Psychology Faculty Research Interests and Areas

Faculty Research Interests

* Indicates faculty willing to accept Experimental program thesis students for Fall 2023

Christina A. Byrne

Psychological trauma, intimate partner violence.

Jeff Carroll

Work in the Carroll lab is focused on understanding whole body symptoms of Huntington's Disease, using a genetic mouse model.  We are particularly interested in the role that brain-body cross talk plays in the development of HD symptoms in our system.  Dr. Carroll is also engaged in education efforts targeting the Huntington's Disease community, and the effects these educational efforts have on community member's decision making.

*Anna Ciao

Dr. Ciao leads the Eating and Body Image (EBI) research team at WWU. The EBI team is a group of undergraduate and graduate students who conduct research, run interventions, and engage in advocacy related to body liberation, food and body justice, and prevention of disordered eating. The goal of our work is to understand the ways that eating, food, and weight issues permeate our lives and create individual and societal inequalities (including eating disorders, weight bias, food insecurity, and other obstacles).   

*Alex Czopp

My research attempts to examine the ways in which people can reduce the experiences and expressions of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination within themselves and others. In our efforts to address such outcomes we examine the subtle ways in which these category-based processes may contribute to the perpetuation of intergroup anxiety and hostility (e.g., through “positive” stereotypes) and the not-so-subtle ways that people can actively induce changes in their social environments (e.g., though interpersonal confrontation).

Brianna Delker

Dr. Delker's research lab examines the psychological impact of trauma and abuse perpetrated within close relationships. This includes abuse experienced in childhood relationships with caregivers, and also in adult relationships.  Dr. Delker is particularly interested in understanding the enduring effects of childhood trauma across the lifespan, with a focus on the experiences of young adults and women transitioning to parenthood. Recent work examines the social contexts for interpersonal violence, such as family reactions to child abuse, societal attitudes/stigma related to trauma, and cultural differences in the preference for traumatic experiences to be narrated in a redemptive fashion. 

*Jennifer Devenport

Psychology and law; factors influencing juror decision-making such as expert psychological testimony, cross-examination, eyewitness identification evidence.

Tina Du Rocher Schudlich

My research interests include interparental and family processes associated with developmental psychopathology in children. My current research investigates the development of normal and abnormal patterns of emotion regulation in response to high-conflict environments, and mechanisms that explain risk and resilience in these environments.  Understanding reciprocal relations between mood disorders and families’ well-being is another focus. I incorporate multi-method approaches to my research and am especially fond of behavioral observations of couples’ and families’ interactions.

Lena K. Ericksen

My latest book, Stranded on the Shores of Time, scheduled for release November 2014, addresses how civilization altered human behavior. It also examines how the current economic system shapes the character of our interpersonal relationships. Evolutionary psychology, social constructivism, biological essentialism, and Eriksonian epigenetics were the paradigms that structured the textbook, Gender in a Changing World, for which I provided editorial guidance. I co-authored Nations of One, and originated the term and concept of hyper-individuation.

*Annie Fast

Dr. Fast’s research interests are in the area of social and moral cognitive development. Therefore, she is passionate about investigating children’s reasoning about social/moral behaviors and children’s actual social/moral behavior. She is primarily interested in the development of generous behavior, with a particular focus on understanding why individuals share and help during early childhood. Her current research examines whether and how emotional experiences (e.g., happiness) from giving motivate young children’s sharing behavior.

Antonya Gonzalez

My research focuses on the development of intergroup bias. I study the cognitive biases and cultural influences that contribute to intergroup bias, as well as the consequences of bias for children’s behavior. Furthermore, I am currently examining the efficacy of interventions to change detrimental race, gender, and status biases in early development.

James Graham

My research focuses on examining adaptive processes in romantic relationships, or what goes “right” in relationships. In the past, this has included examining how couples spend their time together in growth-promoting or “self-expanding” activities, and how couples adapt successfully to stress.  Currently, my research team is examining the structure of romantic love and is developing a measure of romantic obsession. I also conduct research in statistics, psychometrics, and “best practices” in quantitative methods.

Jeffrey W. Grimm

Animal models of drug taking and drug seeking, neurobiology of drug taking and drug seeking.

Diana Gruman

Dr. Gruman is interested in the investigation of risk and protective factors which influence the academic and social development of school-aged children. Her research work is focused on examining the efficacy and effectiveness of preventative interventions within the professional practice of school counseling. Examples include: the effects of non-cognitive skills interventions on academic behaviors and the impact of literacy-based guidance lessons on social skills development.

*Ira E. Hyman, Jr.

Memory, cognitive psychology, social cognition.

*Kelly J. Jantzen

I use high-density electroencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation to investigate brain behavior relationships.  The goal of research in my lab is to uncover fundamental principles of cortical function that explain the rich repertoire of human behavior.  Work is focused on understanding action/perception relationships.

Josh Kaplan

My lab studies the developmental consequences and therapeutic efficacy of cannabis in pre-clinical rodent models of disease and psychological disorders. To do this, we employ behavioral, genetic, pharmacological, and electrophysiology techniques coupled with novel passive inhalation methods that mimic human use patterns. We aim to optimize cannabis' medicinal benefits, minimize side effects, and better understand its impact on the developing brain.

Jeff King

Cross-cultural psychology. The impact of teaching cross-cultural psychology to undergraduate students on their personal worldview, cultural awareness, behavior, and personal philosophy; the impact of teaching cross-cultural counseling on the perceived cultural competence of counselors in training; assessing the extent to which cultural content and processes are included in psychology courses; assessing student perceptions of the amount of cultural content in their respective classes; protective and risk factors in the retention of Native American college students; how scientific-mindedness affects our ability to understand non-western cultural epistemologies; and Muscogee Nation traditional healing and mental health treatment.

*Barbara Lehman

My research lab studies the momentary processes by which stress predicts mental and physical health. Our experience sampling research focuses on the cardiovascular and emotional consequences of routine social stress, and on the perpetuation of negative emotions over time. Recent experimental work includes tests of meditation interventions, investigations of social support, and manipulations of coping strategy. Dr. Lehman also studies research methodology and statistics, and typically includes physical markers of health (such as ambulatory blood pressure, heart rate variability, and impedance cardiography) in her research.

*Kristi Lemm

Dr. Lemm’s research interests are broadly in the area of social cognition, and span an eclectic range of topics including sport psychology, health psychology, prejudice and stereotyping, gender identity, cognitive development, and unconscious cognition.

Julie Major

Clinical psychology, behavioral medicine.

Brent Mallinckrodt

Attachment in adults, affect regulation, the counseling relationship as a catalyst for client change, social support, and training students for social justice advocacy.

Mike Mana

Neural substrates of cognition; stress and aging; behavioral pharmacology.

*Michi Matsukura

Because our visual system cannot process all incoming information in the world, mental function called “attention” enables us to select and process the information relevant to our goal, while filtering out other irrelevant information. That is, we live through this world by prioritizing some information over other information. My lab investigates how attention facilitates visual information processing in two contexts: (a) when the visual information remains in front of us—in the visual field (including scenes, during perceptual processing), and (b) when the visual information disappears from the visual field and no longer available for perceptual processing (during memory maintenance). Because I believe that the ultimate goal of conducting basic research is to apply that knowledge to solve real-world problems, recent lines of research have expanded to examine possible attentional selection mechanisms in evaluating the forms of data visualization before one makes a decision. The investigations in my lab employ both eye-tracking and non-eye-tracking methods. I enjoy working with students and researchers across different fields.

*Jennifer McCabe

Dr. McCabe's program of research broadly pertains to maternal-child health. As director of the EMBERcenter, Dr. McCabe studies pregnancy and postpartum mental health and its consequences for parenting and child development. The goal for her research is to develop and test interventions designed to decrease maternal distress during pregnancy, improve mother-infancy interactions, and promote child social-emotional development.

*Kate McLean

My research centers on identity development in adolescence and emerging adulthood. I focus on how people recall and interpret their life experiences in narrative form. I view narrative identity development as both an individual and a socio-cultural process. In working on the individual level of analysis, I examine the meanings that individuals make of their most important memories, and how various patterns of narration are associated with personality and well-being. On the socio-cultural level of analysis I examine micro processes, such as how converstations with others impact how we story past events, as well as macro processes, such as the interactions with systems and structures that support and constrain the development of identity. In my research I try to better understand how each person's identity is at the same time unique to his or her own life story, as well as deeply integrated with the structural conditions of society.

*Annie Riggs 

My research explores the cognitive processes underlying children’s social generalization. I’m interested in how children generalize information acquired from their experiences with individuals to groups of people. My past and current research investigates this question from multiple angles, including children’s memory for and statistical learning of social information, how they learn from people portrayed in curricular materials and the role that norms play in early social cognition.  

Jacqueline Rose

Dr. Rose employs several approaches to gain insight into how neurons are uniquely adapted to modify themselves following a change in stimulus input. Research in the Rose lab utilizes the microscopic C. elegans model system to investigate processes at the single-neuron level within an intact animal model. Dr. Rose also employs dissociated hippocampal neuron cultures to observe protein redistribution and aggregation following induced activity. Taken together, these two research directions converge to reveal how alterations in ongoing signaling changes neurons and how these changes can be reflected in the whole, behaving animal.

*David N. Sattler

Social justice and environmental justice are at the core of Dr. Sattler’s scholarship and research. Social justice projects examine societal reactions to situations involving prejudice and discrimination. Environmental justice projects examine climate change risk perceptions and adaption and disaster response. Projects are conducted with Western world and understudied non-Western world samples, such as nomadic herders in Mongolia and survivors of climate change-related disasters in coastal areas of the Philippines, Fiji, and Tonga. Dr. Sattler established in International Tsunami Museum in Thailand.

*Christie Scollon

Dr. Scollon studies subjective well-being, or what most people call 'happiness.' Under this broad umbrella, she is especially interested in cultural differences in happiness and emotions—for example, why some nations or cultures are happier than others. Some of her research has explored cultural differences in the valuing of emotions, cultural differences in the cognitive organization of emotion, and cultural differences in folk theories about the good life.

Aaron Smith

My research focuses on the development of mental health standards for work with military populations, including mental health interventions intended to provide support for veterans from traditionally marginalized groups, veterans transitioning out of the military or home from deployment, survivors of combat-trauma or military sexual trauma (MST), intimate partner violence (IPV), substance use, and other pertinent mental health concerns. I also conduct research on posttraumatic growth from a meaning-based, humanistic perspective with veteran survivors of trauma.

Shaun Sowell

Investigation of professional school counselors’ ability to use advocacy as a means to eliminate burnout and support self-care and wellness practices, using/developing best practices in training and preparing school counselors to work with diverse and ever changing student populations, the role of the school counselor in leveling inequities in education, and school counselor professional identity development.

Larry Symons

My research focuses on perceptual psychology. I study the perception of faces, particularly the effects of image inversion and processes involved in the holistic vs. piecemeal perception of parts of the face. I am also interested in stimulus factors that affect our ability to perceive direction of gaze. As well, I have studied illusions of motion. I am also interested in brain responses to these stimuli.

Michael Warren

My positive psychology research builds understanding of how young people become mindful and inclusive individuals. Rather than viewing mindfulness as a quality that exists exclusively 'in the head' and needs to be trained through meditation, I am interested in how mindfulness emerges from the social fabric of adolescents' everyday lives (e.g., through interaction patterns with peers and teachers). My lab also examines how moral virtues such as compassion and fairness develop, and how individuals can apply the virtues that they already value in the service of becoming better allies toward socially marginalized outgroups (e.g., people of color, poor and working-class individuals, LGBTQIA+ individuals).  

Faculty Research Areas

Clinical Psychology

Christina Byrne, Anna Ciao, Brianna Delker, Jennifer McCabe, Tina Du Rocher Schudlich, Jim Graham

Counseling Psychology

Christina Byrne, Anna Ciao, Tina Du Rocher Schudlich, Jim Graham, Diana Gruman, Brent Mallinckrodt, Jennifer McCabe, Aaron Smith

Cross-Cultural Psychology

Anna Ciao, Alex Czopp, Jennifer Devenport, Jim Graham, Jeff King, Barbara Lehman, Kate McLean, David Sattler, Christie Scollon, Aaron Smith, Michael Warren

Developmental Psychology

Annie Fast, Antonya Gonzalez, Diana Gruman, Jennifer McCabe, Kate McLean, Annie Riggs, Tina Du Rocher Schudlich, Michael Warren

Health Psychology

Barbara Lehman, Jenni McCabe, Christie Scollon, Michael Warren

Learning, Cognition, and Perception

Ira Hyman, Michi Matsukura, Annie Riggs, Larry Symons


Jeff Carroll, Jeffrey Grimm, Kelly Jantzen, Josh Kaplan, Mike Mana, Michi Matsukura, Jacqueline Rose

Quantitative Methods

Antonya Gonzalez, Jim Graham, Barbara Lehman, Kristi Lemm

School Counseling

Diana Gruman, Shaun Sowell

Social Psychology

Alex Czopp, Jennifer Devenport, Barbara Lehman, Kristi Lemm, David Sattler, Christie Scollon, Michael Warren