Lab Personnel  

Selected Publications

Lab Photos

Contact Us







Principal Investigator

Jennifer Beer, PhD  (CV)

beerutexas (at) gmail.com


Dr. Beer is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. She is affiliated with the Psychology Department (Social  & Personality Area, Cognitive Neuroscience Area), the Imaging Research Center, and the Institute for Neuroscience.



Graduate Students

Taru Flagan

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

taru (at) utexas.edu

I am interested in understanding how emotion and motivation colors information-processing and the neural systems that support this influence. We have discovered that motivation does not influence very low levels of visual processing and are now investigating the neural basis of how motivation influences the construal of social information.  




Ana Rigney

ana (dot) rigney (at) gmail.com

I am interested in self-evaluation and how to improve accuracy through social cognition. Specifically, I research how thinking about others can attenuate overly positive self perceptions. I am also interested in the underlying neural mechanisms of self perceptions and which regions are recruited to correct for unrealistic evaluations.





Postdoctoral Fellows


Jessica Koski

jessica (dot) koski (at) utexas.edu

I am interested in the neural systems which mediate the effects of social factors such as status on social perception and social cognition. Additionally, I am interested in how interpersonal relationship dynamics contribute to social influence and decision-making. While in the lab, I will be collaborating on projects related to these topics as well as working on studies aimed at more deeply understanding the role of MPFC in social evaluation.




Lab Alumni

Jamil Palacios Bhanji

NIMH/NIH Training Fellow/UT Graduate Research Fellow

Jamil's personal webpage


During his graduate training, Jamil investigated the neural substrates of motivational influences on decision making. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University in Dr Mauricio Delgado's lab.




David Chester

david.s.chester (at) gmail.com

Lab webpage

Dave was our fearless lab manager for the 2010-2011 academic year. He worked on several studies involving social-cognitive biases. Dave is currently in graduate school at the University of Kentucky's Psychology Department in Nathan DeWall's lab.





Janell Fetterolf

j.fetterolf (at) gmail. com

Lab webpage

Janell was a lab manager in the lab at UT Austin. In the lab, she worked on studies examining emotion and information processing. She is currently in graduate school at Rutgers University in Laurie Rudman's lab.





Gili Freedman

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

gili.freedman (at) gmail.com


During her graduate training, Gili worked on a number of projects focused on understanding social rejection from the perspective of the source. She was specifically interested in trying to understand how people think about social rejection, how they do it, and whether they are doing it in a way that minimizes the damage done to their targets and their own reputations. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Roanoke College.




Hani Freeman, PhD  (CV)

Hani is currently a post doctoral researcher at the Lincoln Park Zoo. She is the project coordinator for Project ChimpCARE which focuses on improving the life of chimps in captivity. In the lab, she examined the biological correlates of risk-taking behavior using a combination of functional neuroimaging, hormones and genetics. 









Brent Hughes

brencho (at) gmail.com


Brent's personal webpage


During his graduate training, Brent investigated the psychological and neural processes by which we perceive ourselves and other people, as well as the biases involved in these perceptions.  He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University in Dr Nalini Ambady's lab.




Mike Lombardo, PhD

ml437 (at) cam.ac.uk

Mike's Cambridge Neuroscience homepage

Personal homepage

Mike was a lab manager when the lab was at UC Davis. In the lab, he worked on projects examining self-perception bias and emotion-cognition interactions using neuroimaging and special population methodologies. He got his PhD at the University of Cambridge in Simon Baron-Cohen's lab and is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Cambridge. Mike's interests include social cognition and autism.



Yangmei Luo

Yangmei was a PhD candidate at Southwest University, Chongqing, China who visited the lab for 2012-2013. His research combines behavioral and neuroimaging methods to investigate how people anticipate the future. He is now a faculty member at Shaanxi Normal University.








Pranj Mehta, PhD (CV)

mehta (at) uoregon.edu

Lab webpage

Pranj was a post doctoral researcher in thelab (2007-2008).  In the lab, he studied the neural mediators of the relation between testosterone and social decision-making. His current research focuses on the biological systems of  power, status, and dominance. After pursing his interests with collaborators at Columbia University and Erasmus University, Pranj is now an Assistant Professor in the University of Oregon's Psychology Department.




Mirre Stallen

M.Stallen (at) donders.ru.nl

Mirre's homepage

Mirre conducted her Master's level research in the lab while visiting us from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (2005-2006). Her project examined the neural correlates of the affective and cognitive processes of prejudice. Currently, she is a graduate student at Erasmus University/Radboud University Nijmegen in the FC Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. Her research focuses on the neural systems involved in decision-making.


Dan Willard

While in the lab, Dan worked on the neural basis of impression formation. Before that, he worked as a research specialist at University of Pennsylvania in Dr. Joe Kable's lab. He is currently working with Dr. Art Markman at the University of Texas at Austin.