Lab Members


JOHN A. BARGH is the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology at Yale University. Undergraduate degree from University of Illinois, 1977; Ph.D. in Social Psychology, University of Michigan, 1981 (advisor: Robert B. Zajonc). From 1981 to 2003, Bargh was on faculty of New York University. His research focuses on automatic or unconscious social information processes, as involved in a variety of phenomena, including motivation and goal pursuit, evaluation and liking, and social behavior. Vita (updated November 2014).


ERICA BOOTHBY is a fifth year graduate student in the social psychology PhD program. She is interested in shared experience and social biases. Her research focuses on what happens when other people are on our minds. This interest has led her to study a variety of topics. How does the mere knowledge that someone else is doing the same thing at the same time you are change your own experience, even if you're not communicating with each other? How much time do people spend observing and thinking about the people around them, and are we blind to how much other people watch and think about us? To what extent do the people we know cross our minds when we're apart? How do we gauge whether other people are interested in getting to know us, and when do our intuitions lead us astray? Contact Erica at, or visit her website for more information.

DAVID MELNIKOFF is a third year graduate student, researching the automatic, nonconscious strategies people employ to facilitate positive social outcomes during one-on-one interactions. His current work explores 1) whether people strategically regulate their commitment to moral standards to increase the likelihood that they will laugh at others' jokes, 2) what processes lead to the mirroring of others' speech patterns, and 3) what motives underlie the rapid adoption of others' implicit attitudes (a process known as social tuning). Contact David at

ROBERT "BUD" LAMBERT is third year graduate student, interested in the feeling of comprehension and knowing that accompanies everyday life, but he primarily goes about this through the study of an absence of meaning - the state of confusion. In doing so, he hopes illustrate many of the important aspects of cognition, which allow us to navigate our world easily. He often utilizes a cognitive science approach, incorporating perspectives from psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. Contact Bud at

ALLIE YIMENG WANG is a second year graduate student in the social psychology program. After arriving from China she spent four years mainly around llama, monocycles and maple syrup at Hampshire College. She is interested in probing conscious and unconscious forces driving behaviors that give rise to mass cultural phenomena. Currently she is working with John Bargh on research bridging hunger, emotions, temperature and consumptive behaviors, and with David Rand on research linking cultural orientation, socioeconomic parameters and priming with altruism/selfishness in economic games. In the future she expects to do more work on social influence/persuasion, creativity and motor activities, as well as individual differences in suggestibility. Contact Allie at

ANTON GOLLWITZER is a first year graduate student. His research has included work on behavior change strategies, cross-modal valence transfer, and schizophrenic symptoms (paranoia), among other topics. In the ACME Lab, he plans to investigate how physical contexts influence psychological contexts, possible moderators of priming, emotional priming, conflicting primes, and importantly, the applied use of priming in intervention work. The unique combination of his studies, psychology as well as computer science, has led him to adopt an approach that combines innovative psychological research with forward thinking technology. Contact Anton at


ORIANA ARAGON With John Bargh and Margaret Clark, I study the things that we do, outside of conscious awareness, that help us to regulate our experience in the world. Specifically, the regulation of positive and negative reactions to what we may encounter. For instance, through multiple studies we demonstrate that people position objects to the left or right of their vantage point, dependent on if it would be better to perceive those objects vividly or not (Aragón, et al., under revision). Following basic hedonic principles, to approach pleasure and avoid pain, it appears that people spontaneously regulate their emotional states by positioning more pleasant objects to their left and less pleasant to their right, that is unless they have a purpose to experiencing the less pleasant object more vividly. In that instance the tendency is reversed. More to come...