Diversity by Research Area


Faculty across areas in the department are committed to training students from diverse backgrounds, and there are many opportunities for students to engage in diversity-related research. Opportunities in each area of research are described below: 

Behavioral Neuroscience

In an effort to support the recruitment and retention of diverse students in neuroscience, Behavioral Neuroscience faculty actively participate in programs that help expose diverse populations to research conducted in our laboratories. We also have a continuing commitment to train students from underrepresented populations at all levels of training, including undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers. We welcome you to visit our websites for more information.

Moorman, Novak, Bergan, Pereira, and Richardson use animal models to study the neural and hormonal mechanisms of mental health issues faced by various distinct populations, including examination of sex differences.

Lacreuse and Spencer study cognitive functioning in older populations.

Meyer, Moorman, and Richardson use animal models to study adolescent susceptibility to stress and addiction.

Clinical Psychology

The Clinical Program is committed to promoting awareness of, and respect for, cultural and individual diversity. It is our goal to train students to address issues of diversity in theory, research, and practice in clinical psychology. To achieve this goal, we integrate training on diversity issues throughout students’ learning experiences. In coursework, students complete an intensive core course devoted to diversity issues, and cover topic-specific material in all core clinical courses. In clinical training, students practice awareness of and response to diversity issues through clinical practica and individual supervision. There are many opportunities in the clinical program for working with diverse populations. In research, students consider diversity issues during study design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation. Many students conduct theses and dissertations on diversity-related topics, and faculty and students widely disseminate this research through publications and conference presentations. As a program and a community, we integrate diversity themes and topics into our clinical colloquium series and at an annual retreat that encourages active discussion and reflection on diversity issues in our division. Finally, as members of the academic community, we seek opportunities to advocate for attention to issues of diversity outside of our own division at the department, college, and university levels.

Below are descriptions of the ways in which faculty in Clinical Psychology engage in diversity-related research:

Constantino: Identifying and understanding patient, therapist, and relational processes that influence psychosocial treatments for adult patients, including the role of participant cultural identities and multicultural orientation; patient-centered, community-engaged research on psychotherapy effectiveness, including increasing access to mental health care and testing patient-provider match strategies

Dixon-Gordon: Influences of gender and race/ethnicity/acculturation on emotional functioning and psychopathology. Examining the associations between emotional processes and psychopathology in underrepresented groups.

Grotevant: The Adoption Mentoring Partnership matches adopted children with a same-race, same-gender, undergraduate mentor who is also adopted. We are conducting research examining program effects on mentors’ and mentees’ adjustment.

Harvey: Family relations and children with behavior problems, including the role of culture in parenting practices and child development. 

Perry-Jenkins: Ways in which socio-cultural factors, such as race, ethnicity, gender, and social class, shape the mental health and family relationships of parents and their children. How social inequities create challenges and stressors in the transition to parenthood.

Ready: Individual differences in emotion and cognition based on adult age. Older adults’ different experiences and perspectives and how these factors may influence emotion regulation and coping. Unrecognized assets and resources in older adults.

Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience

Below are descriptions of the ways in which faculty in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience engage in diversity-related research:

Cohen: The changes in judgment and decision-making associated with aging.

Cowell:  The changes in memory function that occur in normal aging.

Jesse: Perceptual and cognitive factors underlying individual differences in speech perception by younger and older adults.

Sanders: The NeuroCognition and Perception lab conducts research on selective attention and language processing. We are taking our electrophysiological measures of speech processing to the real world to investigate how young children process speech in noisy classrooms and how older adults process speech in a variety of challenging communication settings. Conducting neuroscience research in public spaces brings greater diversity to our participant groups, our speech stimuli, and the environments in which we study language processing.

Spencer: Changes in sleep and memory across the life span. One line of this work is particularly interested in naps and nap function in preschool children and how this varies across racial, economic, and cultural lines.

Staub: Investigating how the race of individuals in scenes and the viewer’s emotional state influence visual attention. Investigating the causes of older adults’ difficulty in understanding speech in noisy environments. Investigating deficits in pragmatic use of language in adolescents on the autism spectrum.

Developmental Science

Below are descriptions of the ways in which faculty in Developmental Science engage in diversity-related research:

Arnold: Understanding and preventing disruptive behavior and academic problems in young, high-risk children, with a particular interest in economically disadvantaged families, ethnicity/culture, and gender.

Cheries: Studies infants to explore the universal foundations for thinking about objects, numbers, and the minds of others—a first step in understanding how development can be affected by diversity of experiences, whether they be due to differences in gender, culture, race, or economic standing.

Deater-Deckard: Studies the development of individual and group variations in social-emotional and cognitive functions, including gender, race, ethnicity, and culture.

Mandalaywala: Studies how young individuals make sense of and cope with the complex social world around them. The primary goal is to better understand how and when children start to view and think about the world in terms of social groupings (based on race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.), and how children's perceptions and beliefs about the social world can help them thrive in their particular environment.

McDermott: Explores the development of self-regulation in children, with a focus on the roles of gender and early experience in shaping regulatory patterns across context.
 

Social Psychology

Below are descriptions of the ways in which faculty in Social Psychology engage in diversity-related research:

Dasgupta: Implicit prejudice, stereotyping, and self-concept. Ways in which societal stereotypes subtly influence attitudes and behavior and, in the case of disadvantaged groups, influence self-concept and life decisions. How implicit bias is reduced by changing local environments and, in contrast, how bias is magnified when people experience particular negative emotions.

Isbell: The impact of emotional experiences on processes related to diversity concerns.  For example, the impact of emotions on stereotype-use when forming impressions of individuals from different groups (e.g., elderly, homeless individuals, racial groups, etc).  Current work investigates the influence of emotions on diagnostic reasoning among physicians when evaluating patients with physical health concerns and a co-occurring mental illness.

Lickel: Self-conscious emotions (shame, guilt, embarrassment) in situations related to people’s racial identity. How this affects how white and nonwhite students interact with each other and their support for policies related to affirmative action and campus diversity initiatives.

Tropp: How people are perceived and treated on the basis of group membership; how differences in perspective between members of historically advantaged and disadvantaged groups shape views of society and approaches to navigating relations with members of other groups. Strategies and mechanisms that can be used to improve relations, foster communication and mutual understanding, and promote greater equality between groups.

Pietromonaco:  Understanding how close relationship processes are connected to health and well-being and how this link might vary for individuals from different groups (e.g., culture, gender, age).