Eight developmental psychology labs (see full list below) are recruiting graduate students interested in pursuing a PhD in Psychology. The Developmental program at UCR is regarded for its strengths in contextual and cultural influences on child socialization, cognitive and perceptual development across the lifespan, and biological substrates of adjustment. The University of California, Riverside is a world-class research university with a diverse undergraduate student body and a mission to provide routes to educational success for underrepresented and first-generation college students. The graduate program in Psychology at UC Riverside offers competitive graduate funding and student support, as well as optional minors in Quantitative Psychology, Public Policy, and Health & Well Being. The campus is surrounded by mountain ranges and is only an hour away from ski slopes, surfing, and hiking in mountain and desert environments, and the weather is excellent all year round. The cost of living in Riverside is affordable relative to other cities in Southern California, and Riverside is located within a 1.5 hour drive from Los Angeles and San Diego. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the department admissions page for more information: www.psych.ucr.edu/grad/admissions.html. The deadline for full admission consideration is December 1, 2019. If you would like more information about the graduate program or a specific lab, please contact the PIs directly.
Information about recruiting labs:
The Kids Interaction and Neuro Development Lab (KIND Lab, www.ucrkindlab.com/<www.ucrkindlab.com/>), directed by Dr. Kalina Michalska, conducts research on individual differences in the development of empathy and social competence. Particular emphasis is placed on characterizing how dispositional traits interact with social learning to modulate basic mechanisms of emotional responsiveness and emotional memory. We employ complementary methodologies including functional and structural brain imaging, autonomic responses and behavior observations in typically developing children, as well as in youth with disruptive behavior problems and those with social anxiety.
The CALLA Lab (www.callalab.com<www.callalab.com>, Dr. Rachel Wu, <>) conducts research on cognitive development across the lifespan, from infancy to older adulthood. We use neural (EEG) and behavioral (eye-tracking, accuracy/reaction time) responses to investigate how previously acquired knowledge helps and hinders new learning, and how to induce cognitive development in older adults.
The Perception, Action, and Development Lab (padlab.ucr.edu, Dr. John Franchak) investigates how people use visual information to guide actions and engage in social interactions. Through our research, we hope to understand 1) how perceptual-motor systems adapt to changes in the body and environment, 2) developmental changes in infants’ everyday visual experiences, and 3) factors that influence infants’ looking behavior. We employ a variety of methods (mobile eye tracking, screen-based eye tracking, inertial movement recording, ecological momentary assessment) to address these questions in participants across the lifespan (infants, children, and adults).
Research in the Culture and Child Development Lab (cheunglab.ucr.edu/) focuses on how the environment influences children’s motivation and achievement across cultural contexts. The lab is seeking Ph.D. students who have strong interest in the role of parents, teachers, and peers in children’s school adjustment. We employ diverse methodologies in our research, including naturalistic and controlled observations, surveys, experiments, and measures of physiological reactivity. Recent lines of work include: (1) situating science learning in the natural environment; (2) the origins of children’s views about eminent individuals; and (3) parenting and creativity development.
The Youth Health and Development Lab, directed by Dr. Aerika Brittian Loyd, explores how intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and identity inform health and development for youth and young adults of color. For example: 1) how do diverse youth navigate and construct their identities around STEM in urban youth programs; 2) how do social contexts impact positive identity development among racial minority young adults; and 3) what factors contribute to health and development among Black and Latinx youth in the juvenile justice system. Providing resources and making recommendations for culturally informed practice and policy are important goals of our research. Currently, we provide research and professional development training opportunities for students, and research consultation for schools and community-based youth serving organizations.
The Developmental Transitions Lab (dtl.ucr.edu), directed by Dr. Misaki Natsuaki, asks three fundamental questions: why does psychopathology increase during the transition from childhood to adolescence? When does it start and how does it develop over time? Why do some children experience such difficulties while others do not? Answers to these questions can inform the applied efforts to support healthy development in children and their families. Taking a developmental approach, our research focuses on the interplay of biological and environmental origins of vulnerability to psychopathology. In particular, we are interested in the roles of puberty, family, and culture. We apply longitudinal and genetically-informative designs to examine how these factors influence the trajectories of emotional and behavioral (mal)adjustment in childhood and adolescence.
The research in the Childhood Cognition Lab (www.ccl.ucr.edu/index.html), led by Dr. Rebekah Richert, explores the influence of religion, fantastical thinking, and media exposure on cognitive development. Current funding in the lab supports cross-cultural research into children’s developing religious concepts.
The Adversity and Adaptation Lab (adlab.ucr.edu/, Directed by Tuppett Yates) is dedicated to understanding how children negotiate and are affected by various kinds of challenges, such as community and family violence, poverty, and racism. Current research activities center on an ongoing longitudinal study of adversity, attachment, self-regulation, and health (mental and physical) 250 children followed at ages 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14 and (starting spring 2020) 16, as well as a recently completed study of similar processes among newly emancipated foster youth.