Lab Members

If you are interested in working in the lab as a research assistant, please contact our lab manager Spencer Dobbs ( If you are interested in working in the lab as a postdoc, please inquiry directly with me. Prospective graduate students should apply to the Social Psychology area.

Joshua Ackerman, Ph.D. :

Joshua Ackerman, Ph.D.

Josh received his BA 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 Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and a Faculty Associate at the 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.

Graduate Students

Iris Wang :

Iris Wang

Iris is a second year graduate student in the Social Psychology area. 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.
Nicholas Michalak :

Nicholas Michalak

Nick is a second year graduate student in the Social area. 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 current obsessions include 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 Sng :

Oliver Sng

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.

Lab Manager

Spencer Dobbs :

Spencer Dobbs

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.


Amanda Yoo :

Amanda Yoo

Amanda Yoo is currently a junior at the University of Michigan. She is dual-majoring in biology and biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience and hopes to attend medical school after college. Some of her passions include reading, playing instruments, and crying every time George R.R. Martin kills a character on Game of Thrones.

Francesca Giacona :

Francesca Giacona

My name is Francesca Giacona and I am going to be a sophomore at the University of Michigan this fall. I'm currently planning on majoring in public health or BCN with a minor in economics and hope to eventually attend medical school. I am originally from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and have primarily done only sports med related research until now. I'm excited to work in the ESP lab this spring and summer, and hope to learn a lot more about the field of psychology and its potential career paths.

Trevor McCarty :

Trevor McCarty

Trevor is a junior at Michigan studying biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience and minoring in moral and political philosophy. He is currently interested in the study of consciousness, mental illness, and neurodegenerative disorders. In his free time he’s probably listening to podcasts, taking power-naps, or playing a mandolin.

Elias Chandarlis :

Elias Chandarlis

Elias is a junior majoring in psychology. He is interested in psychopathology and personality studies. He hopes to continue his studies after undergrad by attending graduate school. In his off time, you'll find him painting models or reading, if you can find him at all.

Emily Jones :

Emily Jones

Emily is a sophomore at the University of Michigan studying psychology.  Her research interests include social and behavioral psychology.  After graduation, she hopes to continue her studies at graduate school.  Outside of school, her interests include playing tennis, volleyball, and exploring the great outdoors.

Isabel Osgood :

Isabel Osgood

Isabel is a senior at the University of Michigan. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in applied statistics. Isabel's current interests include mate preferences, female-female competition, Satanism and witchcraft. She plans to graduate in 2017 and then go to graduate school or something along the lines of world domination.

Tyler Aman :

Tyler Aman

Tyler is a Senior at the University of Michigan majoring in psychology with a minor in applied statistics. Tyler's current interests include self-esteem, intergroup conflict, and stereotyping. He plans to graduate in 2017 and attend graduate school. When not researching he enjoys spending time snowboarding, and pondering the mysteries of life.

Shyryn Borgol :

Shyryn Borgol

Shyryn is a senior at the University of Michigan, studying psychology with a minor in biological anthropology. She is interested in trauma, resilience, and the development of psychiatric disorders, as well as how these topics interact with people with cognitive disabilities. After graduation, Shyryn would like to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. In her free time you'll find her exploring new restaurants, working on her ever-growing travel wishlist, or trying to hold back from adopting any more pets.

Megan Mulhinch :

Megan Mulhinch

Megan is a sophomore studying Neuroscience. She is especially interested in how animal and human behaviors are related, as well as the effects of evolution on the brain and behavior of people over time. After undergrad, she hopes to attend graduate school and continue learning about the world. In her free time, she loves to run, bike, and explore the beautiful outdoors.

Breanna Travis :

Breanna Travis

Breanna is a junior studying Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Michigan. She is interested in attending medical school, and obtaining a career working with patients with a mental illness. She is intrigued by the human mind and social behavior, and aspires to learn more about the neurological and psychological processes behind one’s behavior. Apart from her education, she enjoys volunteering with her community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, at various organizations like Crafty Cat Rescue. Breanna is an animal, coffee, and music enthusiast. She likes to spend time outdoors, attend concerts, and try out all of the local coffee shops.

Madi Leidel :

Madi Leidel

Madi is a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in crime and justice. Her research interests include criminal behavior, criminal profiling, and social deviance. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to continue her studies. In her free time, she enjoys singing with the UM Women's Glee Club and watching Disney movies.

Josephine Tan :

Josephine Tan

Josephine is a senior studying political science and psychology. Her current interests include political psychology and intergroup conflict. She plans to attend graduate school related to these areas. Josephine is also a resident assistant at North Quad and enjoys discussing and delving into social justice-related issues. In her free time, she likes reading, watching cute dog videos and thinking about how the apocalypse might happen sometime soon.


Yuching Lin :

Yuching Lin

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 Kovan :

Elizabeth Kovan

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.