Alysia (she/her) is a sixth-year PhD candidate in social psychology working with Dr. Daphna Oyserman. Alysia graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2018 with her B.S. in Psychology. Her current research focuses on how people’s identity-based interpretations of difficulty shape downstream behavior in a variety of domains, including academics and pro-environmental action. She employs a variety of methodological approaches including surveys, experimental studies, meta-analyses, and field studies throughout her work.
Andrew is a sixth-year PhD candidate in social psychology working with Dr. Daphna Oyserman. Andrew’s research interests cover identity based motivation, specifically the theory of dynamic construction, and how it informs interactive media, games, and user experience design.
Amabel (she/her) is a fifth-year PhD candidate in social psychology working with Dr. Daphna Oyserman. Amabel received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University in 2019. Her current research interests broadly focus on applying a cognitive frame to understand culture, particularly in bias and decision-making.
Pragya (they/she) is a fifth-year PhD candidate in social psychology working with Norbert Schwarz. They received their B.A. from UCLA in 2019 with a double major in Psychology and Economics. Their current research focuses on how contextual factors, mixed feelings, and metacognitive experiences guide judgement and decision-making, particularly perceptions of socio-political issues and truth beliefs.
Drew is a fourth-year PhD candidate in social psychology working with Dr. Norbert Schwarz. Drew received his B.A. from Northwestern University in 2016 with a double major in Psychology and Statistics. After receiving his BA, he worked for three years at a digital advertising agency exploring interests in attitude and behavior change with advertising messaging. His current research interests include the situational factors that influence judgement and decision making, humor, and how we use our feelings as information to guide our judgments.
Kevin is a third-year PhD student in social psychology working with Dr. Daphna Oyserman. Kevin’s current research focuses on (1) how time perception influences motivation, goal pursuit, and decision-making, and (2) how people’s interpretations of difficulty shape goal perseverance and disengagement. He received his B.A. in psychology with a dual in economics at Claremont McKenna College in 2021.
Ony is a third-year PhD student in social psychology working with Dr. Daphna Oyserman. Ony received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). As an undergraduate, he did research on two topics: how do people assess their expertise and why do people decide to trust others? He is currently interested in identity and how it affects motivation.
Steve is a third-year PhD candidate studying consumer behavior working with faculty in the Marshall School and Dr. Norbert Schwarz. Prior to joining USC, Steve received his MSc in Consumer Psychology from Queen’s University in Canada in 2018 and his BS in Marketing and Accounting from Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business in 2016. He studies how consumer behavior changes when we recruit others and utilize technology to make decisions.
Maansi is a second-year PhD student in behavioral marketing working with faculty at Marshall and Dr. Nobert Schwarz. Maansi received her BBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2021. Her current research interests are in consumer privacy and corporate social activism.
Ian (he/they) is a Postdoctoral scholar in social and computational neuroscience at Caltech, working with Dr. Dean Mobbs. He completed his Ph.D. in 2024 under Dr. Wendy Wood and Dr. Norbert Schwarz at USC. Ian has an M.S. in Marketing Science and Consumer Psychology (2018) from INSEAD and a B.A. from Swarthmore College (2013). His current research focuses on how habits and reward learning impact social media and technology use and the societal and individual consequences of building strong technology habits. His methodological approaches include experimental studies, field studies, archival/behavioral trace data analysis, the use of large language models (LLMs), and fMRI.
Gülnaz received her PhD in Social Psychology in 2023. Her work with Dr. Daphna Oyserman focused on interpretations of difficulty. Specifically, she studied the belief that difficulties can be character-building and “sanctifying” experiences, how this belief carries over to choices and behaviors in various domains, and how it can help people experience more well-being and meaning in their daily lives. She is currently a behavioral scientist at Neo Auvra.
Lynn received her PhD in Social Psychology in 2022 and is now working as a quantitative UX researcher at Google. Her work with Dr. Norbert Schwarz focused on intuitions of truth and beauty, and how these intuitions are influenced by one’s metacognitive experiences. Under the guidance of Norbert Schwarz, she conducted a series of projects that investigated how metacognitive experiences influence the way people assess the truth of claims, the trustworthiness of people, the persuasiveness of messages, and the appeal of visual materials. She became interested in user experience research in 2021, and after completing a UX internship at Google in 2021, she joined Google as a full-time quantitative user experience researcher in 2022.
Mohammad received his PhD in Social Psychology in 2022. His work with Dr. Daphna Oyserman studies morality, motivation, and personality and uses experimental methods and computational approaches to address social psychological questions. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He directs the Culture and Morality Lab.
Madeline received her PhD in Social Psychology in 2022. Her work with Dr. Norbert Schwarz research has focused on how contextual influences and metacognitive experiences guide memory, judgment, and decision-making. Her current work investigates the factors that make something feel true in order to prevent and correct the spread of misinformation. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for an Informed Public, University of Washington
S. Casey O’Donnell
S. Casey O’Donnell received his PhD in Social Psychology in 2022. His work with Dr. Daphna Oyserman used a combination of methods, including social network analysis, ecological momentary assessment, and measures of implicit cognition to investigate the mechanisms that contribute to persistence and disengagement with the aim of informing the design and implementation of interventions so that they are well-calibrated to act on the psychological causes of health and educational disparities. He is currently a research associate at the California Department of Justice.
Ying received her PhD in Social Psychology in 2022. Her work with Dr. Daphna Oyserman focused on how collective perspectives affect the way people make sense of the world. Her research uses a cultural lens to address questions like “why do people consistently see meaning when none exists?”, “how do culture and metaphors shape communication?” and “how do people reason about the status quo?” Ying is currently an assistant professor of management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.