I am a sixth-year graduate student working toward a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in affective science and social psychology with Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett. My research explores the nature of affect; both its role in perceptual processing and the way that it is represented in the body. Put another way, I am interested in how the affective state of the perceiver can mold and shape visual experience and how individual differences in affective reactivity and peripheral psychophysiology predict and change those experiences.
We all know that what we see influences how we feel, but what if the reverse is also true? Using vision science paradigms like binocular rivalry and continuous flash suppression, we have shown that learning negative “gossip” about a structurally neutral face will give that face preferential access to visual consciousness. Further, presenting participants with smiling or scowling faces outside of awareness can influence first impressions of a neutral faces, leading participants to judge neutral faces as more or less trustworthy, likeable, or attractive.
I am currently extending these studies in order to get a better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie these perceptual changes. Additionally, I am examining the role of felt affect and changes in peripheral psychophysiology in these paradigms and others.