Graduate Students

Nicole Koefler

Nicole is in her second year of the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at the University at Buffalo and is the lab manager for the Self and Motivation Lab. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Theology & Ethics from the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University. Nicole’s research interests include understanding how individuals successfully (and unsuccessfully) seek connection with others, and the ways in which people make sense of the world through their moral and religious convictions. In her leisure time, she enjoys perusing used-book stores, exploring Buffalo, and increasing her collection of house plants.

Park, L.E., Ward, D.E., Naragon-Gainey, K., Fujita, K., & Koefler, N. (in press). I’m still spending:  Financial contingency of self-worth predicts financial motivational conflict and compulsive buying. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 

Abbie Hessler

Abbie is a second year student in the masters program in psychology working with Dr. Lora Park. In addition to being a research assistant in the Self and Motivation Lab, she works in Dr. Mark Seery’s Social Psychophysiology Lab. Abbie’s research interests include contingencies of self-worth and aspects of the self, self-threat, and motivation. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, horror films, and exploring Buffalo.

Affiliated Students

Ya-Hui Chang

Ya-Hui is in her fourth year of the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at the University at Buffalo. She received her B.A. in Public Finance from National Chengchi University and M.A.s in Psychology from NYU and in Marketing from the University of Kansas.  Her research interests include understanding aspects of shared experiences, the self, and meaning in life.

Park, L.E., Lin, G-X., Chang, Y., O’Brien, C., & Ward, D.E. (2022). Burning the candle at both ends: The role of financial contingency of self-worth and work-family conflict on job and parental well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 199, 1-6.

Chang, Y., & Park, L.E. (2021, February). Imagining shared experiences boosts interpersonal closeness and well-being. Virtual data blitz talk at Society for Personality and Social Psychology Preconference on “Shared Reality and Authenticity.”

Esha Naidu

Esha is a fifth year doctoral student in University at Buffalo SUNY’s Social-Personality Psychology program. She received her BA in Psychology from Arizona State University in 2017 and her MA in Social-Personality Psychology from the University at Buffalo in 2022. Esha’s research interests broadly concern 1) how features of social contexts and individual differences (e.g. culture, physical space, religious beliefs, and personality) influence feelings of belongingness and 2) how different kinds of pathways to a fulfilled sense of belongingness (e.g. technologically mediated relationships, symbolic social relationships, group memberships and close relationships) importantly differ. In her free time, Esha likes trying out new recipes, working out while complaining about working out, and desperately trying to keep her house plants alive.

Selected Publications

 Naidu, E. S., Gabriel, S., Paravati, E. (2022). Social flexibility: Extroversion and social adaptability during a global pandemic. Personality and Individual Differences, 190, 111549. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2022.111549

Paravati, E., Naidu E. S., Gabriel, S. (2021). From “love actually” to love, actually: The sociometer takes every kind of fuel. Self and Identity, doi:10.1080/15298868.2020.1743750

Gabriel, S., Naidu E. S., Paravati, E., Morrison C. D., Gainey, K. (2019).  Creating the sacred from the profane: Collective effervesence and everyday activities. Journal of Positive Psychology, doi:10.1080/17439760.2019.1689412

Cassie O’Brien

Cassie is in her third year of the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at the University at Buffalo. She received her B.S. from Allegheny College, with a major in Psychology and minors in Political Science and Communications. Cassie’s research interests include understanding how different social identities and identity threats can influence the resilience and motivations of individuals. She is interested in how these questions can be applied to specific social issues and domains, such as stigma and prejudice. In her free time, Cassie enjoys hiking, drinking too much coffee, and listening to true crime podcasts.

Park, L.E., Lin, G-X., Chang, Y., O’Brien, C., & Ward, D.E. (2022). Burning the candle at both ends: The role of financial contingency of self-worth and work-family conflict on job and parental well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 199, 1-6.

Zaviera Panlilio

Zaviera is in her last year of the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at the University at Buffalo. She received her Masters from San Francisco State University where she majored in Social Psychology. Zaviera’s research interests include understanding how motivation and identity impact decision making processes and behaviors in a variety of domains including social justice, health goals, and academic engagement. Zaviera enjoys anything to do with animals including her lovebird Burbie and using her creativity and comfort speaking in large groups to share research with academic and non-academic audiences. 

Selected Publications and Presentations:

Saltsman, T.L., Seery, M.D., Ward, D.E., Radsvick, T., Panlilio, Z., Lamarche, V.M., & Kondrak, C.L. (2020). Facing the facets: No association between dispositional mindfulness facets and positive momentary stress responses during active stressors. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 
 
Cho, H., Wei, D., Reyes, Z., Geisler, M.W., & Morsella, E. (2018). The reflexive imagery task: An experimental paradigm for neuroimaging. AIMS Neuroscience, 5, 97-115.
 
Morsella, E., & Reyes, Z. (2016). The difference between conscious and unconscious brain circuits. Animal Sentience

Ji Xia

Ji is in his last year of the Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at the University at Buffalo under Dr. Ken DeMarree. Ji is originally from China, and received his B.S. (in 2013) and M.S. (in 2016) degree from the University of Iowa. Ji’s research focuses on how motivational forces (goals, evolutionary needs, etc.) shapes people’s cognitions and behaviors. Primarily, he’s interested in motivational factors that hold the potential to influence how people react to persuasive information, how they perceive their own reactions (metacognition), and how these processes subsequently affect the ways people form/change their attitudes.

Park, L. E., Fujita, K., Naragon-Gainey, K., Radsvick, T., Jung, H., Xia, J., Ward, D. E., Paravati, E., Weng, J., Italiano, A., & Valvo, A., (2021). Happiness – to enjoy now or later? Consequences of delaying happiness and living in the moment beliefs. Emotion. Advance online publication.

DeMarree, K. G., Petty, R. E., Briñol, P., & Xia, J. (in press). Documenting Individual Differences in the Propensity to Hold Attitudes with Certainty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Xia, J., Murray, S. L. (2018 April). Motivational tradeoff: Disease threat vs. social exclusion. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Xia, J., Pavarati, E., DeMarree, K. G., Green, M. C., Gabriel, S. (2019 February). Real and fake attitudinal disconsensus: Implications for attitude strength and advocacy. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Portland, OR.

Valerie Vessels

Valerie is the NSF grant project coordinator for the Self and Motivation Lab. She received her B.S. in Psychobiology and B.A. in Gender Studies from UCLA, and M.A. in Psychological Research from California State University, Long Beach. Her research interests include intergroup relations, aggression, and collective action. Outside of work she enjoys baking new recipes, listening to true crime podcasts, and going to amusement parks. 

Park, L. E., Italiano, A., & Vessels, V. (in press). Managers’ frequent displays of busyness predict employees’ job disengagement, burnout, and turnover intentions. International Journal of Social Psychology.