Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Students

Emefa Akwayena

Emefa Akwayena

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Research Interest: I am interested in the underlying neural mechanisms and anatomical structures of patients with various neurological disorders. I plan to study brain mapping and neuroimaging techniques to gather detailed, personalized perspectives on structure and function.

Advisor: Brad Mahon

Raouf Belkhir

Raouf Belkhir

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I’m interested in spatial and temporal dynamics of language organization in the brain and intra-operative picture naming tasks in awake neurosurgical patients.

Advisor: Brad Mahon

Jenah  Black

Jenah Black

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Research Interest: Jenah is a PhD student working jointly with Drs. Lori Holt and Bonnie Nozari. She completed her M.S. in Psychology at Villanova University in 2021, working under Dr. Joe Toscano. Previously, she completed her B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Iowa. Jenah is currently focused on examining how abstract knowledge about a discourse or an event influences low-level acoustic processing. When she’s not in the lab, you can usually find her indulging in her ferocious coffee habit, going on a power walk, or enjoying some quiet time with her two cats, Edmund and Sunny.

Advisor: Lori Holt & Bonnie Nozari

 

Ricky Choi

Ricky W.J. Choi

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I am interested in how humans come to learn and reason about cause-and-effect relationships that we encounter in everyday life, and what these causal representations look like throughout the developmental timeline.

Advisor: David Rakison

 

Maria Chroneos

Maria Chroneos

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I am broadly interested in how brain networks organize across development to support cognitive behavior and perception. I am particularly interested in reorganization and plasticity in individuals with neurological disorders, injuries, and other disruptions to these processes, and I have a long-term goal of guiding clinical understanding, decision-making, and interventions through my research. I aim to integrate behavioral, neuroimaging, and neural recording methods to probe these questions. Within these interests, I am currently studying eye movements and visual processing in pediatric patients who have undergone cortical resection to treat epileptic seizures.

Advisor: Marlene Behrmann

Julia Conti

Julia Conti

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Research Interests: A conversation about surrealist art takes an immense amount of abstract thought, from recognizing how bizarre an elephant can look to the language that allows us to do so. But what do these processes have in common? I am interested in the underlying mechanism that allows for such cognition, how we attained it, and whether non-human species can do the same.

Advisor: Jessica Cantlon

Abhishek Dedhe

Abhishek Dedhe

Graduate Student, Cognitive Neuroscience
Certificate in Quantitative Methodology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I am curious about the brain structures and algorithms involved in abstract thought, more specifically: mathematical cognition. I hope to use behavioural, cognitive neuroscience and computational methods to tackle these issues. More broadly speaking, I am interested in the intersection of the brain sciences, philosophy, and education.

Advisor: Jessica Cantlon

Pierre Gianferrara

Pierre Gianferrara

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

My main research goal is to uncover the neural and cognitive mechanisms of motor skill acquisition. To do so, I chose to focus my research on the roles of action timing and sensorimotor synchronization in video game learning. My end goal is to develop better computational models that would be applicable in the realm of human-computer interaction and robotics.

Advisor: John Anderson

Alana Hodson

Alana Hodson

Graduate Student, Cognitive Neuroscience

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

My research interests are in executive function, hearing loss, and speech comprehension. My area is cognitive science.

Advisor: Lori Holt & Barbara Shinn-Cunningham

Fiona Horner

Fiona Horner

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I am interested in the factors that impact one's ability to cope with stress and chronic illness. Specifically, my research focuses on how communal coping, positive affect, and meaning and purpose impact health outcomes and adjustment to chronic illness. I have related interests in understanding individual and cultural differences that determine how people respond to stress and disease. 

Advisor: Vicki Helgeson

Emily Keebler

Emily Keebler

Graduate Student, Psychology

  • 455 Wing Baker Hall
Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I am interested in the development of attention regulation and in applying this knowledge to educational domains.  I work collaboratively to understand performance on a task developed to measure Selective Sustained Attention in young children, the TrackIt paradigm, and additionally use that paradigm to probe the interplay of sustained attention with other cognitive systems.  For these projects, I consider children's accuracy, patterns of errors, and eye gaze.  My interest in the study of sustained attention has highlighted several conceptual and measurement issues in this construct.  I am working to analyze the designs, outcome measures, and patterns of performance of existing tasks of attention as these relate to the constructs of sustained attention and (separately) inhibition. I also serve as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate psychology courses including Principles in Child Development and Research Methods in Developmental Psychology. 

To complement my training in the psychology department, I am involved in two ongoing program assessments in Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  First, as a graduate assessment fellow on the Dietrich College Assessment Committee (Fall 2019, Spring 2020), I focused on program-level assessment of the college’s Statistical Thinking learning outcome.  As well, I am collaborating with a staff member from the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation to lead program assessment of oral communication, a subset of the college's Communication learning outcome. These opportunities allow me to apply learning from my participation in the Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research and to leverage my previous teaching experience.

Max Kramer

Max Kramer

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

My research interests center around the analysis of clinical populations to better understand the structural and functional organization of vision. I use a combination of intracranial neuroimaging and computational techniques in the hope of gaining deeper insight into the organization of the visual system.

Advisor: Marlene Behrmann

Lakshmi Kumar

Lakshmi Kumar

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I am interested in the environmental and social risk factors of alcohol use and addiction. In particular, I am interested in looking at mechanisms and pathways that link empathy and alcohol use and alcohol problems.

Advisor: Kasey Creswell

Austin Luor

Austin Luor

Graduate Student, Cognitive Neuroscience

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

My research interests is focused on understanding the role of perceptual training in language acquisition and auditory attention in speech processing. I am also interested in exploring the sensory and cognitive factors that contribute to spoken language processing.

Advisor: Lori Holt & Barbara Shinn-Cunningham

Timothy Murphy

Timothy Murphy

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

My research interests revolve around the learning processes involved in speech and reading, particularly in how the learning of speech sounds impacts future reading aptitude. Ultimately, I hope to develop techniques which can identify how reading abnormalities specific to an individual arise.

Advisor:  Lori Holt

Kimberly  Nestor

Kimberly Nestor

Graduate Student, Cognitive Neuroscience

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Research Interest: My research interests lie at the intersection between computational neuroscience and computational psychiatry. I am interested in structural and functional cognitive changes in the human brain in neurotypical and psychiatric populations. More specifically, I hope to construct predictive algorithms using a data driven approach based on neuroimaging to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders with an emphasis on psychotic disorders.

Advisor: Timothy Verstynen

Urszula Oszczapinska

Urszula Oszczapinska

Graduate Student, Cognitive Neuroscience

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

My research interests broadly encompass examining the interactions, and relationships between modalities. More specifically, I am curious about the role of attention in cross-modal relationships that include auditory perception, and real life implications (e.g., vehicle warning systems) such interplay holds.

Advisor: Laurie Heller

Sophia Robert

Sophia Robert

Graduate Student, Cognitive Neuroscience

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

How does our brain use visual information to perform complex tasks, like instantly recognizing objects, with high accuracy even in dynamic environments? And how does this impressive ability relate to how the human brain is functionally organized? In my research, I used behavioral, neuroimaging, and artificial intelligence methods to understand the neural and computational principles that drive the functional organization of visual cortex.

Advisors: Marlene Behrmann and Michael Tarr

Kushani Shah

Kushani Shah

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

My research interests include social factors that affect alcohol and tobacco addiction. In the future, I aim to empirically evaluate the social impact on the etiology and maintenance of substance use disorders through clinical research that can impact public policies, regulation of products, and prevention and treatment of problematic substance use behavior.

Advisor: Kasey Creswell

Megan Waller

Megan Waller

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I'm studying the role of social interaction with caregivers in the development of communication and social cognition.

Advisor: Daniel Yurovsky

Yuxi Xie

Yuxi Xie

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I’m particularly interested in understanding the effects of support-seeking, support-provision, and emotion regulation on personal and relational well-being. I also aim to develop psychosocial interventions that are designed to promote more positive support-seeking and support-provision behaviors in close relationships.

Advisor: Brooke Feeney

Asal  Yunusova

Asal Yunusova

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Research Interests: Broadly I am interested in mind-body interventions and protective biopsychosocial factors that aid in positive health outcomes in populations coping with chronic health conditions. More specifically, I am interested in the mind-gut connection and investigating interventions (i.e., mindfulness meditation) and factors (i.e., emotional validation) that can improve well-being in patients with gastrointestinal disorders.

Advisor: David Creswell

Yuchen Zhou

Yuchen Zhou

Graduate Student, Psychology

Address
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

I am generally interested in using computational models (Bayesian statistics and machine learning methods) to study concept acquisition and inference in kids and adults.

Specifically, current research aims to explore the alignment of multi-modality conceptual systems. 

Advisor: Daniel Yurovsky