The Social Perception, Attitudes, Mental Simulation Lab

Researchers, Alumni, and Collaborators


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For information about current students, see one of the following pages:

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Lab Managers





Current Members | Post-Masters and Post-baccalaureate Researchers


Lea Folsom

Lea Folsom, M.A., is a post-master's researcher. She received her master's degree in Social Psychology in 2015. Her thesis research explored attitudes towards pregnant women as a test of evolutionary social psychological models (distinguishing traditional from contemporary reproductionist perspectives). Lea has also done work on the social presentation of gender (via names) and prejudice and discrimination. Each of these projects is being prepared for publication. Lea is originally from Manhattan, Kansas.

Daniel Lehr, M.A., is a post-master's researcher. He graduated with his Social Psychology M.A. in 2014. His primary focus of interest is in men’s social identity and how social pressures to adhere to masculine norms influence one’s self-concept. He is specifically interested in how threats to manhood affect men’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. He is also interested in human sexuality, morality, and religion. Daniel's e-mail is djl707 [at]

Daniel was the Senior Lab Manager from 2013-2014.

Matthew Kleckner, M.A., is a post-master's researcher. He graduated with his Social Psychology M.A degree in 2014. Matthew's main areas of interest are essentialism and entitativity, group identity and action, authoritarianism, and their implications in modern social contexts.  His present focus is on the interaction between essentialism, voting behavior, and political affiliation.

Cris Youssef, M.A., is a post-master's researcher. He graduated with his M.A. in Social Psychology in 2012. He is interested in the structure of prejudiced attitudes toward transgender persons and gender discrimination toward cisgender and transgender spectrum targets.

Cris served as the Senior Lab Manager for the Social Perception, Attitudes, Mental Simulation Lab from 2011-2012 (and the Junior Lab Manager from 2010-2011).

Cris has lectured at San Francisco State University, teaching PSY 440 (Social Psychology) and PSY 305 (Controversial Issues in Psychology). He has also worked on grant-funded projects at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Cris's e-mail is crisyoussef [at]

Featured Lab Alumni | M.A. and B.A. graduates
Jill Nagy

Jill Nagy graduated in 2016 with her M.A. in Social Psychology. Her main areas of interest are attitude formation, prejudice, racial/ethnic identity, gender identity and sexual orientation. Jill's thesis research investigated how various aspects of moral identity are correlated with or predict prejudice toward particular ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations.

Jill currently works as an Evaluator on SF BUILD, which is part of a 10-university initiative to retain and promote under-represented groups in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Elizabeth Stoddard
Elizabeth Stoddard graduated in 2015 with her M.A. in Social Psychology. Her thesis research examined academic performance for women in STEM majors as predicted by personality, motivational, and attitudinal factors. Specifically, Elizabeth's work showed that GPA was predicted best by trait conscientiousness and academic self-efficacy, with no important contribution from ambivalent sexism and gender-based stigma consciousness once the other variables were controlled. Elizabeth received an Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the College of Science and Engineering at SFSU. Her thesis research is currently being prepared for publication. Elizabeth works in private industry in the SF Bay Area.
Michelle Manning
Michelle Manning graduated in 2015 with her MA. in Social Psychology. Her thesis research explored the relationships between ambivalent sexism and gender-based stigma consciousness on women's career expectations. The findings of her thesis are that women's increasing levels of benevolent sexism predict higher perceived competence and success in stereotypically feminine careers. Yet, women's increasing levels of gender-based stigma consciousness predicted lower perceived achievement at in stereotypically masculine careers. This research is being prepared for publication. Michelle works in private industry in the San Diego Area.

Leigh K. Smith graduated from SFSU in 2011, where she studied Psychology, Physics and Mathematics. Broadly, she is interested in how the interplay of cognitive and physiological processes shapes our experiences in close relationships, especially in terms of relationship classification, formation, maintenance and dissolution. She is also very enthusiastic about statistical techniques and analyses.

Leigh was a project director in the Emotion, Health and Psychophysiology Lab at UCSF, directed by Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes from 2011-2012, and she worked as a post-bacc researcher at Yale University in The Clark Relationship Science Lab, under the supervision of Dr. Margaret Clark, from 2012-2013.

Leigh is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Texas, Austin, working with Drs. Paul Eastwick and Timothy Loving.


Sara Michelle Mansoori-Rostam received her M.A in Social Psychology in 2013. Her research interests include the different ways in which individuals negotiate the tension between their dual queer and ethnic minority identities and how these approaches might affect both state- and trait-level well-being.

Currently, Sara Michelle is a lecturer at Berkeley City College teaching Social Psychology and Human Sexuality.

Ghislaine Atkins graduated with her Social Psychology M.A. in 2014. Her thesis research explored interracial interaction anxiety in computer-mediated communication. She currently works at the University of Alabama as a research assistant.
Hunter Johnson pic

Hunter Johnson graduated from SFSU with her B.A. in 2013. She was also the lab manager of Dr. Kenneth Paap’s Language, Attention, and Cognitive Engineering Laboratory. In the SPAMS Lab, her research focused on applications of Heider's Balance Theory to heterosexual women and men's attitudes toward lesbians and gay men, respectively.

Hunter is currently a Ph.D. student in Social Psychology at New Mexico State University, working with Dr. David Trafimow.


Patrick Boyd graduated with his M.A. in Social Psychology in Fall 2012. His master's thesis concerned mental simulation of the future and terror management theory.  His interests in this area include how creativity and prefactual thinking can influence responses to reminders of mortality.

Pat is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Florida, in the lab of Dr. Jamie Goldenberg.

Jessica Tomory

Jessica Tomory graduated SFSU with her B.A. degree in psychology in Spring 2011. She is interested in social cognition and identity. Jessica is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University, working with Dr. Michael Hogg.

In The SPAMS Lab, Jessica's work explored how two dominant social identities of gender and racial identity were related to retrieval processes. Jessica also worked in Dr. Ezequiel Morsella's Action and Consciousness Lab.



Jay Ledbetter

Jay N. Ledbetter graduated with her M.A. degree in Summer 2011. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology at University of California, Santa Barbara. In the SPAMS Lab, Jay was the Senior Lab Manager. Jay's thesis work focused on gender identity development for adults in transgender, genderqueer, and cisgender populations.

Jay received the Diversity Travel Fund Award for the 2012 SPSP convention, and is a Ford Foundation Fellow for 2012-2014.

Katherine Sorensen

Katherine Sorensen graduated with her M.A. degree in Summer 2011. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate working with Dr. Cindy Pickett and Dr. Rick Robins at the University of California, Davis. Katherine's research interests are in emotions and social identity.

In the SPAMS Lab, Katherine's thesis work demonstrated that sexism--rather than stigma consciousness--appears to influence the perception of contempt.

Katherine also worked in Dr. David Matsumoto’s Culture and Emotion Research Lab (CERL) investigating the effect of nonverbal displays of emotion on group behaviors.

Alison Christiana received her M.A. degree in 2010, working primarily with Dr. Ryan Howell in the Personality and Well-Being Lab on the role of personality in the relationship between maximization and subjective well-being.
Lindsay Brent works at Comirca Testing, Inc. developing certification and qualification tests for industry. In the SPAMS Lab, her work focused on the relationships of gender identity, gender self-stereotyping, gender typicality to subjective well-being.
Collaborators | Colleagues and Co-Authors
  Avi Ben-Zeev, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University
  Khaya D. Clark, Ph.D., Technical Institute for Intellectual Disability, Eugene, Oregon
  Joseph Cesario, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Michigan State University
  Bertram F. Malle, Ph.D., Department of Psychology & Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Brown University
  Diego Audette, B.S., Chicago, Illinois