. While at school, I am an RA as well as an active member in several clubs on campus such as the UMass Red Cross Club. I am an EMT and find joy in volunteering at local hospitals and in the Amherst area. I enjoy spending my free time at the beach, going for a run or with family and friends. I am excited to see what the future holds and to accomplish goals whether this be running the Boston Marathon or receiving an acceptance into medical school.

Kayla Gaidos

I am a Sophomore Kinesiology major on the pre-med track. I have decided to pursue my interest in psychology as a research assistant in the Affect and Social Cognition Lab. I am an EMT and have two years of experience working for Bolton Ambulance. In addition, I am a member of the Pre-Physician Assistant Club and the Ski and Board Club at UMass. I am very involved in health and fitness activities, and enjoy skiing, hiking, and cooking. I spend my summers as a camp counselor and lifeguard. After I graduate, I hope to pursue a career in medicine and become an Emergency Room Physician.

Naeemeh Davis

I am a psychology major, plan to minor in Spanish, and earn a social work certificate. I want to know more about how the social mind processes information, and the reactions that stem from it. My goal in the future is to become either a family therapist or marriage counselor, so exploring emotions will be a key component to my future practice. In the meantime, I want to travel as much as possible, explore different cultures, and become more involved in activities on our campus.

Kamran Noori Shirazi

I am a freshman Commonwealth Honors Student at UMass, dually majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular biology and Chinese. I am deeply passionate about learning how the body and mind work and how we can improve current conditions in the field of medicine through research. My favorite things to do outside of class are to volunteer, hang out with friends, and make origami. I'm an Eagle Scout, a swimmer, and a member of BioTAP. My future aspirations are to go to medical school to become a physician, as well as becoming more involved as a leader on campus.

Zahra Alam

I am a Biology major on the pre-med track, and pursuing a minor in Psychology. I plan on completing medical school and starting a career in either Emergency Medicine or Pediatrics. I am interested in gaining insight on the emergency medicine physicians, which I feel will be very helpful in the future. During my free time, I work for the UMass History Department and am the Vice President of the UMass Science Outreach club. I love meeting new people through work and clubs, and hope to do the same through my RA position.

Isabella Levesque

I am a freshman biochemistry major in the Commonwealth Honors College. I intend to pursue a double major or minor in psychology. I'm interested in medicine and neuroscience, especially neurological disorders. I'm also interested in mental illness and increasing awareness of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Ultimately, I hope to work in the medical field as a physician or a physician's assistant. At school, I'm secretary for the Association of Women in Science, a member of BioTAP, and a part of UMass Cares About Cancer. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, and going to the beach.

Alexa Enfield

I am a freshman Commonwealth Honors student majoring in psychology on the neuroscience track. I am very interested in both social psychology and psychopathology, but have a special interest in mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it. In the future, I plan on attending graduate school and combining my interests in neuroscience and criminology to study what leads people to commit crimes, such as homicide. In my free time I like to travel, attend concerts, and spend time outdoors.

Olivia Wise

I am a junior majoring in psychology. I am interested not only in mental illness, but also how the human brain works. I think it is extremely fascinating that many of us are so unique, but yet so similar as well. Ultimately, I hope to earn a PhD in clinical psychology and have a career that allows me to work with clients and better understand not only individuals but our society as well.

Margaux Welsh

I am a freshman Commonwealth Honors student majoring in biology on the pre-med track. I am interested how the emotions of emergency medicine physicians influence their decision-making and performance. More generally, I am interested in staying active in research. In the future, I hope to go to medical school and become a physician. In my free time I enjoy hiking, playing basketball and hanging out with friends.


Photo Album

Research Team Alumni (more coming soon!)

Elicia Lair, PhD

I received my PhD in Social Psychology from UMass-Amherst in 2014 and am now an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi. My research interests broadly include social cognition, political psychology, and group processes. My dissertation research focused on the interaction between emotions and cognitive processing styles, specifically how disgust interacts with global and local processing to influence perceptual and conceptual judgments. For more information please visit my website.

Daniel Rovenpor, PhD

I received my PhD in Social Psychology from UMass-Amherst in 2016 and am now a post-doctoral researcher at The Ohio State University working with Dr. Richard Petty. My research investigates the role of motivation in the bidirectional relationship between affect and cognition. Specifically, I consider how motivational factors such as control beliefs, goals, and certainty influence both how affect regulates cognition and how people regulate their emotions. I am interested in the implications of these processes for individual well-being (i.e., happiness, adaptive decision-making, healthy aging) and societal well-being (i.e., intergroup relations, social justice).