Graduate Students

Katie Adams
M.S. Psychology (2018) Villanova University, B.A. Psychology (2014) University of Rochester
Pronouns: She/Her
Advisor: Dr. Omri Gillath
Research Lab: Gillath Lab & Sex Lab
Research Interests: My research focuses on close relationships and the underlying motivations of attraction, sexual behaviors, and short- vs. long-term commitment. In past work, I have investigated women’s sexual motivations and goals for sexual hook-ups. I am currently heading research projects on (1) the creation and validation of a measure for pornography consumption motives, (2) the motivations for, and outcomes of, communicating infidelity to one's partner(s), and (3) the acceptability of flirting behaviors.
Please check out my ResearchGate profile for research project updates and a current copy of my CV. 
Research Lab: Gillath Lab
Advisor: Dr. Omri Gillath
Research Interests: I am broadly interested in the close relationship and attachment theory. Specifically, I'm interested in the function of the attachment system and the underlying mechanism. I am currently studying whether priming attachment security could buffer stress and how it works using different physiological measures. I am further interested in the cultural difference in the close relationships. I am working on a project that explores the cultural difference in the experience of "envy your friend" between America and China.

Research Labs: Branscombe Lab & Molina Lab
Advisor: Dr. Nyla Branscombe
Research Interests: My research interests center around intergroup relations and stigmatized group identities.  Some specific questions of interest include: How do members of stigmatized groups cope with perceived disadvantage due to their devalued status?  How do asymmetric power relations complicate intergroup relation exchanges, and how can we promote more positive interactions across group boundaries?  I also explore opportunities for community-engaged scholarship by collaborating with the Center for Public Partnerships & Research at KU.  
B.S. Psychology (2019), Middle East Technical University
Research Lab: Cultural Psychology Research Group
Advisor: Dr. Glenn Adams
Research Interests: I am broadly interested in people’s engagement with different knowledge systems from the cultural psychological perspective as well as the effect of social identities on the “ways of knowing.” Additionally, I conduct research on the cultural construction of “peace” by using social representations framework, while exploring the implications of minority membership on perceptions of slow violence. My work also includes how the content and the structure of political-ideology change by cultural ecologies.
M.A. Psychology (2019), Cleveland State University, B.S. Psychological Science (2016), John Carroll University
Advisor: Dr. Mark Landau
Research Interests: I’m interested in non-traditional methods of defending from existential threats, such as, isolation, meaninglessness, and lack of belonging. Specifically, I study how people may turn to virtual social environments, like MMO’s, in order to re-establish social connectedness and restore feelings of meaning and belonging—even when their real-life experiences provide little existential protection. I’m looking into when, why, and how these virtual environments are beneficial to people, as well as, when they start to become detrimental. Additionally, I’m also interested in conceptual metaphor theory and time perception and use them to further study human perception and cognition. 


Jordan Cortesi
B.S. Psychology (2019) University of Iowa
Advisor: Dr. Monica Biernat 
Research Lab: Biernat Lab
Research Interests: My research interests center around prejudice, stereotyping, and intergroup relations. I am broadly interested in the social and cognitive processes that underly our judgements, attitudes, and perceptions of others. Some questions I'm interested in are: How do stereotypes, prejudice, and implicit bias affect the expectations we have and the attributions we make about others? What role does sterotypes and prejudice play in reinforcing intergroup power dynamics and social status? How does being a member of a stigmatized identity or sterotyped group affect the individual?
M.A. Psychology (2020) University of Kansas, B.A. Psychology (2018) Gettysburg College
Advisor: Dr. Chris Crandall
Research Interests: My research interests include the circumstances that might lead one to either justify or suppress genuine prejudice. I am further interested in how social norms influence the likelihood to express such prejudices, and how significant cultural and political events shift social norms. In this norms research, I utilize classic social-psychological theories (such as social comparison and attribution theory) to better understand the complexities of prejudice.​

B.S. Psychology (2018) Trinity College, M.A. Psychology (2020), University of Kansas
Advisor: Dr. Ludwin Molina
Research Interests: In general, I am interested in how members of historically advantaged groups maintain and respond to threats to their higher status positions. Some of the questions that my current research seeks to address are: What are the psychological processes that account for why much of mainstream America tends to view Asian Americans through a different lens than other racial minority groups? What are the psychological and social consequences of Asian Americans being viewed relatively favorably for other minority groups (e.g., Black and Latino Americans)?


B.A. Psychology (2019), University of Kansas
Pronouns: He/Him
Advisor: Dr. Glenn Adams
Research Lab: Cultural Psychology Research Group (CPRG)
Research Interests: My research centers on the cultural psychology of climate change denial using mixed methods approaches. I am interested in how the cultural contexts in which we live (both in our environments and within our heads) reflect and promote different understandings of issues like climate change, racism, history, and science. I am also interested in how different framings of history (e.g., historical intergroup relations) reflect and promote different understandings of present-day social issues. Currently, I am also interested in exploring the coloniality embedded in modern forms of environmentalism.

Advisor: Dr. Chris Crandall
Research Interests: My research interest broadly encompasses aspects of political and religious psychology.   More specifically I am interested in why people intuitively prefer the status quo and incumbents in political elections.  I am also interested how the use of people conceptually understand metaphors, and how certain metaphors impact peoples understanding of difficult concepts.   
M.A. Psychology (2019), University of Kansas, B.S. Psychology (2017), Iowa State University , B.S. Sociology (2017), Iowa State University
Research Lab: Branscombe Lab
Advisor: Dr. Nyla Branscombe 
Research Interests: Broadly, I study intergroup relations, gender, and allyship. I am particularly interested in how allyship from dominant group members can aid women’s retention and advancement in underrepresented, male-dominated fields. I also study the ways in which to foster solidarity between groups of unequal social status, focusing particularly on the antecedents and motivations for men’s involvement in gender equality. Lastly, I study whether allies impact the perceptions and efficacy of confrontations against sexism from both ingroup and outgroup members.
Syed Muhammad Omar
B.S. Psychology (2019) University of Florida
Advisor: Dr. Glenn Adams
Research interests: I am interested in exploring the role of sociocultural factors play in the different ways people conceptualize and think about proximal, observable, impacts of climate change and the more distal, unobservable, impacts of climate devastation. Further, climate devastation’s disproportionate manifestation (between the Global South and North) is contingent on the historic development of capitalist-imperialism. My goals are to explain the identity-oriented motivations of Eurocentric climate activism and develop interventions for an internationalist activism which is historically salient.
M.A. Psychology (2019), University of Kansas, B.A. Psychology (2017), Kansas State University, B.A. Anthropology (2017), Kansas State University

Research Lab: Biernat Lab
Advisor: Dr. Monica Biernat 
Research Interests:  My research focuses on how social and cognitive factors influence perceptions of prejudice and discrimination, from the perspective of observers and targets. I am also interested in how stereotypes influence perceptions of one's self, as well as others
M.A. Psychology (2019), University of Kansas, B.A. Psychology (2015), Hampton University
Pronouns: He/Him
Research Lab: Biernat Lab and Molina Lab  
Advisor: Dr. Monica Biernat
Research Interests: Broadly, my research focuses on stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination across several domains. I am particularly interested in how the intersection of multiple stigmatized identities (e.g. race, gender and sexual orientation) influence impression formation and person perception processes. I am also interested in the relationship between constructions of national identity and support for restrictive immigration policy.  
B.A. Psychology (2019), Albion College
Advisor: Dr. Ludwin Molina
Research Interest: My research interests broadly focus on intergroup relations and group identity (e.g., national, gender, racial). I am currently interested in: (1) the relationship between U.S. national identity, neoliberalism, and support for U.S. policy (e.g., social welfare), (2) the factors that lead to ingroup derogation (e.g., black sheep effect), and (3) how the rejection identification model (RIM) may vary as a function of national origin and social status among Asian Americans.
B.A. Psychology (2016) Oberlin College
Advisor: Dr. Nyla Branscombe
Research Interests: My research interests include intergroup relations and social identity, especially topics related to inequality, power, and oppression. I am curious about the ways in which identifying with a given group membership can impact an individual's attitudes and behavior. I am additionally interested in studying intergroup relations in the real-world contexts of the criminal justice system, intergroup conflict, and collective action.
M.A. Psychology (2019), University of Kansas, B.S. Psychology (2017), Uhiversity of Wisconsin Madison
Research Lab: Lemma Lab
Advisor: Dr. Mark Landau
Research Interests:  I study how and why people take interest in a goal and persist in the face of difficulty.   I'm especially interested in how identity and culture play a role in developing personal relevance for a topic.   These ideas can lead to intervention methods to help, for example, first-generations college students get interested in STEM careers; motivating a sub-population of people to get health screenings; helping individuals (with low perceive competence in STEM) be successful in the STEM-related goals by motivating them to take advantage of resources available to help them.   Additionally, I use conceptual metaphor theory, expectancy-value model, and identity based motivation as conceptual lenses and tools for my work.   
Emily Watkins
B.A. Psychology (2018) Rhodes College
Advisor: Dr. Monica Biernat
Research Interests: Broadly speaking, I’m interested in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, and the overarching goal of my research is to understand the biases that people hold and how that impacts their judgments and actions. In particular, I want to understand the underlying cognitive processes that affect judgment and decision-making in real-world contexts, especially regarding the workplace, religion, and the current political system. I am interested specifically in how stereotypes implicitly influence behavior, and more importantly, how research can be used to explain and address social inequities.

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