Dr. John Coley

John is interested in the basic cognitive processes underlying how people organize what they know about the world, and how they use what they know to make guesses about what they don’t know. He’s also interested in how those processes develop and change over time, and how differences in culture and experience influence them. Finally, he’s getting more and more interested in the practical, concrete consequences of conceptual organization and reasoning in areas like education, social conflict, and emotional regulation. John likes to think of his lab as an environment in which smart, motivated, people have the opportunity to work together while learning about research, exploring these issues in lots of different ways, making genuine contributions to cognitive science, and having fun along the way.

Nicole graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology in 2011. After graduation, she worked as the Lab Coordinator for Lisa Feldman Barrett’s Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory where she studied emotion perception and neural processing of negative and threatening stimuli. Nicole is currently a second year graduate student of John Coley and is co-advised by Lisa Feldman Barrett. She is broadly interested in how conceptual structure of emotions can influence emotional experiences. She is currently pursuing research investigating the development of essentialist beliefs about emotions and how different patterns of thinking about emotions can influence the emotion regulation strategies that we use. When she feels stressed, her go-to emotion regulation strategy is swimming.




Ann Xu

Ann is a Ph.D student working in the lab, with a broad interest in interdisciplinary studies. Before coming to Northeastern, she concentrated in French literature, Corporate Law and Education. Currently, Ann is interested in studying how people essentialize categories in various domains (biology, social, moral, legal etc.), taking both cross-cultural and developmental perspectives. Essentially, Ann loves listening to classic piano while having fried chicken.






Jessica Leffers

Jessica is currently a first year Ph.D in the CORE Lab. She graduated from Goucher College May 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Cognitive Studies and Education. She is broadly interested in how humans reason about the world around them. She would also like to study the underlying cognitive processes of decision-making or reasoning in emotional and social situations. A fun fact about her is that she has been to over 15 countries and she would love to do a cross-cultural study on emotional reasoning in any of them!


Hannah Wilkins

Hannah is currently working as the lab’s Research Coordinator. She is studying Behavioral Neuroscience and plans to graduate in Fall 2018. Hannah is particularly interested in the broad ideas of cognition, affect, and development. She’s been skydiving over the Finger Lakes in Western NY, paragliding in the Swiss Alps, and bungee jumping in South Africa. She loves traveling and has seen many parts of Europe and Africa.  She just came back from a dialogue in Uganda where she did a study on memory and volunteered in a facility for children with disabilities. Her favorite emotion regulation strategy is going to a cardio class or Zumba at the gym.













Olivia Dooley

Olivia is a second-year Northeastern student who is currently pursuing a major in Psychology as well as a minor in Spanish with the class of 2020. This is her first semester as a research assistant in the CORE lab, and she is particularly interested in learning more about how the brain categorizes different concepts, and how this affects people’s emotions and mental state. Her goal is to take what she learns about cognition and emotion in research and apply it in a clinical setting. Her favorite emotion by far is joy.

Ella Douglas

Ella is a second-year Northeastern undergraduate from Australia studying Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Computer Science. She is interested in developing computational models of the brain in order to thoroughly understand the structural and cognitive causes behind maladaptive behaviors. Her favorite emotion regulation technique is to distract herself with books and new experiences.






Amanda Falcon

Amanda is a fifth-year Psychology major and Sociology minor expecting to graduate in 2017. She is particularly interested in cognitive development, as well as clinical and developmental psychology, and is hoping to pursue a Ph.D in clinical psychology after graduation. She really enjoys expressing her emotions through drawing and painting.








PicRachel Green

Rachel is a fourth year Northeastern Student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business. She plans to graduate in 2018 and is extremely interested in Cognitive Psychology as well as Developmental Psychology. She is excited to become a member of Core Lab’s team. She is also on Northeastern’s swim team, so she spends the majority of her time at the pool.








Katherine Hut

Katherine is a Behavioral Neuroscience major with a minor in Business Administration, who will be graduating in 2020. She is especially interested in the way people comprehend the world around them, and loves connecting psychological principles to specific areas of the brain. Katherine feels calmest after a long rock climb, or a few hours with a good book.




Norik Kirakosian

Norik is a third year Psychology major with minors in Behavioral Neuroscience, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Norik is aiming to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology or social work. In terms of CORE lab work they’re interested in how individuals reason about and classify social categories, especially gender, and being multilingual/cultural, they are particularly interested in cross-cultural differences around essentialist beliefs people have about social categories (e.g. how people think about gender based on the language they speak). Norik’s favorite emotion is interest.

Gabi Lanebb10e6_c84a5bbc0bd8461a97266d1296fb57c7

Gabi is a second-year at Northeastern University currently majoring in Psychology. Gabi enjoys learning about how people think and seeing the applications of psychological knowledge. She is interested in pursuing a career in clinical social work with a focus in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Her interest in being a part of the CORE lab stems from her initial assessment of what she loves about psychology and her favorite part of cognition, which is the differences between individual people’s perceptions of the world.

IMG_7638Carissa Lellos

Carissa is a senior at Northeastern studying psychology and pursuing a career in elementary education. She is interested in human behavior and development and loves to study the way the mind works. After graduation, she hopes to become a classroom teacher. Carissa is originally from northern New Jersey and absolutely loves her new home in the city of Boston. She loves all things outdoorsy, music, a good Netflix binge, and the company of family and friends. She looks forward to a great semester as a new research assistant in the CORE lab.

picture1Lex Soares

Lex is a third-year Psychology major pursuing minors in Biology and Communication Studies.  She is interested in studying cognitive processes, like perception and association, and how these processes are disrupted by mental illnesses.  Besides psychology, her passions include baking, travel, and bagels.