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People

Meet Our Team

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Jamil Zaki

Lab Director

Jamil received his BA from Boston University, his Ph.D. from Columbia University, and postdoctoral training at Harvard University. When he’s not writing about empathy for work, his hobbies include writing about empathy for fun, compulsive hiking, and perfecting a Michelin star oatmeal recipe for the SSNL’s very particular lab kids.

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Ian Ferguson

Lab Manager

Ian received his B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University and his M.A. from New York University. His primary research interests include group polarization and partisanship, and he's especially interested in translating academic scholarship into public policy. Outside of the lab, Ian can be found watching basketball, watering his plants, and slowly becoming a devout Bayesian.

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Marianne Reddan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Marianne completed her B.A. in Psychology in the laboratory of Elizabeth Phelps at NYU. There she studied the effects of controllability on threat responses under the mentorship of Catherine Hartley. She continued to research human threat responding with Daniela Schiller at Mount Sinai as a lab manager and then later completed her M.A. and Ph.D. with Tor Wager at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her dissertation work took an embodied approach to emotion representation in the brain; applying machine learning to neuroimaging data in order to better understand how emotion can be constructed and modified through sensory simulations. As a post doc in our lab she is using time series analyses to identify brain networks tracking empathic accuracy. Ultimately she hopes to apply this work in the form of prosocial programs that will increase empathy in our society.

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Andrea Courtney

Postdoctoral Fellow

Andrea received her B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Wake Forest University and her PhD in Psychological & Brain Sciences from Dartmouth College. Her research combines behavioral experiments, social network data, and neuroimaging to understand how social connection contributes to well-being. She's happiest spending time outside, being active, and binge watching tv dramas — and enjoys them even more with other people!

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Luiza Almeida Santos

Graduate Student

Luiza holds a B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College. Broadly, she uses a motivated emotion framework to study affective polarization and the development of politically-relevant moral convictions. Her research examines how to prevent empathic failures towards dissimilar others and, consequently, foster more productive political discussions. She applies experimental methods, natural language processing, and social network analysis to study these questions. 

Luiza is a Ph.D. fellow at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. Prior to arriving at Stanford University, she was a behavioral research fellow at the Kellogg School of Management and a research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania. In her free time, she likes painting, hiking with her dog, and singing badly while driving.

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Eric Neumann

Graduate Student

Eric earned his B.Sc. at the Free University of Berlin. He spent his junior year as a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago, and the following summer as a research assistant at Harvard. His principal interests include why we tend to underestimate how social and prosocial a species we are, as well as testing interventions to reconnect us across social and moral divides. Eric loves to explore new countries, and enjoys food so long as he doesn't have to prepare it.

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Wicia Fang

Research Assistant

Wicia received her Cognitive Science B.A. and Economics B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and conducted her honors thesis research on changes in media coverage of police use-of-force over time. She is interested in how empathy affects relationships and drives decision-making, especially in regards to low-income communities. Aside from tending to her tortoise Morrie, she loves to paint with watercolors and watch thrillers/detective shows.

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Dean Baltiansky

Research Assistant

Dean received his B.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his M.A. from New York University. In the lab, he is primarily working on the Stanford Communities Project. His research interests include lay theories of happiness, legitimization of inequality, and zero-sum thinking. Outside of work, Dean enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, watching sports, and pondering the meaning of life (often all at once).

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Sydney Garcia

Research Assistant

Sydney received her B.A. with Honors in Psychology from UC Berkeley. She is interested in creating psychological interventions to combat bias in domains such as education, policing, and the workplace. Outside of research, Sydney loves to workout, dance salsa and bachata, and reading.

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Yifei He

Research Assistant

Yifei is a sophomore from China, majoring in computer science with a minor in psychology. He is interested in how technologies changed our daily life, and how we can use technologies to study psychology. He also works for The Stanford Daily’s Tech Team.

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Isabel Dibble

Research Assistant

Isabel Dibble is a senior who is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Data Science. She likes to learn about all the interesting research being conducted in the lab. However, she is specifically drawn towards political psychology and the influence of one's social network on decision-making. In her free time, Isabel likes to watch stand-up comedy and play tennis.

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Claire Lund

Research Assistant

Claire is a junior at Stanford majoring in psychology with a specialization in mind, culture & society. She is also pursuing a minor in political science in the elections, representation, and governance track. She is particularly interested in affective polarization, empathy in American politics, and the intersection of social psychology and political science. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, fitness, music, and spending time with friends and family. 

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Eleni Stogianni

Research Assistant

Eleni graduated from Central Macedonia Institute of Technology with a Civil Engineering degree and worked as an engineer for 7 years. Moreover, she has been a certified yoga instructor teaching Yoga Nidra, Hatha, Vinyasa, and through these experiences, she realized that she would be more fulfilled through studying and practicing psychology. Since 2018 Eleni has been studying Psychology at Foothill College. Eleni's research interests focus on improving the overall well-being and mental health of adult populations. In our lab, she is studying individuals with self-compassion and how can positively influence the mental state of others. In her free time, she likes yoga, hiking, biking, gardening, and traveling to new places to explore nature and culture.

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Layo Laniyan

Research Assistant

Layo is a sophomore likely majoring in Symbolic Systems and English. He is interested in using computational modeling and neuroimaging methods to study empathy-building interventions, and he hopes to apply his research in clinical settings, especially in working with marginalized communities. He is also interested in understanding how race and ethnicity intersect with representations of the body in different works of literature. He loves writing for the Daily, hip-hop dancing, reading, and Southern soul food.

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Zhengxuan (Zen) Wu

Research Assistant

Zhengxuan received his B.S. in mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering from Case Western Reserve University and M.S. in computer science from University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he is a MS&E student at Stanford focusing on computational social science while working at VMware. He is interested in applying computational methods to analyze social and cognitive data and building "artifical psychology" for robots.

Alma Zaki

Lab Kid

Alma recently completed her master’s degree in Toddler and is now continuing towards a PhD in little kid. Her research interests include counting to 50, writing her name and diligently drawing inside the lines. To cut loose, Alma enjoys interpretive dance, impersonating a drill sergeant, and explaining things to her junior colleague, Luisa.

Luisa Zaki

Lab Kid

Luisa recently completed her Baby Bachelor’s degree in 2019 and is now working towards her Toddler with a concentration in distraction. She excels at hugging, head-first slide acrobatics, and chocolate tasting. She is passionate about you knowing that her favorite color is blue, and equally interested in knowing what yours is.

Morrie

Senior Lab Pet

Morrie loves climbing up hills and taking baths. When not attending to his social media presence (insta: @morriethetortoise), he naps and waits for his guardian, Wicia, to drop romaine lettuce from the skies. Fun fact: his name was inspired by Morrie Schwartz, who is written about in Mitch Albom's book: Tuesdays with Morrie.

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Louie Santos

Lab Pet & Head of Security

Louie has a PhD in sniffing. He is also an expert barker, always alerting his colleagues of imminent dangers, which include but are not limited to: loud flies, fallen leaves, and malicious squirrels. Moreover, he is strongly committed to combating wastefulness and will happily eat leftovers. When taking a break from his concerns with security and the environment, he enjoys napping in the sun.

Rey Garcia

Lab Pet

Rey is only a few months old, but he is already an expert at playing fetch and tug of war. On top of being a puppy prodigy, he has a huge heart-- Rey loves just about every person and dog he meets. In his downtime, Rey enjoys long naps and snuggling with his mom, Sydney.

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Mriganka Singh

Research Assistant

Mriganka received her B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Berkeley and has been involved in various research labs focusing on group memberships and stereotype formation. She is extremely interested in how cynicism affects group membership and participation in public goods, along with the ways in which socioeconomic status affects emotion regulation. Apart from researching, Mriganka is a obsessed with hiking, dancing, meeting new people, and working at animal shelters.

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Lab Alumni

Molly Arnn ◇ Liza Benabbas ◇ Tyler Bonnen ◇ Ryan Carlson ◇ Mina Caraccio ◇ Lauren Chen ◇ Christina Chwyl ◇ Marissa Clark ◇ Skylar Cohen ◇ Eleanor Collier ◇ Dustin Deinhart ◇ Jacqueline Do ◇ Julia Doody ◇ Roma Dziembaj ◇ Jake Elder ◇ Virsaviya Efraim ◇ Lizzie Frankel ◇ Stephen Frey ◇ Courtney Gao ◇ Danielle Hackel ◇ Sahar Hashemian ◇ Ngan Kim Hoang ◇ Christina Huber ◇ Brent Hughes ◇ Averylia Jacintha ◇ Preeti Kakani ◇ Samantha Kargilis ◇ Naveen Kassamali ◇ Isabella Kahhale ◇ Derek Kincade ◇ Zoe Kleiman ◇ Hanna Kuhn ◇ Matt Leipzig ◇ Yuan Chang Leong ◇ Jocelyn Lin ◇ Yvette Lugo ◇ Marissa Maas ◇ Rucha Makati ◇ Natasha Marley ◇ Emma Master ◇ Alison Mattek ◇ Christopher Middleton ◇ Aaron Mitchell ◇ Sylvia Morelli ◇ Laura Ngan ◇ Erik Nook ◇ Desmond Ong ◇ Omri Raccah ◇ Mahnaz Roshanaei ◇ Natalie Samuels ◇ Michael Smith ◇ Jae-Young Son ◇ Rebeca Soyk ◇ Chipper Stotz ◇ Alex Sweetser ◇ Amanda Szerdi ◇ Diana Tamir ◇ Valerie Taylor ◇ Emma Templeton ◇ Brittany Torrez ◇ Erika Weisz ◇ Craig Williams ◇ Sophie Wood ◇ Emily Yeh