Lab Director

Kalina Michalska

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. I am also a member of the Program in Neuroscience, the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, and the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies. Prior to joining UCR, I received my Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Chicago and spent 4 years as a fellow at the NIMH Intramural Research Program, under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Pine. I combine neuroimaging (fMRI), autonomic measures, and behavior observations to understand the neural systems underlying emotional processes engaged by the distress of others. I am interested in how those processes mature across development, how individual differences are expressed, and how these emotional processes relate to disruptive behavior problems and anxiety in childhood and beyond.

Dr. Michalska is interested in taking a new graduate student for Fall 2019. She will review applications from students applying to the Developmental Psychology program.





I am thrilled to join the UCR KIND lab as its first lab manager! In 2018, I graduated with honors in Psychology from Oberlin College. For my thesis, I investigated the influence of social media usage before class on student attention and academic performance. Previously, I was a research assistant at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center and Pomona College’s Child Attachment Relationships and Emotions Lab. At Yale, I studied infant social cognition, specifically group membership and theory of mind. While at Pomona, I studied the effects of relational savoring on parental sensitivity and child self-regulation. I have always been interested in social relationships, what drives them, and how deeply they can impact mental health. I plan to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and I am especially excited to be able to investigate a factor as meaningful and influential in human relationships as empathy here at the KIND lab.


Graduate Students


Sarah Carlisle

I’m a second year graduate student in the Developmental area at UCR. I received my Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I conducted research on cognitive strategies that children and adults employ to explain the world around them and how such strategies can sometimes lead to societal disparities. At the KIND Lab, I examine neural underpinnings of emotion recognition and emotional learning in children with disruptive behavior problems and anxiety.


Dana Glenn

I am a second year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at UCR. I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology. Subsequently, I worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Chicago, where I examined how parental input and children’s neurological characteristics interact to affect cognitive development in children with early brain injury. My current research interests focus on the neural mechanisms behind empathic responding, specifically among girls with disruptive behavior problems.


Gwendolyn Gardiner

Broadly speaking, my research interests fit within the intersection of personality and cross-cultural psychology. I seek to examine how behaviors, values, and beliefs vary across cultures, and how these unique characteristics interact with the environment. Currently, I am a grad student in Dr. David Funder's lab, working on the International Situations Project.

Learn more about me here: [link]


Aleksa Kaurin

I am a visiting graduate student from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany, funded by the Fulbright Commission. Broadly, my work focuses on the mechanisms of accurate person and affect perception in clinical contexts. In the KIND Lab, I am examining the consequences of highly pronounced empathic responsiveness on affective symptomatology.


Undergraduate Research Assistants


Leonel Merino ROMERO

I am an undergraduate student who wants to go onto graduate school and learn more about how to conduct research, so I too can contribute towards improving the lives of children and their families. 



Amber Quezada

I'm a fourth year UCR student majoring in Psychology. I am interested in how a child's negative emotionality and aggressive traits influence how they respond to the emotions and behaviors of others and how these interactions then shape their social development. I would like to apply knowledge from research to occupational health to help improve patients physical and mental health.


Fernanda Sandoval

Hi, I'm Fernanda, I'm a second year UCR student majoring in Psychology. I am intrigued by what aspects of personality, behavior and emotional development lead an individual to be resilient in the face of adversity. In particular, I am interested in how we can use research findings to develop beneficial educational programs that aid vulnerable children and their families.


Lilianna Lopez

Hello, I am a second year undergraduate student majoring in Biology. At the KIND Lab, I am examining the influence of father’s speech on their daughter’s mental health. I am also interested in children’s brain structure and its development. In the future I would like to apply my knowledge and learn more about human diseases, such as cancer, and their effect on the brain, particularly focusing on children and adolescents.




Hi! I am a fourth-year Neuroscience/Psychology major. I am fascinated by the brain and all of its functions, and I'm interested in the process of neuroimaging to help understand and diagnose neurological illnesses. My hope is that we will be able to use imaging data to find cures for many of mental impairments that people may struggle with on a day to day basis.


JAY Trieu

I am a fourth year UCR student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. My interests lie mainly in biological psychology, specifically in the endocrine system, brain structure, physiology and how they influence behavior.