Psychology and Child Development

College of Liberal Arts

Faculty Research Interests

PSY and CD Faculty

Lucy Bencharit
Factors that promote positive outcomes for diverse groups in employment, workplace, and classroom settings. Ways that cultural factors may subtly and unconsciously shape our behaviors, judgments, and decision making. Explorations of how to leverage our cultural values to facilitate successful work and classroom outcomes in an increasingly multicultural world. Emphasizing the ways in which we can intervene in our environments to create healthy, efficient, and equitable organizations and institutions. 
 
Kelly Bennion
Factors that promote successful memory using a combination of behavioral, eye tracking, polysomnography, and neuroimaging approaches. Effects of real life variables (e.g., emotion, physiological arousal, stress, motivation) on memory and understanding how sleep affects memory. Prioritization of information during encoding to lead to optimal consolidation during sleep.
 
Jay Bettergarcia
Leads the Queer Community Action, Research, Education, and Support (Q C.A.R.E.S) research team. LGBTQ mental health and wellness, including affirming approaches to mental health care for transgender and nonbinary people. Evidence-based approaches to teaching and training about diversity. 
 
Shawn Burn
Application of social psychology to social problems including sexism, racism, heterosexism, sexual violence, and environmental sustainability. Expertise in bystander intervention, women's and gender studies, environmental psychology, organizational psychology, and group dynamics. 
 
Laura Cacciamani
Investigating how the various senses (vision, touch, hearing, etc.) work together and separately to produce understanding. Ability to both perceive and remember the objects in our environment, as well as their spatial relationships. Object perception and memory in both sighted individuals as well as those with sensory deficits such as blindness or deafness.
 
Denise Daniels
Early learning environments and children's motivation; development of social cognition; beliefs about child development and practice. 
 
Aaron Estrada
Multicultural and diversity considerations in psychological service provision; underserved populations; stereotype threat, the intersection of psychological assessment and academic achievement with ethnicity and culture; mental health promotion. 
 
Laura Freberg
Learning, memory, and cognition; physiological psychology; history and systems of psychology, sensation and perception, behavior disorders in childhood. Ongoing research in the areas of the use of technological innovations in instruction and memory processes in adults with learning disabilities. 
 
Julie Garcia
Social stigma; Self-esteem & self-concept; Stereotyping & prejudice; Multiple social identities. 
 
Jennifer Jipson
Children's emerging theories of scientific domains, children's developing scientific reasoning skills, informal environments (e.g., museums, zoos, preschools) as contexts for learning, use of technology to support children's learning, social and cultural contexts of young children's cognitive development. 
 
Jasna Jovanovic
Adolescent development; gender socialization. Ongoing research on emerging adult sexual behavior with a particular focus on women's sexual agency in casual relationships. 
 
Jessica Kaczorowski
Understanding brain-behavior relationships in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, from a developmental psychopathology perspective. Neuropsychological factors associated with a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood, such as autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disability, learning disorders, genetic syndromes, and emotional and behavioral disorders. 
 
Carrie Langner
Upstander intervention, racial attitudes, and intergroup friendship among elementary school children. Emotion regulation, social status, and health disparities. The roles of identity in political participation and collective action. 
 
Gary Laver
Memory and cognition, research methodology, and quantitative analysis of data including computer applications; basic research on semantic memory and changes in it over the course of adult aging. 
 
Linda Lee
Peer relationships in early childhood. Peer play, preference, and friendship selection and formation in culturally diverse preschools, Ethnic identity development in early childhood. 
 
J. Kelly Moreno
Eating disorders, mood and anxiety disorders; group therapy; psychodynamic theory and practice; forensic psychology. 
 
Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti
Counseling psychology; the intersection of multiculturalism and positive psychology constructs such as hope, coping, and well-being; multiracial identity development; the effects of multicultural education. 
 
Julie Rodgers
Health psychology; cultural influences on mental and physical well-being; social stigma and perceptions of minority groups; research methods and advanced quantitative techniques. 
 
Don Ryujin
Prejudice as it relates to sex and race, achievement/intrinsic motivation, relationships, race and sex biases in psychology, especially as it relates to psychotherapy. 
 
Jesús Serrano-Careaga
Intergroup relations, political psychology, and diversity science. The conditions under which members of minority groups are more likely to mobilize politically on behalf of other minority groups. Exploration of how perceptions of linked fate with a minority group and feelings of interdependence between stigmatized groups play in this process. How emotions, such as fear and anger, can motivate or suppress political action.
 
Taylor Smith
Development origins of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); prenatal environmental influences on neurodevelopmental outcomes; gene-environment interaction; epigenetics; meta-analysis. Ongoing research on the interplay between genetics/epigenetic factors and prenatal environment on ADHD risk. 
 
Lisa Sweatt
Childhood trauma and child sexual abuse, child forensic interviewing, violence prevention and intervention, psychology and social policy, multicultural training and counseling, and Latino/a psychology. 
 
Debra Valencia-Laver
Memory and cognition, especially the changes that occur with advanced age. Psycholinguistics and relationship of memory to language processing in healthy young and older adults.
 
Amber Williams
The role of race in shaping youths' self concepts, their relationships with in and out-group members, and their academic outcomes. Development of diverse children's racial cognition, including racial essentialism, stereotyping, and prejudice. Ways in which Black children's and adolescents' race-related experiences and beliefs directly and indirectly impact their academic outcomes. 

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