Principal Investigator

Jennifer Beer, PhD  (CV)

   beerutexas (at)


 Dr. Beer is a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. She is affiliated with the Psychology Department (Social  & Personality Area, Cognitive Neuroscience Area), the Imaging Research Center, the Institute for Neuroscience, the Department of Psychiatry, Dell Medical School.


Graduate Students 

Ana Rigney

ana (dot) rigney (at)

I am interested in self-evaluation and how to improve accuracy through social cognition. Specifically, I research how thinking about others can attenuate overly positive self perceptions. I am also interested in the underlying neural

mechanisms of self perceptions and which regions are recruited to correct for unrealistic evaluations.


Serena Brandler

Serena entered the Beer lab in fall 2018 after receiving her B.A. from Rice University where she majored in Psychology, Cognitive Sciences, and Linguistics. Her honors thesis focused on testing the effectiveness of reappraisal training for students with test anxiety. Broadly, she is interested in authenticity, emotion regulation, and measurements of emotion.

Skylar Brannon

Skylar is a graduate student who primarily works with Dr. Bertram Gawronski. She is working on two projects with the Beer Self-Regulation lab which aim to understand why people process negative versus positive information so differently and how social context affects this selective processing.


Postdoctoral Fellows

Michelle Harris
Michelle joined the lab in Fall 2017 and began research on understanding the interpersonal sources of self-esteem. Michelle completed her PhD at UC Davis in the Human Development department and is building her scientific repertoire by gaining experience with experimental approaches to understanding psychological processes as part of her postdoctoral position in the lab.


Lab Alumni

Jamil Palacios Bhanji

NIMH/NIH Training Fellow/UT Graduate Research Fellow

Jamil's personal webpage


During his graduate training, Jamil investigated the neural substrates of motivational influences on decision making. He is currently a Research Scientist at Rutgers University.




David Chester

david.s.chester (at)

Lab webpage

Dave was our fearless lab manager for the 2010-2011 academic year. He worked on several studies involving social-cognitive biases. After completing graduate school at the University of Kentucky's Psychology Department in Nathan DeWall's lab, Dave has started his own lab as an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.


Janell Fetterolf

j.fetterolf (at) gmail. com

Lab webpage

Janell was a lab manager in the lab at UT Austin. In the lab, she worked on studies examining emotion and information processing. After completing graduate school at Rutgers University in Laurie Rudman's lab, Janell has gone on to work at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC.




Taru Flagan

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Taru completed her dissertation work on the ways in which emotion and motivation color information-processing and the neural systems that support this influence. In a series of publications, she discovered that the VMPFC plays a role in both emotional and motivational influence and that it likely supports preferential evidence accumulation to fulfill motivational goals. She currently works as a Research Scientist in the Dementia Imaging Genetics Lab at the University of California, San Francisco.

Gili Freedman

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

gili.freedman (at)


During her graduate training, Gili worked on a number of projects focused on understanding social rejection from the perspective of the source. She was specifically interested in trying to understand how people think about social rejection, how they do it, and whether they are doing it in a way that minimizes the damage done to their targets and their own reputations. She is currently an Assistant Professor at St Mary's College of Maryland.


Brent Hughes

brencho (at)


Brent's personal webpage


During his graduate training, Brent investigated the psychological and neural processes by which we perceive ourselves and other people, as well as the biases involved in these perceptions.  After completing a postdoctoral position at Stanford University, Brent has started his own lab in his position as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at University
                                              of California, Riverside. 


Jessica Koski

Jess was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab from 2015-2017 where she completed projects aimed at understanding the affective versus cognitive role of MPFC in social cognition. Her research found that many longstanding assumptions about the role of MPFC in social cognition were challenged once socioemotional associations of social targets were decoupled from actual knowledge about the social target.


Mike Lombardo, PhD

ml437 (at)

Mike's Cambridge Neuroscience homepage

Personal homepage

Mike was a lab manager when the lab was at UC Davis. In the lab, he worked on projects examining self-perception bias and emotion-cognition interactions using neuroimaging and special population methodologies. He got his PhD at the University of Cambridge in Simon Baron-Cohen's lab and is currently a faculty member in the University of Cyprus's Psychology Department. Mike's interests include social cognition and autism.


Pranj Mehta, PhD 

mehta (at)

Lab webpage

Pranj was a post doctoral researcher in the lab (2007-2008).  In the lab, he studied the neural mediators of the relation between testosterone and social decision-making. His current research focuses on the biological systems of  power, status, and dominance. After pursuing his interests with collaborators at Columbia University and Erasmus University and a stint as University of Oregon faculty, Pranj has moved to University College London.




Mirre Stallen

M.Stallen (at)

Mirre's homepage

Mirre conducted her Master's level research in the lab while visiting us from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (2005-2006). Her project examined the neural correlates of the affective and cognitive processes of prejudice.  Her research focuses on the neural systems involved in decision-making. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Leiden University.