Choosing an Advisor

A form to declare a major officially can be obtained from the Registrar; this form requires the signature of the Departmental Representative. A student chooses a major advisor when she declares her major at the end of the sophomore year. The major advisor will approve her programs and monitor her progress in the major during the junior and senior years. Psychology majors may select an advisor on their own or in consultation with the Department Representative.

The advisor must be a full-time faculty member but beyond this, the choice of a major advisor is based on a variety of criteria. It could be a professor the student likes or has taken a course with; it could be a professor whose specialty or area of research is intellectually agreeable to the student. The student is permitted to change advisers.

If the student has selected an area of psychology on which to concentrate as an undergraduate at Barnard or in graduate study, it can be beneficial to choose an advisor whose expertise lies in the same area. It is not imperative, however, that the advisor's area of interest coincide with the student's. Psychology faculty members are familiar with the broad range of sub-disciplines within psychology and will often be able to provide guidance in areas other than their own, or can direct the student to other faculty or to colleagues who can provide further assistance.

Students whose advisor goes on leave should choose another advisor as soon as possible, in consultation with the Departmental Representative.

Listed below are the areas of research and academic interest of the full-time psychology faculty and advisers, as well as their offices and phone numbers.

Research Areas of Barnard Psychology Faculty & Advisors


Professor Peter Balsam's general area of interest lies in learning and conditioning.  He has active research programs investigating influences of learning on behavioral development, the analysis of how new behavior is learned, and the role of time and time perception in learning.
Office: 415H Milbank; email:

Professor Robert Brotherton studies the psychology of conspiracy theories, including political attitudes, distrust, belief formation, and magical thinking more generally. His approach spans social, cognitive, and personality psychology.
Office: 415M Milbank; email:

Professor Tovah Klein's general research area is the development of children's social relationships.  Specifically, her work focuses on how parents' understanding of relationships may be related to how they socialize their children.  Current research examines toddlers' early peer interactions and parental factors, which contribute to these early peer relationships.
Office: 415M Milbank; email:

Professor Ken Light’s general area of research is in behavioral neuroscience, with an emphasis on individual differences in intelligence in mice. He has also conducted studies on visual illusions in humans and the genetic and molecular bases of learned fear in mice.
Office: 415M Milbank; email:

Professor E'mett McCaskill is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist with research and clinical interests in cognition, psychopathology and culture. Dr. McCaskill seeks to contribute to knowledge of cognitive profiles of specific mental disorders and their relevance to symptomatology and treatment within variable cultural contexts. Complex Trauma, PTSD and Substance Use Disorders are of central focus. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. McCaskill is a clinician trained in psychotherapeutic interventions and clinical neuropsychological assessment.  She is also an Ethicist with scholarly interest in ethical issues relevant to psychologists and neuroscientists.
Office: 415O Milbank; email: 

Professor Koleen McCrink’s research focuses on the development of numerical cognition from infancy through adulthood. Specifically, she is interested in how we are able to not only represent different amounts, but also perform operations over these representations. By studying why and how infants, children, and adults perform mathematical operations, we can learn about the cognitive architecture of the mind – and how this changes as a function of experience, maturation, and culture.
Office: 415K Milbank; email:

Professor Joshua New's research focuses on human visual cognition – how a host of perceptual and cognitive mechanisms can all function together to provide us an immediate yet richly interpreted experience of the world. He studies how these psychological processes have each been shaped by ancient biological problems and priorities. Some of his present interests include why some things like spiders and direct eye gaze so easily capture our attention, why time can appear to slow down during dangerous events, and how the visual system can hide injuries to itself (blind spots) from awareness.
Office: 415A Milbank; email:

Professor Kara Pham’s general area of research is in behavioral neuroscience, with emphasis on stress, fear learning, and hippocampal neurogenesis.  She has also conducted studies on developmental neurobiology and addiction.
Office: 415N Milbank; email:

Professor Robert Remez studies healthy human adults, in particular, the way individuals of this exotic species communicate with one another. His experiments usually examine a psychological aspect of speaking and listening to speech, and sometimes incorporate sounds produced by computers, musicians, twins, and Brooklynites.
Office: 415C Milbank; email:

Professor Russell Romeo's research interests are primarily in developmental behavioral neuroscience. Using animal models, his work focuses on how gonadal sex hormones and adrenal stress hormones influence the pubertal maturation of the nervous system and behavior. He is also interested in how adverse experiences early in development may lead to negative behavioral, emotional and physiological outcomes in adulthood.
Office: 415B; email:

Professor Ann Senghas’ area of specialty is language development.  Her research investigates the manner in which young children learn to understand and to produce language.  Her current research follows a developing language that is taking its form from the innovations of young learners, a sign language produced by a community of deaf children in Nicaragua.
Office: 415G Milbank; email:

Professor Rae Silver's research area is physiological psychology, with a special interest in anatomy and behavioral endocrinology.  The work focuses on hormonal control of reproductive behavior and on circadian rhythms in behavior.  One line of research focuses on sex differences in circadian parental behavior of birds.  Another line of inquiry involves the use of brain transplantation techniques to study the function of the neural clock in hamsters.
Office: 415I Milbank; email:

Professor Lisa Son investigates human learning and memory, with a special interest in metacognition. She has recently focused on the type of study strategies that can enhance long-term retention, such as spacing strategies, or the distribution of study across relatively long periods of time. In addition, she has examined metacognitive illusions such as over- and under-confidence, and thus, has begun to test how it is that people know that they do not know. Her investigations have been conducted on various populations, including those of adults, young children, and monkeys.
Office: 415F Milbank; email:

Professor Steve Stroessner leads the social cognition research lab. His work has historically focused on the psychology of stereotyping and prejudice, examining how cognitive and motivational factors influence intergroup perception, judgment, and behavior. More recently, his research has begun to explore the social psychology of non-social perception, ranging from investigating social categorization processes in basic perception to exploring social responses to robots.
Office: 415D Milbank; email:

Professor Kathleen Taylor is now a clinical psychologist after a 20+ year career in neuroscience research.  In addition to teaching she is part of a cognitive-behavioral therapy practice in New York City where she specializes in the treatment of trauma, and often works with  individuals with borderline personality disorder.  Professor Taylor is the Preclinical Adviser in the Psychology Department.
Office: 415F Milbank; email:

Professor Tara Well is currently writing a book called “The Power of Self-Reflection” which presents a technique that demonstrates the power of gazing at one’s own reflection in the mirror.  As a motivational psychologist, she has been using the technique with individuals and in research studies at Barnard College and Columbia University.  Her research finds that gazing at one’s reflection in the mirror without an agenda actually reduces stress, anxiety and depression and increases self-compassion. Professor Well is a motivational psychologist with expertise in the areas of nonverbal communication, meditation, and emotional regulation.
Office: 415E Milbank; email:

Professor Michael Wheaton's research focuses on the nature and treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related conditions. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Wheaton is most interested in improving psychotherapy for these conditions, particularly cognitive-behavioral interventions. He is also interested in the cognitive mechanisms that underlie these disorders.
Office 415J Milbank; email: