Josh Ackerman, Ph.D.
Josh received his undergraduate degree in Psychology and Biological Anthropology from Duke University and his MA/PhD from Arizona State University. After a postdoctoral position at Yale University, he spent 5 years as an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and is affiliated with both Marketing at the Ross Business School and the ISR Research Center for Group Dynamics.
Josh’s research program examines issues at the interface of evolutionary theory and nonconscious processes as a means of understanding the various ways that people coordinate their thoughts, feelings and behaviors with others and the role of fundamental motivations in such outcomes (with a particular emphasis on how we process ecological threats).
Kaelyn is a second-year graduate student in the Social Psychology area. She received a B.S. in Psychology (Psychological Science) and Applied Quantitative Science from Arizona State University in 2021. Her research interests surround questions regarding social motivation, social cognition, and how aspects of our environment/ecology shape or interact with our thinking and behavior. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and hosting movie nights with friends.
Savannah is a fourth-year graduate student in the Social Psychology area. She has received a B.A. in Psychological Studies and Communication Studies from Temple University Japan and an MSc in Social Psychology from the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on how people apply moral judgments to others and how moral cognition is shaped by social contexts. She is also interested in the impacts of computer-mediated communication on interactions in real-life settings. In her free time, she likes to play video games, draw portraits, and hang out with her dog.
Soyeon is a sixth-year graduate student in the Social Psychology area. She received her B.A. in Psychology and English Language & Literature and also her M.A. in Social Psychology from Yonsei University. Her research focuses on the processes through which people perceive others and make decisions across different social and environmental contexts. She spends her free time playing games, sailing, and traveling.
Wilson is a sixth-year graduate student in the Social Psychology area. He received a B.A. in Economics and Psychology from Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) in 2016. Before coming to Michigan, he worked as a Research Analyst for The Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm in Washington, DC. He is primarily interested in how adaptive psychological mechanisms shape behavior in consumer and economic decision-making contexts. Other academic interests include evolutionary perspectives on perceptions of attractiveness and behavior/belief formation in online environments. In his free time, you'll find him on the soccer field, the tennis court, or in pursuit of the perfect bowl of ramen.
Madhulika recently graduated from the University of Michigan in April 2022, where she double majored in Biopsychology, Cognition, & Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. She is interested in moral decision-making and online/social media behavior. In her free time, Madhulika enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Olivia is a senior majoring in psychology and sociology. She is interested in social psychology, morality, and decision-making. Outside of school she enjoys knitting, biking, and sewing.
Young is a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in crime and justice. He hopes to get a degree in clinical psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology. In his free time he likes to practice Taekwondo, parkour, and play video games.
Amelia Bergeron is a junior from Washington, DC. She is majoring in psychology and is most interested in social and organizational psychology. In her free time she likes to cook, hang out with friends, and watch movies.
Ginger is a senior majoring in Psychology and Program in the Environment (PITE). She is currently working on her senior thesis and is hoping to pursue a graduate education in social psychology after college. Outside of school, Ginger likes to run, hike, and explore the outdoors.
Paige is a Junior majoring in Psychology, with minors in Spanish and Crime & Justice. They are particularly interested in studying race, racism, whiteness, and white supremacy. After graduation, Paige hopes to attend graduate school for a Ph.D. in social or developmental psychology. In their free time, they enjoy playing board games with friends, biking, and being involved on campus.
Owen is a sophomore from Long Island, New York with an intended major in Public Health and is interested in mental health and epidemiology. He hopes to attend medical school and in his free time he likes to read and explore new cafes!
ALUMNI – RAs
Victoria is a Sophomore double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. She is especially interested in clinical and developmental psychology and plans to pursue them further, both academically and professionally, after graduation. In her free time, Victoria likes to get involved on campus, listen to music, and be active outdoors!
Yat Sum Leung
Dylan is a Senior double majoring in Cognitive Science and Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. He is also minoring in Digital Studies. He plans to attend Law School after he graduates. In his free time, he enjoys doing logic puzzles, ice skating, and traveling.
Hao is a sophomore majoring in psychology. She is interested in social psychology and cultural psychology. She wishes to combine psychology with other disciplines as she pursues her academic interests. In her free time, she enjoys drawing and listening to music.
Sarah is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Psychology. She is particularly interested in clinical psychology, especially in adolescent psychopathology. After graduation, Sarah hopes to attend graduate school for a master's and Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Outside of her academics, she works as an academic peer advisor in the department of psychology. In her free time, she enjoys singing, painting, and baking.
Caitlin is a junior double majoring in Psychology and Gender & Health. After undergrad, she hopes to attend graduate school for a master's in public health. She is interested in health psychology and how research we do in the lab can impact health policy. Outside of academics, Caitlin enjoys reading and being involved on campus.
Rachel is a Senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. After undergrad, she hopes to either attend graduate school for Clinical Psychology or attend Law School. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and traveling.
Robert is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Philosophy with a minor in Religion. His main interests include human nature and mental health. He is also on the Michigan Mock Trial team. Robert has hopes of becoming a philosophy professor while also pursuing work in the area of mental health. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, and arguing about anything philosophical or political.
Kasia is a senior double majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience (BCN) and
Sociology. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to obtain a Master’s degree in
Hospital Administration. During her free time, Kasia enjoys spending time with her friends,
watching Netflix, and going hiking.
Emmaleigh is a junior majoring in psychology and Russian. She is especially interested in the areas of social psychology, psychopathology, and nineteenth century Russian literature and has done past research on positive affect, hope, and life satisfaction. In her free time, she enjoys watching horror movies and playing with her bulldog, Elsie.
Akhila is a junior studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience with a Sociology Minor. This is her second semester working in the ESP lab. She is interested in studying intergenerational trauma and how racial differences can affect behavior. In her free time, she likes to cook and watch movies.
Megan was a research assistant in the lab and is now a graduate student at UC San Diego.
Alexandra Wormley was a research assistant and Honor's student in the lab. She is now a graduate student at Arizona State University.
Sarah is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Julia is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Emma is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Helen is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Michael is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Caitlin is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Marena is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Lily is a freshman at the University of Michigan and planning on majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and minoring in Biochemistry. After she graduates, she plans on taking a gap year and either working as a flight attendant or joining the Peace Corp. She would ultimately like to attend medical school and become a pediatric oncologist. Lily enjoys practicing her instruments, weightlifting, and being with her friends during her free time.
Neil is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Ariella is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and looking to minor in Sociocultural Anthropology. She is especially interested in forensic psychology and plans on pursuing that field after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys going for runs outside, watching The Office, and spending time with friends.
"I am a third-year student majoring in psychology and minoring in creative writing, with the intent of going to graduate school to become a psychotherapist. I am more inclined toward clinical psychology, as might be inferred. Still, I am interested in how social dynamics and the environment affect cognition and behavior, and how these effects prevent or foster mental illness. In my free time, I enjoy writing (and sometimes publishing) fiction, and having in-depth discussions about various social issues."
Michelle is a first year student studying psychology and intergroup relations. After completing her undergraduate studies, she is hoping to attend graduate school to become a clinical psychologist. In her free time, Michelle enjoys hanging out with friends and painting.
Isaac Du is a Junior studying Psychology at the University of Michigan. He is particularly interested running experiments and finding practical application of psychology research. He is also very interested in learning about the topic of evolutionary psychology. When free, he can spend whole weekends playing board games.
Sarah is a junior double majoring in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience (bcn) and History. She is interested in evolutionary psychology and its impact on consumer decision making. In her free time, she enjoys long distance running, swimming and spending time with her dogs Daisy, Conan, and Angus.
Cory is a research assistant alumnus of the lab.
Lauren is a junior double majoring in International Studies and Spanish. She is most interested in how psychological topics and evolutionary thinking relates to humans on an international level in situations of violence, disease, and other environmental threats. She hopes to attend graduate school and study International Policy in the future. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, spending time with her friends or her dogs, and cooking.
ALUMNI – Others
Iris received her PhD from the Social area in 2020. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. with highest distinction in Psychology and Spanish in 2012. She is primarily interested in the behavioral immune system, including its effects on social behavior and its ties to the biological immune system. Other interests include life history theory, cultural evolution, and motivations for uniqueness vs. conformity. She enjoys watercolor painting, playing with her hamster Hamlet, and traveling.
Nick received his PhD from the Social area in 2020. Hailing from the Cornhusker State, he received his bachelor's in neuroscience from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Then he worked as a research assistant and lab manager at the University of Minnesota and the Carlson School of Management. His research focused on how and why people's thoughts and behavior are moved by their perceptions of infectious disease, their microbiota, or their early-life stress and unpredictability. Outside lab, you can usually find him running, pouring yet another cup of coffee, or stirring a crisis in confidence.
Oliver was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the ESP Lab and is now an assistant professor in the psychology department at UC Irvine. Oliver received his BA in Psychology from the National University of Singapore and his MA/PhD from Arizona State University. His work focuses on two fundamental questions: (1) Why are there psychological differences across human groups? (2) Why do we hold the social stereotypes that we do? Specifically, he explores the intersection between how ecological factors (e.g., population density, pathogen prevalence, resource availability) influence people’s behavior, and how people think ecologies influence the behavior of others. He draws upon a variety of frameworks, including behavioral ecology, life history theory, and affordance management. He appreciates not being asked what he does in his free time. He has none.
Angelina was the ESP Lab Manager from 2019-2020. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Maine. Her research interests include investigating attitudes and interactions between the religious and non-religious, and examining interventions to increase positive intergroup communication across various racial, religious, and cultural groups. In her free time, Angelina enjoys hiking and skiing.
Spencer was the ESP Lab Manager from 2017-2019 before joining the University of Denver psychology department as a graduate student. Spencer received his BA in Psychology from Auburn University and his MS from Georgia Southern University. He is primarily interested in social cognition and the varying ecological factors that influence the perception, categorization, and treatment of others.
Yuching was ESP lab manager from 2015-2017 before joining the University of Virginia psychology department as a graduate student. Her research interests include nonconscious processes, social cognition, and judgment and decision making.
Elizabeth was the lab manager for the Evolutionary Social Psychology Lab. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology in May 2014. Elizabeth is interested in the socioemotional development of children, and hopes to ultimately pursue a career in the field of child and adolescent psychology.