Alumni


Graduate Students

David Findley (2019)
findleyd@live.unc.edu
If and how do brief LovingKindness practices shift affect as well as cognitive and behavioral outcomes?
How do positive experiences and emotions interaction with nutrition and exercise to improve mental and physical health?





Zan Isgett (2017)
sisgett@live.unc.edu
Can different genotypes (related to oxytocin) lead to fundamental differences in individuals’ capacity for social connection?
How do positive interventions influence emotions and perceived social connection, especially depending on genotype?





Brett Major (2017)
bmajor@live.unc.edu
How and to what extent do positive emotions help facilitate cognitive emotion regulation?
Does physical co-presence play an important role in the relationship between social closeness and improved mental and physical health?





Carrie Adair (2016)

How does mindfulness (i.e., non-judgmental present moment attention and awareness) influence experiences of positive and negative affect at both explicit and implicit levels of awareness?
How do mindfulness and positive emotions influence feelings of social connection?





Elise Rice (2016)

What are the functions of positive spontaneous thoughts in everyday life, especially in the contexts of motivation and self-regulation?
How do positive spontaneous thoughts contribute to well-being and mental health?






Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk (2013)

Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk’s research lies at the intersection of social psychology and organizations, investigating topics of interpersonal relationship formation, teamwork, synchrony and other nonverbal behaviors. Here primary questions of interest include: What makes people “gel”?, What are the contributing factors to a positive social connection? And How does fluid team coordination arise?




Lahnna Catalino (2013)

Some people make time to engage in enjoyable activities in day-to-day life, whereas others do not. Lahnna Catalino calls this individual difference prioritizing positivity. She examines the emotional and mental health consequences of prioritizing positivity, as well as how prioritizing positivity may affect one’s social network. In addition, she examines how the intensity of people’s positive emotional reactions to pleasant events may, over time, affect well-being.



Bethany Kok (2012)










Paul Miceli (2012)










Lindsay Kennedy (2011)







Postdoctoral Fellows

Lahnna Catalino










Laura Kiken










Research Faculty

Aaron Boulton

Which quantitative methods are optimal for understanding short- and long-term changes (and variability) in positive emotions?
How, and under what circumstances, can continuous-time models be applied to understand social and behavioral dynamics?





Patty Van Cappellen

Which (and how) positive emotions open us to spirituality and to see a larger meaning to life?
When (and how) does religion bring out the best or the worst in people?






Kimberly Coffey










Research Staff

Ann Firestine

Managed the multiple research studies, grant budgets, personnel, and the day-to-day logistics of running the PEP Lab







Shelia Laws

Lab Technician and Phlebotomist








Karys Normansell










Chayla Hart










Julia Schyner










Cara Arizmendi










Tracy Powers










Kaitlin Glauer










Honors Students

Aya Avishai-Yitshak (2014)

Thesis: Mindfulness and Time Perception





Lina Caldera (2014)

Thesis: Contingencies of Self-Worth and Positive Emotions in College Students




Amanda Kramer (2014)

Thesis: Implicit Positivity: Improving Mood with Environmental Cues





Tori Schenker (2013)

Thesis: Positive Automatic Thoughts and Romantic Love





Kandace Thomas (2013)

Thesis: Rates of Social Sensitivity, Social Connectedness, Positive Emotions, and Gratitude in Panhellenic Women




Jana Lembke (2012)

Thesis: Curiosity and Interest in Interpersonal Interactions





Liz Wagstaff (2012)

Thesis: The Effects of Mindfulness on Psychophysiological Arousal and Aggression During and After a Stress Interview