2024 Grant Recipients

2024 Bob Levenson Research Award Winners

Aakash Chowkase is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on fostering concern for others and bridging differences.

My Dao is a third year doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at UC Berkeley. Her current research focuses on cultural and social capital as mechanisms that perpetuate social class and racial inequalities.

Tyrone Sgambati is a fifth year doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on perspective taking and humility as levers to reduce political polarization.


Do misperceptions between racial groups act as barriers to intergroup harmony and allyship?

Our initial work identified a significant difference between what White Americans say about their attitudes toward racial minorities and how racial minorities perceive White Americans' attitudes. This research aims to investigate why this difference exists and how it impacts intergroup harmony. Our first study aims to identify whether social norms may have inflated White Americans’ perceptions of racial minorities in our initial work, by manipulating the context in which they report their perceptions. Our second study presents the attitudes reported by White participants to racial minorities, with the aim of identifying the extent to which the reports are (dis)trusted and how trust impacts downstream markers of intergroup harmony and allyship.

Sandy Campbell is a fifth year doctoral candidate in the Management of Organizations group at the Berkeley Haas School of Business. Her research interests lie in the realm of behavioral economics and judgement and decision making. 


Gender Differences in Award Choice

Awards are ubiquitous in organizations, and are only increasing in use over time. Extant literature on gender and awards finds that women who win awards get less money and prestige, but fails to pin down the mechanisms through which this effect occurs. In our project, we plan to manipulate the salience of gender identities, and examine how that affects what types of awards women are granted. We additionally plan to look at what effect receiving service awards has on subsequent performance. Specifically, we predict a Matthew effect: when women are given service awards, they will double down on service, which further hurts their performance through decreasing the amount of time they dedicate to performance tasks.

Conrad Eiroa-Solans is a second year doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on emotion regulation and psychophysiology.


Individual Differences in Situation Selection

How do individuals select emotional situations? This project investigates the decisions people make to approach or avoid various emotional experiences. Using 32 videos spanning 8 emotions (4 positive, 4 negative), we ask participants to predict their emotional response to the videos, choose whether to view the videos, and report their emotional states after watching them. These responses will help us understand how people navigate emotional experiences, and a series of questionnaires will enable us to explore how different people prioritized selection patterns, laying the foundation for future studies on their associations with well-being. 

Rosalinda Nava is a fifth year doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on measuring support, messaging, and construal in education.


Towards an Independent View of Undergraduate Education

While college in the US is typically thought of as an independent project where students are meant to set out on their own, social support is integral in students’ experiences, and might be particularly important for students from interdependent backgrounds, such as first-generation college students. In this project, I will investigate how social support from parents, peers, and educational mentors affects college students’ academic outcomes and well-being, and whether this looks different for first generation and continuing generation college students. In addition to surveys, I will also conduct interviews to provide insight grounded in students’ lived experiences.

Merrick Osborne is the Inaugural Racial Equity Postdoctoral Scholar at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.


Motivated by Mutability: The Role of Status Mutability in Voicing Behaviors

Speaking up at work should be rewarded with status. Yet, people oftentimes refrain from providing their ideas or thoughts when they think the benefits outweigh the costs; what previous scholars have called a “voice calculus”. We focus on an undertheorized variable in this calculus: the extent to which people believe expressing voice will be rewarded (or not be rewarded) with status. We predict that status hierarchies with opportunities for upward mobility (vs. those without opportunities for upward mobility) will motivate people to speak up. In turn, we identify an important factor which may influence low-status's people status-seeking behaviors.

Nirupika Sharma is a fourth year doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on the effects of identity on perceptions of the self (e.g., felt authenticity) and intra- and inter-group relations.


The Psychological and Social Implications of Racial/Ethnic Code-Switching

Code-switching is a self-presentation strategy that involves altering one’s behavior, mannerisms, and expression in adherence to a dominant cultural context. Results from two prior studies suggest that racial/ethnic code-switching has negative implications for felt authenticity, or how true individuals feel to themselves. Additionally, these results have indicated a mixed bag of implications for individuals’ perceived sense of shared reality with in- and out-group members, respectively. By manipulating job recruitment material, the proposed study will investigate cues in corporate workplace settings that influence code-switching behaviors, and how these impact perceptions of felt authenticity and shared reality with members of different groups. 

Gerald Young is a sixth year doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on understanding the role of emotional (e.g., emotion regulation, emotion beliefs) and group-related (e.g., social integration, identity) processes for mental health and well-being, with a particular focus on understanding these relationships across diverse populations.


The Psychological Health Consequences of Believing that Emotions Can and Should be Controlled

People have two particularly important beliefs about their emotions: 1) can people control their emotions? and 2) should people control their emotions? My research shows that these beliefs differ depending on whether they are about positive or negative emotions as well as whether they are about emotional behavior or emotional experience. Because these beliefs are extremely consequential for how people respond to their emotions as well as their overall psychological health, my research investigates which specific beliefs are related to overall positive and negative responses to our emotions and good and bad psychological health.