The following labs at the University of California, Riverside are recruiting graduate students interested in pursuing a PhD in Psychology: the Kids Interaction and Neuro Development Lab (Dr. Kalina Michalska), the CALLA Lab (Dr. Rachel Wu), the Perception, Action, and Development Lab (Dr. John Franchak), the Adversity and Adaptation Lab (Dr. Tuppett Yates), the Cognitive Development Lab (directed by Dr. Mary Gauvain), and the Biobehavioral Research Lab (Dr. Chandra Reynolds). The UCR Department of Psychology offers specializations in Developmental, Cognitive, Social/Personality Psychology, and in Systems Neuroscience. The Developmental program at UCR is regarded for its strengths in contextual and cultural influences on child socialization (Cheung, Davis, Gauvain, Michalska, Natsuaki, Richert, Yates), cognitive and perceptual development across the lifespan (Franchak, Gauvain, Reynolds, Richert, Wu), and biological substrates of adjustment (Davis, Michalska, Natsuaki, Reynolds, Yates). The diversity of the UCR campus and of the surrounding community make UCR an ideal campus for graduate students interested in studying the ways in which developmental processes are influenced by and interact with variations in environment, especially cultural practices and socioeconomic status.
The Kids Interaction and Neuro Development Lab (KIND Lab), directed by Dr. Kalina Michalska, conducts research on individual differences in the development of empathy and social competence. Particular emphasis is placed on characterizing how dispositional traits interact with social learning to modulate basic mechanisms of emotional responsiveness and emotional memory. We employ complementary methodologies including functional and structural brain imaging, autonomic responses and behavior observations in typically developing children, as well as in youth with disruptive behavior problems and those with social anxiety.
The CALLA Lab (www.callalab.com, directed by Dr. Rachel Wu) conducts developmental cognitive neuroscience research on how attention and learning interact from infancy to aging adulthood. We use neural (EEG) and behavioral (eye-tracking, accuracy/reaction time) responses to investigate how infants and adults differ in their approaches to finding and learning about relevant information. Our research program has two components: 1) measuring adults’ use of previously acquired knowledge and tracking the development of this ability from infancy, and 2) applying infant and child learning strategies to mitigate cognitive decline during aging. Using infant learning to inform adult learning and vice versa has the greatest promise to lead to discoveries about optimal learning strategies that can be applied throughout the lifespan.
The Perception, Action, and Development Lab (padlab.ucr.edu) investigates how people use visual information to guide actions and engage in social interactions. Through our research, we hope to understand 1) how perceptual-motor systems adapt to changes in the body and environment, 2) developmental changes in infants’ everyday visual experiences, and 3) factors that influence infants’ looking behavior. We employ mobile eye tracking and naturalistic observation to examine the natural visual experiences of infants, children, and adults in everyday tasks.
Research in the Culture and Child Development Lab (http://cheunglab.ucr.edu/) focuses on how the environment influences children’s motivation and achievement across cultural contexts. The lab is seeking Ph.D. students who have strong interest in the role of parents, teachers, and peers in children’s school adjustment. We employ diverse methodologies in our research, including naturalistic and controlled observations, surveys, and measures of physiological reactivity. Recent lines of work involves: (1) an investigation on the role of teacher-student relationships in children’s achievement in 50+ countries; (2) a longitudinal study on parenting and children’s creativity; and (3) a study on the effects of parents’ expectations and children’s performance in the academic arena.
Research in the Emotion Regulation Lab (directed by Dr. Elizabeth Davis) focuses on understanding how developing emotion and emotion regulation processes relate to adaptive and maladaptive outcomes in childhood. We use a multi-method biopsychosocial approach to characterizing affective processes across levels of analysis (e.g., psychophysiology, cognitive, social, and emotional behavior). The goals of the research in our lab are to identify regulatory strategies that children can use to effectively alleviate negative emotion, and to identify individual differences in children’s biology and social experiences that determine whether and when they can regulate emotion effectively. We also identify mechanisms responsible for effective emotion regulation (e.g., attentional focus) to explain why certain emotion regulation strategies attenuate negative emotion and distress better than others.
The Developmental Transitions Lab, directed by Dr. Misaki Natsuaki, asks three fundamental questions: why does psychopathology increase during the transition from childhood to adolescence? When does it start and how does it develop over time? Why do some children experience such difficulties while others do not? Answers to these questions can inform the applied efforts to support healthy development in children and their families. Taking a developmental approach, our research focuses on the interplay of biological (puberty) and environmental origins of vulnerability to psychopathology. We apply longitudinal and genetically-informative designs to examine how these factors influence the trajectories of emotional and behavioral (mal)adjustment in childhood and adolescence.
The Adversity and Adaptation Lab (www.adlab.ucr.edu), directed by Dr. Tuppett Yates, is committed to the study of how children are affected by, and in many cases successfully negotiate, adverse life experiences, such as poverty, community and family violence, loss and illness. We endeavor to understand how and why the development of some children is undermined by negative life experience, whereas others are relatively less affected (i.e., resilience). Our research employs multiple methods, including direct observation, physiological recordings, quantitative measures, and qualitative interviews, to examine key relationships that influence the effects of adverse experience on development, including those within the family and community, as well as those among physical, emotional, and behavioral response systems of children and adolescents. Dr. Yates oversees two ongoing longitudinal investigations of high-risk children and youth to clarify processes underlying risk and resilience in an effort to inform the development and implementation of effective prevention, intervention, and policy efforts to help children, their families, and the communities in which they live.
The research in the Childhood Cognition Lab (http://www.ccl.ucr.edu/index.html) explores the influence of religion, fantastical thinking, and media exposure on cognitive development. Current funding in the lab supports a longitudinal study of children’s developing religious concepts (funded by the John Templeton Foundation) and a series of studies examining how children’s social cognition influences STEM learning from different media platforms (funded by NSF REESE).
The Cognitive Development Laboratory (http://cogdevlab.ucr.edu, directed by Dr. Mary Gauvain) is seeking Ph.D. degree students in developmental psychology who are interested in studying sociocultural contributions to cognitive development in the areas of planning, problem solving, spatial cognition, or contamination sensitivity.
The Biobehavioral Research Lab (bbr.ucr.edu), directed by Dr. Chandra Reynolds, focuses on understanding individual differences in health and cognition across the lifespan, considering both environmental and genetic factors. Projects include evaluating the genetic and environmental etiologies of cognitive aging, including gene pathways and their possible interplay with environmental factors. Moreover, we are examining early life factors and contexts that influence cognitive, health and well-being profiles into mid-adulthood and across the lifespan.
The program of study requires approximately four or five years to complete. Typically, graduate students receive financial support for up to five years. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the department admissions page for more information: http://www.psych.ucr.edu/grad/admissions.html.
Graduate School and Scholarship Postings
These postings have been obtained by the Psychology department, which have been published for those who have already declared a major or minor in psychology at Northwestern. Please take a look at Canvas for most up to date postings.
Graduate School Postings