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Lab Director

  • anearl Allison Earl

    Dr. Earl received her BA in Anthropology and BS in Psychology from the University of Florida, and her PhD in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan, and the director of the University of Michigan Health, Attitudes, and Influence Lab (HAILab). Dr. Earl is also a Faculty Associate at the University of Michigan’s Research Center for Group Dynamics, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Joint Program in Social Work and Psychology.

    The overarching goal of Dr. Earl’s research program is to better understand what we pay attention to and why, and how to best use this knowledge to increase attention to health promotion programs, particularly for high-risk audiences. She uses a variety of methodologies to address these questions, including experimental work, survey, unobtrusive observation, meta-analysis, and psychophysiological methods (e.g., Event-Related Potentials).

    For an overview of current research in the lab, please see the Projects page.

Graduate Students

  • image Veronica Derricks

    My research examines how targeting health information to members of stigmatized groups impacts their attitudes towards the information and information providers.


    My research seeks to explain the mental processes underlying social connectedness, along with their implications for personal well-being. To accomplish this goal, my work focuses on social cognition – how people interpret and process social experiences – in relation to (1) social media and (2) social networks.

  • izzy_social2 Resized Izzy Gainsburg

    Izzy studies how environmental cues affect feelings of belonging and threat; emotion-regulation strategies to cope with these feelings; and how to leverage social norms to make environments more welcoming.

  • Koji lab bio headshot Koji Takahashi

    Koji is a first year doctoral student in Social Psychology and is broadly interested in the interplay between emotions, stigma, and health information. His current project focuses on the role of mindfulness in regulating emotions that disrupt attention to stigmatized health information.

  • DJhauser_web Dave Hauser

    David is a doctoral student in the Social Psychology Department. His research interests typically revolve around how minor aspects of a situation can have profound affects on thinking and judgment. For instance, the weight of a clipboard can affect how important you think a survey is, and the inclusion of certain standard survey questions can affect the mindset you bring to a survey. One primary area of research in on how we use metaphors to understand relatively abstract concepts in terms of more concrete, easier-to-understand ones. While media and everyday discourse may often employ conceptual metaphors to portray a more vivid story or encourage certain actions, my research suggests that these metaphors may ultimately hurt our understanding of these concepts.

  • NeilLewis Neil Lewis

    Neil Lewis Jr is a third year doctoral candidate in Social Psychology. He is interested in how people’s interpretations of contextual information influence their motivation and goal pursuit, particularly in the domains of education, health, finance, and intergroup relations. You can read more about Neil’s research on his personal webpage:

  • MikeHall Mike Hall

    Mike is a third year doctoral student in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan. In general, Mike is interested in political and moral values and how these vary according to social circumstances. His research projects include: how individuals process agreeable or disagreeable political information; whether individuals recognize bias when they receive or promote political information; how environmental changes affect attitudes about climate change; and how individuals make moral judgments of others in competitive atmospheres. Mike is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, earned a B.S. in Psychology from Tufts University, and is an avid runner.

  • Sarah Sarah Erickson

    Sarah Erickson is a Ph. D. Candidate at the University of Michigan in the Communication Studies Department. Sarah is broadly interested in media effects on adolescents and adolescent use of media with a specific focus on sexual socialization and fan/media interactions. Her work has examined the role of exposure to teen romantic media in acceptance of intimate partner and sexual violence and she has also sought to describe and quantify media contexts containing scripts related to sexual and intimate partner violence. Currently, she is working on several projects examining romantic parasocial relationships with media characters, the fan practices surrounding these relationships and the impact of parasocial romance on media influence and, ultimately, on scripts, schemas and normative beliefs about romantic and sexual relationships. Additional areas of interest include the importance of new media in youth culture, the role of media in the development, articulation and enactment of gender in children and adolescents, and the policy implications of this work.  Sarah is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and has a B.A. in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University.  She is an avid hiker and tennis player, loves yoga and has an elderly springer spaniel named Clover.

  • BrandonValentine Brandon Valentine

    Brandon is a 4th year PhD student in the Personality & Social Context area of Psychology. He is primarily interested in understanding the intersectional identities of queer people of color as well as stigmatized sexual health. Additionally, Brandon researches the beneficial aspects of mindfulness and loving kindness; specifically, how these practices relate to improving the lived experiences of people of color and queer individuals.

Alumni & Former Members

  • randy Randy Dowding

    Randy is a Master of Social Work and Public Health student.  He is a Community-based Scholar in Detroit interested in understanding the barriers facing sexual minorities in obtaining mental health and medical services.  Additionally, Randy researches interventions to improve access to care, especially for stigmatized populations.   His project designs use a social justice framework and focus on collaboration with community-based partners.

    Advisors: Dr. Larry Gant and Dr. Allison Earl

    Undergrad: University of Michigan, B.G.S. Academic focus Sociology and African American Studies, with a minor in Community Action and Social Change.

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