Our team works to understand social thought to solve social problems. Read more about our director, doctoral students and thesis students, and learn how our lab alumni are continuing to transform the field.

Principal Investigator


Max Weisbuch

Associate Professor

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Our Team

  • Doctoral Students
    Spencer Dobbs, 5th Year Doctoral Student 

    Spencer is a fourth year graduate student in the Affective, Social, and Cognitive area. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Auburn University and a M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Georgia Southern University. His research focuses on how social motives and features of our ecology influence how we perceive individuals and groups. Outside of work, he enjoys hiking and video games.

    Lindsay G
    Lindsay Goolsby, 3rd Year Doctoral Student 

    At DU, Lindsay’s research focuses on how people learn group norms from nonverbal behaviors in their social world. They have a specific interest in gender identity and social perception – investigating social, perceptual features that may support/mitigate thinking of gender as binary. Prior to DU, Lindsay worked in several labs, namely the Social and Moral Cognition Lab at Columbia University and the Communication Sciences lab at New York Psychiatric Institute. Outside of research, Lindsay enjoys the Denver music scene, dance, and the Dallas Mavericks.

  • Thesis Students
    Brandon Cohen, Senior Honors Student

    Brandon is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Denver studying Psychology. He is primarily interested in exploring the ways that gender and race influence social perception. His thesis explores how experience with social contexts can narrow or broaden our concepts of social identity categories. After graduating, Brandon hopes to attend a graduate program in Social Psychology."

    Madelyn Kavalieros headshot
    Madelyn Kavalieros, Junior Honors Student

    Madelyn is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in psychology and minoring in leadership studies, political science, and business ethics and legal studies. She’s been apart of the lab for two years and has also recently joined the Racial Inequities in Student Education lab. In addition to her lab work, Madelyn is also undergoing the DU Psychology Distinction Program. Some of her hobbies include cooking, hosting parties, and playing really competitive card games. After undergrad Madelyn plans to pursue either a law degree or a PhD in social psychology. 

  • Research Assistants
    Julia Creech headshot
    Julia Creech, Research Assistant

    Julia Creech is a third-year Psychology and Religious Studies student at DU. She loves psychology and is really passionate about research! 

    Garrin Desmond, Research Assistant

    Garrin is a Junior at the University of Denver, currently studying psychology and biology. Additional to the lab he also works as a youth treatment counselor at Denver children’s home. He plans to continue on to graduate school to pursue clinical psychology. Specifically, he is interested in working with adolescent populations surrounding depression and everyday mental health and functionality. He enjoys long walks in the park and pretty rocks.

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    Elle Haines, Research Assistant

    As a third-year psychology major pursuing a concentration in cognitive neuroscience, Elle is drawn to understanding the neurological mechanisms behind human perception and cognition. Joining the SPA lab, her aim is to unravel the complexities of stereotype formation and biased judgments. She’s motivated by the potential to apply these insights to societal challenges, working towards greater equity and inclusivity. My goal after graduation is to pursue a PhD, deepening my exploration of perception from a biological perspective.

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    Natalie Miller, Research Assistant

    Natalie is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Denver studying Psychology and Spanish. Post-graduation she plans on attending grad school and completing a doctorate degree in a psychology-related field in order to continue to build her career. She feels most inclined to become a clinical psychologist with a concentration in either psychological research or experimental psychology.

    Angelina Pacosa, Research Assistant

    Angelina is a first-year undergraduate student at University of Denver, studying psychology. She is primarily interested in developmental and personality-related psychology, and would like to pursue a career in counseling or clinical psychology. At the SPA lab, she is specifically interested in seeing how our social environments can affect our behaviors without us being aware of them.

    Carlie Small headshot
    Carlie Small, Research Assistant

    Carlie is a Junior at DU studying Psychology with a minor in Wellness. She is interested in using what she learns in the SPA Lab to further her education and skillset for graduate school. Carlie is broadly interested in mental health and would like to pursue a career in clinical psychology. 

    Eunice Tanuri, Research Assistant 

    Eunice is a junior at the University of Denver majoring psychology. At the SPA lab, she hopes to gain the necessary skillset for graduate mental health programs and wants to pursue a graduate program in Public Health with a concentration in mental wellness. Fun fact: she can walk in heels with ease. 

    Emily Taylor, Research Assistant 

    Emily is a third-year student here at DU studying Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is interested in researching the impacts of chronic stress and TBI in early childhood and their impacts on the development of motor learning. She is graduating in March and will be pursuing a Masters in cognitive and motor science at the University of Utah.

  • Alumni

    Sarah Ariel Lamer, PhD

    Sarah Ariel Lamer, PhD, was a graduate student in the Social Perception & Attitudes Lab. She is now an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her primary interest is in examining if and how subtle sociocultural cues can reinforce and even challenge social inequities, shape individual values and activate different lay theories about the world. For example, she is interested in how gender inequity is culturally transmitted via social environments. Overall, she aims to address power differentials among sociocultural groups in a way that contributes to scientific knowledge in STEM fields and has clear, broad social benefits.

    Flora Oswald, MS

    Flora Oswald (M.S) is a 4th year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellow in the dual-title PhD program in Psychology (social area) and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State, and a visiting member of the SPA lab. Flora’s research interests lie primarily at the intersection of feminist psychology and social vision; Flora’s work bridges feminist social psychological approaches with visual perception research to elucidate the basic mechanisms underlying prejudice and stigmatization of marginalized sexuality, gender, and bodily identities. Flora’s research has been recognized with the Laura Richardson Whitaker Award for research excellence in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Matthew Ryan Serafino and Leibowitz Awards for research excellence in Psychology, the Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion’s Diversity and Inclusion Research Award, and the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center Research Award to Reduce Racism and Promote Antiracism. She has also received diversity awards from both SPSP and SPSSI.

    Evelyne Treinen, PhD

    Evelyne Treinen was a postdoctoral fellow in the Social Perception & Attitudes Lab. After completing a specialized master in research, she received her PhD from the Universite Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. Her research focuses on understanding how and when the observation of social nonverbal cues in an individual's environment can shape and influence the preferences and behavior of the individual. For instance, observing another person's averted gaze does not only lead observers to look in the same direction (i.e. gaze-cueing, gaze-following), but also increases their liking for objects looked at by the gazing person (i.e. mimetic desire, gaze-induced liking). Treinen was granted a 1-year postdoc fellowship from the Belgian American Educational Foundation (B.A.E.F.) allowing her to extend her expertise from the influence of eye gaze to the social influence of nonverbal behavior under the supervision of Max Weisbuch, PhD. 

    Michelle Zad, MA

    Michelle Zad was a graduate student in DU’s affective, social and cognitive psychology doctoral program. She received a BA in social anthropology from UCLA and an MA in psychological anthropology from the University of Chicago. Zad is primarily interested in the perception of facial expression of emotions, particularly as they serve as social cues for representing behavior. Her work explores cognitive and perceptual influences of action representation, behavior prediction, and person perception.


Aerial view of the Denver campus.

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