Graduate STEM Fellow Profile
City as Lab
Thesis: On the Poverty of Amodal Symbol Systems: Grounding Abstract Representations in Material Bodies
College/University: City University of New York - Brooklyn College
Research Advisor: Natalie A. Kacinik
Degree Sought: Ph.D., Psychology (Cognition, Brain and Behavior)
Research Focus: Grounded/embodied cognition, morality, metaphor, abstract concept representation
Teaching Partner(s): Dave Johnston, Amy DeFelice
Description of Research
I study how our sensory and perceptual experiences shape and inform our conceptual representations. I’m particularly interested in how we represent abstract domains (e.g., morality, aesthetics, power, environmental concern) and the kinds of bodily experiences that affect conceptual processing in these areas. I generally use social cognitive approaches to study these phenomena, and I have a special interest in applied psychology and community awareness.
Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience
I lead students through the full experimental process by having them develop their own hypotheses, generate materials and procedure, use their school peers as participants, analyze data, and draw their own conclusions. Recently, we have used an emotional induction procedure to affect how students feel about organic and comfort foods. We have also explored the effects of physiological arousal on art appreciation, and the effects of green space exposure on environmental concern. We are currently developing methods for influencing moral judgments.