Faculty Research Areas
CSULB 2017-18 Faculty Research Areas
I am broadly interested in community psychology and the psychology of women. My research focuses on violence against women (e.g., sexual assault, domestic violence) with an emphasis on survivors’ experiences of abuse, help-seeking, and recovery.
James H. Amirkhan
Stress and coping, health psychology, attribution theory. As a Personality psychologist, I am particularly interested in individual differences in the above domains — e.g., the person-related variables that lead one person to confront a stressor and another to avoid it. Currently, I am using recently published stress measures (Amirkhan, 2012; 2016) to identify people most likely to develop stress-related disorders. This includes populations of trauma survivors (Amirkhan & Marckwordt, 2017), university freshmen (Amirkhan & Kofman, 2018), and other high-risk groups.
My research interests are in several basic and applied areas. My applied research is in Human Factors and mainly focuses on situation awareness (SA), an operator’s understanding of what is going on as he or she operates a complex, dynamic system. I have outlined a situated approach to SA and developed empirical techniques for testing it. My basic research interests are in the areas of cognition and evolutionary psychology, examining such issues as multitasking, working memory and metaphor comprehension, humor production, social contract reasoning, and the modularity of cognitive architecture.
I am broadly interested in psychological well-being of older adults. My current research involves the identification of risk factors (cognitive, physical, and social factors) associated with falls and the investigation of the effectiveness of a cognitive and physical intervention designed to prevent older adults from falling. Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries in older adults that can lead to hospitalization, nursing home admission, serious psychological consequences or even death (CDC, 2010). Falls can also have serious psychological consequences. I have been working with a team of interdisciplinary researchers at CSULB from Physical Therapy and Gerontology. Our team has been investigating the interplay of both cognitive demand and physical strength on fall risks using the dual-task methodology where individuals perform a cognitive task while walking. Specifically, we investigate (a) the mutual interference of a cognitive task and walking on each other under the various degree of cognitive task complexity, (b) the effect of dual-task (i.e., cognitive and balance exercise) intervention on both cognitive and walking ability, (c) the effect of the intervention on psychological factors (e.g., fear of falling and quality of life).
My research examines the organization of childhood and family life in communities that do not have a long history of participation of schooling. In particular I examine some of the ways that families organize teaching and learning in everyday family and community life and some of the strengths associated with these forms of learning. My work has centered on families that have historical roots in the Americas (Mexico and Central America in particular) as well as in immigrant families. Some current work also explores how people from non-dominant communities participate in fan culture and fan communities, and also the role of college courses in helping students plan for their post-graduation lives.
Martin S. Fiebert
- Variables related to Facebook behaviors
- Transpersonal Psychology and Meditation
Note: Dr. Fiebert is not accepting students for his lab at this time.
Broadly, my research interests pertain to examining complex issues that affect ethnic minority populations within organizational contexts. For example, some of my work has examined the intersection of intimate partner violence, culture, and employment outcomes among Latino men. Another area of research that I am interested in is program evaluation. Currently, I conduct program evaluation research and consulting for a variety of organizations and institutions (that focus on issues related to underrepresented minority groups) to systematically assess process and outcomes of programs to determine their effectiveness.
I am broadly interested in assessment and treatment of anxiety and depression in underserved children/adolescents, emerging adults, and families. Specifically, my work focuses on (a) trying to understand the interplay of family relationships and stress response in the development and expression of these problems, and (b) developing and improving culturally sensitive mental health services for these problems. I recently completed a study to see how college students respond in stressful situations, and what factors predict how they respond (e.g., parenting behavior, ethnicity, cognitive processes, anxiety levels). I am also conducting a pilot study to examine the role of community mental health workers (promotoras) in delivering a behavioral intervention for anxiety and depression to low-income Latinos in a rural medical setting.
May Ling Halim
In my primary line of research I study how, across different cultural groups, children’s gender and ethnic identities develop from preschool to early elementary school. I also investigate what factors lead to differences in gender and ethnic identities (e.g., cognition), as well as what consequences are associated with them (e.g., intergroup gender attitudes, interest in STEM-related fields, psychological adjustment). In my secondary line of research I study how forms of group-based discrimination (ethnic, gender, language) interact with one’s identity in affecting one’s health and well-being.
I have two main areas of research focus: human performance under workload and stress (specializing in cognitive neuroscience methods and measures), and human-technology interaction. In order to facilitate and improve overall system performance, researchers must first identify the junctures at which human performance deteriorates or fails due to stressful environmental or task demands that exceed our natural physical or cognitive capacities. In these efforts, I concentrate on the study of individual differences (the psychological study of human similarities and differences in cognition, emotion, and behavior) as humans’ susceptibility and tolerances for certain stressors or workloads depend on such individual differences. To better understand the contribution of these and other factors to human performance, I utilize various psychophysiological assessment techniques and quantitative survey tools. My second area of research is in human-technology interaction. I am interested in how human-computer interaction is changing given the fundamental role shift of the human from operator to monitor or teammate due to the rising popularity of increasingly autonomous systems (i.e., robotic agents, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, drones, etc.). I am also interested in individual differences in motivation, particularly with regards to Self-Determination Theory, and how different types of motivation influence users’ decisions to adopt, modify, or abandon the use of particular technological systems. These lines of research seek to inform the design of human-machine systems in order to maximize the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of human work.
Dr. Kohfeldt joined the CSULB psychology department in 2016. She received her B.A. in psychology and English literature from the University of San Diego, her M.S. in Social Work from San Diego State University, and her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California Santa Cruz. As a social-community psychologist Dr. Kohfeldt is interested in contexts that support members of subordinated groups as social change agents. Her program of research focuses broadly on formal and informal learning environments (e.g., after-school programs, community organizing groups) and how these environments facilitate or hinder individual and collective empowerment and well-being. To this end, Dr. Kohfeldt’s work is community-based, collaborative, and informed by interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives and multiple methods that often combine arts and activism. Dr. Kohfeldt currently teaches Social Psychology, Community Psychology, and Psychology of Women. She is particularly interested in engaging undergraduate and graduate students as co-researchers.
Primary areas of interest: Psychology of Learning, Biological Psychology, and Cognitive Ethology. Specifically, my research efforts address the role that the birth of new neurons (neurogenesis) plays in learning and memory using birds as the primary animal model. By integrating techniques, research can range from field and laboratory investigations of learning to the neurobiology mediating learning and memory formation. The research is currently directed along three basic lines of inquiry. First, when and where in the avian brain does adult neurogenesis occur? Second, what types of learning experiences and/or fluctuations in hormone levels influence the rate at which neurogenesis occurs and the direction new neurons take? And third, how does neurogenesis influence subsequent learning and memory?
Lisa M. Maxfield
My research interests are broadly in the areas of human memory and learning. My laboratory research considers how encoding / learning processes impact people’s retention of new information. My more applied research is in the area of student success in college, and how presentation of material and instructional approaches influence student learning, particularly in online courses.
I investigate the relationship between perception and action within theoretical and applied domains. My theoretical research examines how different forms of spatial information are encoded and represented and how they affect behavior. This also includes how features of tools and other controllers influence our interactions with objects in the world. My applied research focusses on the relationship between humans and automation in mixed-automation systems. For example, when performing tasks alongside automation, do we consider the automation a teammate, a competitor, or unrelated to the tasks that we perform? How does this affect our performance?
My research focuses on the psychosocial determinants of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, with a particular emphasis on the pathways (endocrine, autonomic) through which health disparities in CVD may arise. I am particularly interested in threat appraisal, and examining how individual differences in attention to threat might contribute to sociodemographic health disparities. This work involves examining whether social disadvantage is reflected in heightened attentional vigilance for threat, and testing whether computerized threat bias interventions might be used to improve cardiovascular health.
William C. Pedersen
My research is focused on factors that impact aggressive behavior and violence. I am interested in a variety of personality factors including trait rumination, narcissism, impulsivity, and religiosity. I have also investigated a variety of situational factors that impact aggression including collective rumination, priming aspects of religion, resource inequality, alcohol priming, and social exclusion. A related line of research investigates the impact of trait displaced aggression on romantic relationships, life satisfaction, and both mental and physical health. Please see my lab website for more information (http://www.aggression-irlab.com/).
Sherry A. Span
My research focuses on risk factors for alcohol abuse. In particular, I examine those variables that moderate the relation between identified risk factors of alcohol abuse and alcohol consumption.
My primary research is in the area of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), with a special interest in understanding and treating coexisting psychopathology, specifically anxiety and depression, among individuals with ASD across the lifespan. Given evidence for particularly high rates of coexisting psychopathology and related challenges among adolescents and adults with ASD, my recent research endeavors have shifted toward this growing population of individuals on the autism spectrum.
Thomas Z. Strybel
I have both applied and basic research interests. Applied interests include aviation human factors, aerospace simulations, situation awareness, automotive human factors and human-computer interaction. Basic research interests include auditory, visual and audiovisual perception and attention.
Taste cues and feeding behavior. My research takes advantage of animal models to ask questions related to how oral signals (e.g. taste, smell, texture) send information to the brain to control feeding and drinking behavior. My approach is to use physiological procedures (e.g. pharmacology, electrophysiology, genetic manipulations) combined with behavioral measures (e.g. meal patterns, detection thresholds, preference). This allows us to begin to tease apart the relative contributions of oral stimulation, post-ingestive cues and reward-related mechanisms to eating behavior. Such studies contribute to efforts to reveal how the system is organized and in turn may also identify potential targets for therapeutic interventions for eating disorders and obesity-related complications.
My research in the area of Health Psychology has focused on how stress can lead to adverse health outcomes. Specifically, this research has examined how biological, behavioral, and psychosocial factors can influence health. The primary objective of this research is to identify groups that are at-risk for chronic health problems and to develop and test community-based interventions that are designed to promote chronic disease prevention and management in low-income, ethnic minority, and other medically underserved populations. Specific areas of my research include examining the impact of stress and its biomarkers (e.g., cortisol) on health, identifying risk factors for adverse maternal and infant health outcomes, and evaluating the efficacy of health behavior programs (e.g., exercise, nutrition, stress management) on preventing stress-related disorders. For more information about my PRO-Health research group, please refer to the following web site: https://csulb-gurizar-prohealth.com/
Cognition, Human Performance, Human Factors, and Human-Computer Interaction: My first area of research focuses on the topic of action selection. Action selection refers to how a speeded decision is made regarding which action to take in response to perceptual events. One of the major factors affecting efficiency of action selection is stimulus-response compatibility (SRC), or the mapping of stimulus (or display) elements to responses (or controls). Studies of SRC effects have been a valuable tool to study automatic and intentional processes associated with the response selection that intervene between perception and action. In addition, research in the area of action selection has implications for how displays and controls should be organized and mapped in order to achieve efficient performance, with minimal errors. My second area of research focuses on more directly on human factors (designing products for human use) and human-computer interaction. My work in this area includes human factors issues in Web design, computer security, and Web privacy and accessibility. Finally, a third area of my research is on aviation Human Factors. This line of research focuses on the development of metrics for measuring human performance in complex systems such as Unmanned or Autonomous systems.
The domains of research I am current investigating can be roughly grouped into three categories: affect, performance, and psychometrics. My work on affect, or affectivity, investigates the various predispositions that shape the way we view our environment and interpret our work settings, along with more momentary job related affective reactions to workplace environments. Another area of interest for me includes individual performance, especially regarding both internal and external determinants of self regulation, and how those translate into worker safety behaviors. Finally, my work in psychometrics, or the study of psychological measurement, focuses on reliability, or test consistency, and how this effects things such as agreement indices, and be effected by test length and mood.
My research interests broadly include diversity in the workplace, teamwork, and social network analysis. Currently, my stream of research investigates women’s issues and LGBTQ issues at work.
Broadly speaking, my research centers on understanding how stigma and societal stereotypes can contribute to academic and health disparities between advantaged and disadvantaged social groups. Specifically, I have two different, but related, lines of research. My first line of research focuses on understanding how stigma based on intersecting social identities can harm students’ academic achievement, and how brief social-psychological interventions can be used to combat this underachievement. My second line of research focuses on understanding the mental and physical health consequences of possessing stigmatized identities that can be concealed or hidden from others (e.g., mental illness; low social class), and how people can effectively cope with this form of stigma (e.g., disclosure, social support).
David J. Whitney
Primary research domain is the application of Industrial-Organizational psychology to improving employment outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorders. Areas of interest include work expectations, the investigation of obstacles and facilitators of employment for individuals with ASD, co-worker attitudes, and interview coaching.
Arturo R. Zavala
Areas of interests include animal models of drug addiction and developmental neuropsychopharmacology. Specifically, my research investigates the short- and long-term neurochemical and behavioral effects of exposure to psychostimulant drugs across development (neonatal, adolescence, and adulthood), as well as determine the impact that early exposure to drugs may have on the susceptibility to abuse drugs later in life.