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CSULB 2016-17 Faculty Thesis Areas

Courtney Ahrens
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 campus-based prevention, the criminal justice response to survivors, and the ways in which culture affects 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 a recently published measure (Amirkhan, 2012) to identify those most likely to develop stress-related disorders in high-risk groups.

Dan Chiappe
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.

Young-Hee Cho
I am broadly interested in psychological well-being of older adults. My research focuses on the identification of psychological and physical risk factors associated with falls and the effectiveness of a fall prevention program on the physical, cognitive, and overall psychological well-being of elders.

Maricela Correa
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.

Martin S. Fiebert

  1. Variables related to Facebook behaviors
  2. Transpersonal Psychology and Meditation

Gino Galvez  
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.

Araceli Gonzalez
I am broadly interested in assessment and treatment of internalizing disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression, traumatic stress, somatic complaints) in 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 am currently conducting research to see how individuals respond in stressful situations, and what factors predict how people respond (e.g, parenting behavior, ethnicity, cognitive processes). I am also conducting a pilot study to examine the role of community mental health workers 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 personal health and the health of one’s child.

Diane Lee
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.

James Miles
I investigate the relationship between perception and action. My research looks at the interaction between cognitive control and environmentally based response biases, and my most recent work examines this in two domains: 1) How are different forms of spatial information encoded and represented, and how do they affect behavior? 2) How do features of tools and other controllers influence our movements towards objects in the world. In particular, how does the relationship between non-functional features of tools and target objects (e.g., color) affect our decision making processes and how is this reflected in our actions?

William C. Pedersen
My research is primarily focused on factors that impact aggressive behavior and violence. I am interested in a variety of personality factors including trait rumination, narcissism, impulsivity, attachment style, and religiosity. I have also investigated a variety of situational factors that impact aggression including rumination, social support, power restoration, alcohol priming, and drug use. A related line of research investigates the impact of trait displaced aggression on romantic relationships, life satisfaction, and both mental and physical health. Finally, I have smaller research programs in the areas of both intergroup relations and evolutionary psychology (specifically gender differences in mating strategies).  Please visit my Aggression and Intergroup Relations Lab website.  

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.

Lindsay Sterling
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.

Yada Treesukosol 
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.

Guido Urizar
My research in the area of Clinical & Health Psychology has focused on examining psychosocial, behavioral, and physiological factors associated with mental and physical health outcomes. 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:

Kim-Phuong Vu
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. 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 the Next Generation Airspace Transportation System (NextGen).

Christopher Warren
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.

Amy Wax
My research interests broadly include teams, diversity in the workplace, and social network analysis.  Lately, I have specifically sought to understand the attraction mechanisms that drive the formation of self-assembled work groups.  I am particularly interested in testing out my hypotheses using samples of big data.

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.