Graduate Students

Rista Plate, Graduate Student, Clinical Psychology
B.A., 2010, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Psychology)

As individuals act and interact in social environments, they must sort through complex evidence to make everyday decisions. Such choices might include whom to trust; how to make and maintain friendships; how to interact with a teacher versus a peer; when to mask versus express their feelings; or how to determine if a current behavior is likely to result in reward or punishment. I seek to understand how children make sense of social information, with a particular focus on how statistical learning unfolds in dynamic socio-emotional contexts. In doing so, I draw across areas of psychology, using cognitive methods to explore questions about social development.



Photo of Andrea Stein

Andrea Stein, Graduate Student
B.A., 2014, Yale University (Ethics, Politics & Economics)
M.A., 2015, Teachers College, Columbia University (Elementary Inclusive Education)

We all experience and encounter emotions in diverse, complicated ways. Sometimes we smile in happiness, while other times we might cry; in some contexts, a frown suggests anger, while in others it merely suggests concentration. Yet even in the face of this complexity, we somehow develop distinct understandings of a number of emotion concepts, which we use to construe our own and others’ emotions. My interests are in the social, cognitive, and linguistic mechanisms by which children learn such emotion concepts from a complex environment, as well as how representations of these concepts change across the lifespan.

Portrait of Kristina Woodard

Kristina Woodard, Graduate Student

B.A., 2013, University of Pennsylvania (Psychology)

I am interested in better understanding how children learn about components of emotion such as facial expressions, body posture, and nonverbal auditory cues. In particular, I’m interested in how statistical learning may aid children’s development in these areas, and how knowledge about these cues may change across development.

Yuyan Xu

Yuyan Xu, Graduate Student
B.A., 2015, Jinan University (Applied Linguistics)
M.A., 2017, Teachers College, Columbia University (Developmental Psychology)

After graduating from Jinan University in 2015 with a BA in Applied Linguistics, I altered my path to pursue a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. I then worked as a research coordinator in Dr. Katie McLaughlin’s Stress and Development Lab testing a hippocampus-dependent associative learning model of PTSD in adolescents. There, I developed a research interest in how different dimensions of early life adversity might shape children’s environmental expectations and influence their associative learning, decision-making, and emotion processing, which in turn underlies various forms of psychopathology. I am eager to learn more about the behavioral and neuroimaging methods so as to explore these questions in graduate school.