Graduate Students                 

Carlos Garrido

My name is Carlos Garrido and I am a member of the Social Perception and Emotion Laboratory at Penn State.  I transferred to Penn State from the University of Florida, where I obtained a Master of Science degree in social psychology.  While at Florida, I conducted research associated with biased thought processes (stigma, stereotypes, prejudicial views) mostly from the perspective of minority group members.  My research interests expanded into the interpersonal perception realm, leading me to join Dr. Reginald Adams’ SPEL Lab.  At the current time, my research focuses on cross-group perceptions of facial cues and on the effects of intersectional statuses (e.g., age, gender) on perceptual accuracy.  I also have an interest in expanding my methods for measuring human behavior to include social cognitive affective  neuroscience methodology.

When I am not at the laboratory conducting research, I enjoy doing outdoor activities, such as hiking and running.  I also enjoy leisurely reading, working out, and traveling internationally.  I was born and raised in the fourth largest city of Venezuela.  Exposure to various cultures early in life have contributed to my appreciation for diversity and acute interest in studying human behavior.  For more information about me or about my research, see my professional website at

Troy Steiner

My research interests are primarily on top-down influences on memory, bottom-up visual influences on impression formation and behavior, and the malleability of self-concept.  I am enrolled in the Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) program and utilize neurological, behavioral, and computer vision methods to conduct my research. If I had to be known for one thing as a researcher, it would be my passion for collaboration; nothing is more exciting than combining seemingly unlikely areas of research to tackle new avenues of research and creating new methodologies.

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, running, ocean-kayaking, and spending time with my dog. Whenever I'm able, I enjoy visiting my family in northern California.

Daniel Albohn

My professional expertise and passion is social psychology, with an emphasis on person perception. I hold a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and have over five years of academic research experience that spans fields as diverse as

health psychology, clinical psychology, behavioral interventions, human-animal bond, and person and emotion perception.

My research interests broadly include emotion perception and emotion theory, person perception, and social vision. Specifically, I am interested in understanding what an emotion is, how we measure them, and how emotion perception changes. One of my personal interests is understanding the neutral face and how the perception of a neutral face can change impression formation. A recent interest of mine is examining how socio-visual mechanisms of person perception interact with psychophysiology (e.g., heart rate variability, respiratory sinus arrhythmia) to change perception.

In my free time, I enjoy being outside, taking care of my newly adopted dog, and pretending to be a movie connoisseur. For more information, feel free to visit my personal website.

                                Collaborating Graduate Students                                                     
                                                    Kaitlin McCormick

Kaitlin McCormick is fourth year graduate student in Social Psychology and Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on the effects of gender stereotypes in the workplace, subtle prejudice, unconscious bias, and the development of bias-reducing interventions. She is particularly interested in how gender stereotypes about women’s emotions (e.g., women are overly emotional, women are nurturing) influence people’s expectations for women in the workplace. She aims to use social psychology to develop micro-interventions and long-term interventions to combat bias. With Dr. Adams, Kevin Weaver, and Heather MacArthur, Kaitlin is examining how exposure to sexist humor affects people’s tolerance to prejudice, and affects the social transmission of prejudice.  

                                                     Kevin Weaver

I am broadly interested in how gender-related ideologies encourage and justify discrimination against women and non-normative men. Humor often discusses difficulties in relationships between men and women and references stereotypes about the way that men and women “are.” Thus, humor may be one way that gender-related ideologies can spread or be activated, resulting in increased discrimination. I’m examining this idea with Dr. Reg Adams by studying the effects of exposure to sexist humor on tolerance of others’ sexist actions. Specifically, we’re looking at how effects of sexist humor differ based on the gender of the humorist and the sexist beliefs of the person exposed to the humor. In research with my advisor, Dr. Terri Vescio, I focus on how men’s attempts to live up to social ideals of masculinity are related to their harassment of and discrimination against women and gay men. Given the rampant harassment of women who participate in video game domains, I’m currently researching how threats to men’s masculinity and their endorsement of traditional masculinity norms affect responses to women who play, develop, and critique video games. I spend most of my free time playing guitar and, not surprisingly, video games.

                                                    Heather MacArthur
 Heather MacArthur is a senior graduate student working toward a dual-title PhD in Social Psychology and Women's Studies. In her research, she studies the politics of gender in everyday life, examining the subtle ways that gendered hierarchies are enacted and maintained in our day-to-day thoughts and behaviors. With Reg Adams and fellow graduate students at Penn State, Heather is exploring the consequences of disparagement humor on those who are exposed to it. Current research in this area asks whether the effect of disparagement humor differs depending on whether the joke-teller is a member of the disparaged group (e.g., a woman telling a sexist joke) or an outgroup member (e.g., a man telling a sexist joke). When not in the lab, Heather is usually seeking out live music and chances to get home to spend time with friends and family in Nova Scotia, Canada.

            Lab Manager

Joe Brandenburg

My name is Joseph Brandenburg, and I am the current Lab Manager of the SPEL Lab.  I worked in the lab as an undergraduate for two years. I graduated December 2015, and returned to be Lab Manager in August.  My interests are in clinical, and social psychology.  I will be applying to Clinical PhD programs in the December in order to further my education, and become a clinician.

Lab Affiliates

Jose Soto, Ph.D.

Director Health, Emotion, and Culture Lab

I have been at Penn State since 2005, when I joined the clinical area faculty as an assistant professor. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and received my Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley, I completed an internship and postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. I am currently licensed as a psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania. Although I am not presently seeing clients of my own, I supervise graduate student therapists who are in training at our clinic. In addition to supervision, I also teach an undergraduate and graduate course focused on diversity. In fact, many of my professional activities can readily be linked to diversity—something I advocate for consistently in my role within the department. I have been a faculty advisor of the Diversity Action Workshop since its inception and plan on continuing my involvement throughout my tenure. Finally, my research is dedicated to understanding the interrelationships between culture, health and emotion.

Kestas Kveraga, Ph.D.
Director Kveraga Lab

                                                           Jasmine Boshyan, Ph.D.

My doctoral dissertation research focuses on new aspects of threat perception from faces that have not been explored before. My research aims to not only establish accuracy in perceiving threat from neutral expression faces, but also examine how this accuracy is achieved and what factors might affect this process. In order to test the mechanisms underlying accurate perceptions of threat I study the effects of brief vs. long presentation of the stimuli, low vs high spatial frequency (LSF/HSF) biased stimuli, and magnocellular- vs parvocellular pathway (M/P) biased stimuli. I contrast the effects of these manipulations on accuracy of perceiving violence as compared to accuracy of perceiving political affiliation from neutral expression faces.

                                        Hee Yeon Im, Ph.D.

My research interests lie at the interaction of cognitive neuroscience and social psychology. My current projects with Dr. Adams aim to investigate the brain mechanism that supports extraction of social, affective visual information and to examine the causes and effects of individual differences in social vision. I am particularly interested in how we extract the meaningful social messages from crowds of faces in order to guide our responses to others and why we do this differently from each other.

Research Assistants


                                                                     Brandon McCormick

My name is Brandon McCormick, and I am a Junior Psychology and Criminology major. I have been a member of the SPEL lab since my Freshman year. After graduation, I hope to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with a focus on Forensic populations. In the SPEL lab, my focus is on the social mechanisms of humor. Outside of the lab, I am a member of the Schreyer Honors College and am part of the Paterno Fellows program. Additionally, I am on the executive board for Psych Squad (a psychology-related club on campus), and am a member of Psi-Chi. When I am not focusing on my academics, I enjoy reading, hiking, and trying new foods.


                                                                                   Shannon McConnell

My name is Shannon McConnell, and I'm a junior at Penn State. I'm majoring in both psychology and criminology with a minor in Spanish. Outside of the lab I am involved in THON, Penn State Homecoming, and Alpha Delta Pi sorority. I also love everything summer, crafting, and being with my friends. After graduation I plan on attending graduate school and ultimately working as a forensic psychologist for the government.


                                                                     Kierstin Barbieri

My name is Kierstin Barbieri, I am a senior at Penn State currently working towards a Psychology B.S. with a neuroscience option and a sociology minor. I am interested in cross cultural psychology and love looking at people from a biopsychosocial perspective. I hope to go on to graduate school, study different cultures, and work with minority groups. In my free time I facilitate race relations dialogues with World in Conversation on campus. I also love to paint, read, and spend as much time outdoors as I can!

                                                                            Andrea Frank

My name is Andrea Frank, and I am a senior at Penn State. My major is Psychology B.S. with a focus in Natural Sciences. I will be completing a thesis in my undergraduate in the field of Social Psychology. I am planning to go to graduate school to earn a PhD and work at a university someday. I am also a member of Delta Gamma, Alpha Chi chapter, as well as the secretary of Penn State's chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honors Society in Psychology. I am active in THON and various other fundraisers with my sorority.

Amalia Haupt
My name is Amalia Haupt and I am a senior at The Pennsylvania State University double-majoring in Psychology with a Neuroscience focus and Biology with a Neuroscience focus. I currently work in the Social Perception and Emotion Laboratory as a research assistant. I also work for Penn State’s Biology Department as a teaching assistant and teach both Biology 110 and 240W laboratory sections. Aside from this, I am a founding member of Tri-Beta Honor Society in Biology and am the current President of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. In my free time, I am usually volunteering at Mt. Nittany Medical Center in the Emergency Department or studying as I pursue my future academic career in medicine. My interests primarily are focused on perception alteration as a result of various psychological disorders.

                                                                      Jensen Re 
Jensen Re is currently a senior studying psychology at The Pennsylvania State University. He is interested in models of emotional production and perception, with a focus on facial expressions of emotion and its crucial role in human communication. He plans to obtain a graduate degree in the field of cognitive psychology, and inspires to be a professor in the field. He loves the outdoors and is an active member in the PSU outing club.

                                                                                                                                                        Kelley Gaffney

Hi my name is Kelley Gaffney I am a Sophmore and am double majoring in Criminology and Psychology with hopes to one day join the FBI. I was raised on Penn State football and am an avid fan. I am part of Hershey Kisses for the Kids and am involved in Thon through that organization. I have worked at Wegmans for 3 years in various departments but mainly as a cashier. I enjoy soccer, going to the beach, hiking, and binge watching shows on Netflix.

                                                                                                                                                                        Tyler Snider
I am a B.S. Psychology major focusing on Neuroscience. My interests include learning and emotions. I plan on following these interests as i pursue a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology.

                                                                                                                                                          Rachel Waite
Hi, my name is Rachel Waite and I am from Landenberg, PA.  I am currently a Sophomore here at Penn State pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Supply Chain Management with a minor in Psychology.  Currently I am serving as the secretary for the Sport’s Business Club and Co-THON chair for the Club Cheerleading Team.  I have been a huge football fan ever since I was little, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Penn State Nittany Lions as my favorite teams.  After graduation I hope to acquire a job in consumer research relating to the psychology of the consumer.  The dream would be to work for Disney in their research department. 

                                                                                                                                                                Malini Suresh Nair
My name is Malini Suresh Nair and I am a Freshman this year at Penn State University. I am currently enrolled in the Eberly College of Science on the pre-medical track, and I am very excited to be working at the SPEL Lab where I aim to grow as both a student and an undergraduate researcher. I have lived in three different countries and can speak four different languages other than English, so learning and living through various cultures has always a been a part of my life. Outside of the lab and the school setting, I enjoy playing the piano, volunteering throughout the community, eating, traveling, and fencing.

                                                                Alyssa Jalowics
My name is Alyssa Jalowicz and I'm from Wayne, NJ. I am currently a sophomore at Penn State majoring in Psychology with a focus in Business and minoring in Spanish and Business. I am currently involved in the Rules and Regulations Committee for THON, Volé the Penn State Ballet Club, and Phi Eta Sigma the National Honor Society. I enjoy reading, dancing, and exercising. After college, I hope to work in Human Resources.


                                                                              Caroline Little

My name is Caroline Little and I am a junior here at Penn State, majoring in Psychology (Life Sciences Option) and minoring in Human Development and Family Studies. I have worked in an HDFS research lab for the past year and was very excited to begin my psychology research career by working at the SPEL lab! I am interested mainly in positive psychology and health psychology, along with social and behavioral psychology of children, and hope to one day earn my Master’s in Positive Health Psychology and pursue counseling psychology in this realm. In my free time, I am very involved in THON, work as a Strength and Fitness Trainer at the PSU gyms, and love to spend time with friends, family, and my dogs!

Lab Alumni


                                              Dr. Anthony Nelson

Hi, my name is Anthony Nelson. I was a graduate student in the SVIP Lab from 2008-2015. I currently serve as a lecturer for Penn State's World Campus, and will be starting an online-only Social Perception and Attention Laboratory in the Spring 2016 semester. Under the supervision of Dr. Adams, I completed my Master's in August 2011 and Ph.D. in August 2015. My research focuses on how social factors (e.g., gender, age, race) moderate perceptions of and attention to others, with a particular focus on how we process the faces of others, and how these processes unfold within mere milliseconds after exposure to a face.

I currently live in Denver, Colorado with my wife and two fur children. We enjoy making the city and the mountains our personal playground.

Subpages (1): Undergraduate Alumni