Listed below are the areas of research and academic interests of the full-time faculty in the Barnard College Department of Psychology. This information is provided to help students choose an advisor upon declaring a psychology major and also differentiate our faculty
Choosing an Advisor
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 Departmental Representative.
The advisor must be a full-time faculty member but beyond this, it could be a professor the student likes or has taken a course with; or it could be a professor whose specialty or area of research is of interest to the student. All Barnard 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. Please note that the student is permitted to change advisors. Students whose advisor goes on leave should choose another advisor as soon as possible, in consultation with the Departmental Representative.
Choosing a Mentor for Independent Research
Getting involved in psychology outside of the classroom gives students the opportunity to learn what type of work they like and don't like, what professional environments best suit them, and with what populations they might like to interact and help. Additionally, working with a mentor or supervisor in a research/lab setting gives students a resource for stronger letters of recommendation.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org *Departmental Representative
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com *Department Chair
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com