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University of Massachusetts at Amherst

 

 
 

GRADUATE RESEARCHERS

Tara

Tara C. Dennehy

tdennehy@psych.umass.edu

Website

I received my Master of Arts in Psychological Research (Mind, Brain, & Behavior) at San Francisco State University in May 2011. With Dr. Buju Dasgupta, my research aims to examine (a) the impact of situational threatening cues on women and minorities' interpersonal behavior in achievement domains, and (b) factors relating to the underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. This second line of research is based on the Stereotype Inoculation Model developed by Dr. Buju Dasgupta (Dasgupta, 2011, Psychological Inquiry). For more information about my research, please visit my webpage.

 

Levi

Levi Adelman

ladelman@psych.umass.edu

Website

My work focuses generally on the psychology of intergroup relations and understanding what inhibits positive interactions between groups and what can be done to improve those interactions.

My primary research is currently an investigation of attitudes toward undocumented or illegal immigrants in the Unites States. The aim of this project is to understand under which circumstances Americans hold positive attitudes towards these individuals and support measures to increase opportunities and paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and under which circumstances they hold more negative attitudes and support measures to restrict and punish undocumented immigrants.

My secondary research project is a study currently being conducted in Israel that seeks to understand what leads to competitive victimhood, and what measures can be used to reduce the competitive victimhood between groups in conflict and increase willingness to engage in compromise and reconciliation.

Greg

Greg Larsen

glarsen@umass.edu

My research primarily involves investigating the connection between emotion and prejudice. Recently, I have been considering the possibility that this connection could influence a person's tendency to see members of certain groups as aggressors or victims. Other interests of mine include social categorization and a general fascination with methodology and statistics.

Deborah Wu

dwu@umass.edu

I am broadly interested in all topics regarding stereotyping, culture, and emotion, how they intersect, and how they affect our behavior and well-being. To answer these questions, I utilize neural (EEG) and physiological techniques (autonomic nervous system responses) as well as behavioral tasks (IATs) and survey methods. My current lines of research with Dr. Dasgupta focus on women's experiences of stereotype threat and attitudes towards police violence. Before coming to UMass, I completed my bachelor's degree at Northwestern University, where my research projects focused on how facial prototypicality in race and gender affects people's perceptions and how coherence between our different emotional responses correlates to dispositional well-being. Outside of research, I enjoy hiking, singing, playing piano, and listening to Broadway musicals.

 

Adrian Rivera-Rodriguez

ariverarodri@umass.edu

 

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS

Jacqueline S. Smith (PhD, 2014)

jacquelines@psych.umass.edu

I received my Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Yale University in 2014 and am currently a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Dasgupta’s lab. Broadly, my research seeks to understand how stereotypes and intersecting social identities influence both how people are expected to behave and how they are licensed to behave. I am particularly interested in the role of emotion stereotypes about gender, race, and status in expectations and evaluations of others. In one line of research, I explore emotional licensing, or the extent to which individuals, based on their gender and group membership, are given more or less leeway to express different emotions. In addition to examining the ways in which beliefs about particular social identities influence how people are perceived and evaluated, I also seek to understand how people internalize or react against those beliefs. To that end, with Dr. Dasgupta I am examining the impact of gender and race stereotypes on adolescents’ self-concepts and aspirations in math and science. 

 

LAB ALUMNAE AND ALUMNI

Chelsea Moore (PhD, 2014)

cdmoore@psych.umass.edu

I received my PhD in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014.  My research focuses on the intersection of gender, race-ethnicity, and socioeconomic background as it relates to students’ academic and job trajectories.  I’m particularly interested in better understanding gender, race-ethnic, and socioeconomic differences in students’ attitudes and attainment in science, technology, engineering, and math from adolescence to early adulthood. 

Melissa

Melissa McManus Scircle (PhD, 2013)

mscircle@mail.millikin.edu

Website

My research seeks to identify interventions that reduce stereotyping and prejudice. My dissertation research examined how different ways of describing multiculturalism can, in some cases, increase bias toward ethnic minority groups, and in other cases decrease bias. A second line of research examines whether educating people about, or making people aware of, implicit (unconscious) race bias influences peoples’  attitudes, behaviors, and emotional responses to the message, and identifies what type of educational message is more vs. less effective. Together these two lines of research provide valuable insight into how to present prejudice-reduction messages to the public in an effective manner. In a final separate line of research I am working on an NSF-funded project that seeks to identify effective interventions to inoculate girls and women’s self-concept against negative gender stereotypes that allege women are weaker in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) compared to men. Melissa is now an Assistant Professor at Millikin University, in Decatur, IL.

When I’m not conducting research, you might find me teaching a class (I love teaching Junior Year Writing), cooking/baking, knitting, running, or playing with my pet rabbit, Thumper.

Kumar

Kumar Yogeeswaran (PhD, 2012)

kumar.yogeeswaran@canterbury.ac.nz

Website

My primary research synthesizes theories in psychology and other social sciences to illuminate the complexities and challenges of achieving national unity in the face of ethnic diversity while identifying new strategies that might reduce the tension between unity and diversity. Specifically, my primary research (a) identifies factors that help versus hinder in the creation of unity in diversity; (b) demonstrates when and why such changes are likely to occur; and (c) illustrates how people's inability to internalize such principles of national inclusion have detrimental consequences on their behavior and judgments toward minority group members. In addition to these primary projects, my secondary research examines the role of situational threat and internal emotional states on prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior toward ethnic outgroups. Beyond these varied projects, I have also been interested in bridging interdisciplinary fields by applying basic psychological research to the domains of law, politics, and public policy in hopes of disseminating scientific research to audiences outside of psychology and promoting broader social change.

 

Kumar is now a Lecturer/Assistant Professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

JGStout

Jane Stout (PhD, 2011)

jane@cra.org

Website

My work is grounded in social psychological theory with an eye toward social equity. I research the degree to which people's social identities (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity) can influence their sense of belonging in achievement settings, and in turn, their motivation and performance. As a case in point, my collaborators and I have found that women's relatively lower sense of belonging than men in the physical sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (pSTEM) play an important role in women's greater tendency to avoid these fields compared to men. To the degree that pSTEM fields are culturally valued and high-paying, I believe it is critical to promote a secure sense of belonging among all individuals in these fields. To that end, I currently lead an evaluation team at the Computing Research Association in Washington D.C. where we assess the degree to which mentorship programs for women and students of color in computing increase these underrepresented groups' confidence that they belong in a computing career.

Matthew

Matthew Hunsinger (PhD, 2010)

matthewh@pacificu.edu

Website

My research spans social psychology and medicine.  My primary interest in social psychology is intergroup bias with a focus on internal and external conditions that attenuate (e.g., meditation) or amplify (e.g., negative emotional states) implicit prejudice and stereotyping.  My biomedical research focuses on pain and pain treatment. Currently, I am conducting secondary analyses on clinical drug trials for analgesics to understand which patient and design characteristics moderate assay sensitivity.

Matthew is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Psychology at Pacific University.

Cade McCall (M.A., 2003, New School University; PhD, 2009, University of California, Santa Barbara)

cade.mccall@york.ac.uk

Website

I’m a social psychologist in the Psychology Department of the University of York (UK) and at the Max Plank Institute’s Department of Social Neuroscience. In general, I’m interested in the nonverbal expression of affect and affiliation during social interactions and how we adapt to express ourselves in both physical and virtual worlds. To get an idea of the kind of work I do, check out The Wunderkammer, a suite of virtual worlds we use to study human affect, cognition, physiology, and behavior. I have also recently developed Proxemic Imaging, a tool for using motion capture data to study social interactions. My work is published in book chapters and academic journals including Nature NeuroscienceSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, and Media Psychology.

Rezarta Bilali (PhD, 2009, co-advisors: Nilanjana Dasgupta & Linda Tropp)

rezarta.bilali@nyu.edu

Website

Rezarta's  research focuses on social psychological underpinnings of violent intergroup conflict and mass violence. In her research in various international settings (e.g., Turkey, Burundi, U.S.) she has investigated the relation between group identities, historical memories of violence, enemy images, and attitudes toward war. Supported by a grant by American Psychological Foundation, she is currently developing a line of research on acknowledgment of harm by perpetrator groups. She has also been involved with development of violence prevention and reconciliation radio programs in the Great Lakes Region in Africa. Recently, Rezarta has led research to assess the impact of radio reconciliation programs in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Dr. Bilali’s research has been supported by Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, International Peace Research Association, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and by a Psychology Beyond Borders Mission Award. 

 

Rezarta was an assistant professor of Conflict Resolution at Umass Boston.  Currently, she is an assistant professor of applied psychology at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. 

Chand-Matzke

Ahrona Eleanor Chand-Matzke (PhD, 2006)

aecgsh@rit.edu

In my previous work, I explored the impact of highly idealized images of female beauty on women's body shame, self-esteem, and emotions. More specifically, I investigated the combined impact of personality (appearance focus) and exposure to idealized images of female beauty on these negative consequences. Finally, this previous work also explored the role of automatic and controlled processes both in terms of testing the impact of nonconscious vs. conscious exposure to idealized media images and also the impact of these images on implicit aspects of the self, such as implicit self-esteem.

I worked as a Senior Research Associate conducting health care based research for the market research firm Harris Interactive.

I am currently an Adjunct Instructor at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Luis

Luis Rivera (PhD, 2006)

luis@psychology.rutgers.edu

Website

My research focuses on the social cognitive processes that influence intergroup attitudes, the self, and behavior, with a special emphasis on those processes that lie outside of conscious awareness, intention, or control. Currently, my research program is guided by the following questions: What are the conditions under which the motivation to affirm one’s self-concept might have a paradoxical effect and exacerbate prejudice? Do stereotypes and prejudices remain confined to people’s minds, or do they manifest in behaviors that shape social inequalities, health disparities, and education performance? Finally, how do implicit and explicit processes work in concert to influence beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors?

Shaki

Shaki Asgari (PhD, 2003, New School University)

SAsgari@iona.edu

Website

My first line of research addresses factors that can enhance or deflate stereotypic self-beliefs. 

A major component of this research explores conditions under which exposure to counter-stereotypic environments (i.e., encountering counter-stereotypic ingroup members) can benefit or harm individuals’ beliefs about their own qualities, characteristics and abilities. 

My second line of research focuses on how race and social class might interact to influence performance evaluations in various domains. Of particular interest is the differential and joint influence of race and social class on the evaluation of individuals’ potential for success in highly competitive environments. The outcome of my studies so far show that although in general individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds are perceived as less capable of success in competitive environments, race presents an additive disadvantage so that African Americans from a higher socioeconomic background are evaluated less positively compared to their White American counterparts of the same socioeconomic background. Based on these results, I am currently designing new experiments to investigate individuals’ perception of deservingness as a function of the interaction between social class and race.

 

HONORS STUDENTS ALUMNAE

Taylor Krozy

I graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Psychology in May 2015. I intend on continuing my education with a central focus in Clinical Psychology, but share a mutual interest in the field of Social Psychology. In tandem with Tara Dennehy, my research examined whether people who are high versus low in self-monitoring would perceive women differentially as a function of the behavior they display in an interview setting. Self-monitoring is an individual difference in the degree to which a person attends to and regulates their behavior in order to adapt to their social surroundings. It is my hope that the research will help to identify possible factors leading to the underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.