Paula M. Niedenthal

Paula received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and was on the faculty of the departments of Psychology at Johns Hopkins University and Indiana University. She was a member of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France for more than a decade and is now the Howard Leventhal WARF Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her areas of research include emotion-cognition interaction, representational models of emotion, and the processing of facial expression. Dr. Niedenthal is a fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Email: niedenthal [at] wisc [dot] edu 

 Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Post Doc

Stephanie Carpenter

Stephanie M. Carpenter is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Emotion Research (NIMH NRSA T32) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Stephanie received a joint Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Her research examines how cognitive and affective processes influence judgment and decision making. Current lines of research investigate the cognitive and affective mechanisms that underlie social judgment and difficult decision making, changes in creativity and choice behavior across the adult lifespan, and the influence of emotion regulation on judgment and decision making. Email: scarpenter3 [at] wisc [dot] edu

 Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Graduate students

Adrienne Wood

Adrienne is a sixth year Social Psychology graduate student working with Dr. Niedenthal on questions at the intersection of cognitive and affective science. Her current interests include the role of sensorimotor simulation in emotion perception, the effects of higher-level cognitive processes like language on emotion, and the influence of distal cultural factors on emotion expression. She also dabbles in smiles and laughter. When she’s not thinking about what makes other people smile, she enjoys playing piano, doing yoga and kickboxing, escaping to Colorado to ski, and doting on her dog. Email: adrienne.wood [at] wisc [dot] edu


Jared Martin

Jared Martin is interested in investigating the functions of various expressions (facial, gestural, vocal) in our social world, particularly those expressions that are typically perceived as “emotional.” His approach to this over-arching theme is largely at the biological and behavioral level. In a series of up-coming studies, he will be investigating the potential moderating effect of the 3 SIMS smile types on the biological response of individuals in the context of a stressful situation. Future studies will investigate biological and behavioral correlates to the perception of the SIMS smiles. Measures in the previously mentioned studies will include, but are not limited to: cortisol, facial EMG, measures of ANS activity, EEG/ERP. His goals for the future include extending the SIMS model to other emotion families, and investigating how the social-functional framework presented in the SIMS model may be particularly fruitful in the context of ambiguous or mixed-valence, emotionally charged social situations. Email: jdmartin7 [at] wisc [dot] edu


Fangyun (Olivia) Zhao

Olivia is a first year psychology graduate student being co-advised by Dr. Bilge Mutlu in Computer Science. She is interested in nonverbal behaviors in social interactions, human-robot interaction and affective computing. She loves to explore applications of emerging technologies in psychological research. During her leisure time, she enjoys painting, traveling and tasting food. Email: fzhao27 [at] wisc [dot] edu


Undergraduate research assistants

Sarah Roemer

Sarah is a junior at UW-Madison majoring in Psychology with a certificate in Business. With experience living in New Delhi, she’s interested in cultural psychology and the varying differences in facial expressitivity amongst different cultures. While she’s unsure what she wants to take on after college, she loves running down lakeshore path and eating cheese curds in her free time here at Madison. 


Julia Low-Chappell

Julia Low-Chappell is a junior psychology major interested in the influence of implicit bias on decision making. She is unsure of what the future holds for her after graduation, but plans on pursuing either a law or masters degree to go on to family law or counseling. In her spare time she likes to read, go to Costco, and play Boggle with friends.  


Zach Klein

Zach is a junior from a suburb right outside of Washington, D.C known as Reston, VA. He is majoring in Political Science and Psychology, and is still in the process of figuring out his plans beyond undergrad. Besides being a member of a co-ed a cappella group, Redefined, he loves to travel, cook, eat, laugh, and hike. His favorite times are times spent with friends and family, as well as with his adorable dog. He is extremely excited to be working in the Emotions Lab, and can't wait to see what's in store for the year to come.


Haley Sanders

Haley Sanders is a junior from Chicago, IL. She is majoring in history and psychology. She does not know what the future holds for her after graduation, but hopes to attend graduate school. She facilitates diversity training workshops for the Our Wisconsin program and she enjoys reading, watching movies/tv, and going for walks.  

Kyle Rentmeester picture.png

Kyle Rentmeester

Kyle Rentmeester is from Wausau, Wisconsin, and is a junior majoring in Psychology. He plans on applying for graduate programs in clinical psychology next year. He hopes to work someday in a clinical setting, providing psychotherapy for those in need. Some of his hobbies include yoga and playing chess competitively.


Ty Jager

I am a Senior Psychology and Spanish student here at UW from Hartland, WI and look forward to another year in the Emotions lab. For fun, I appreciate a nice fall day outside, finding any adventures I can whether it be sports or hiking. Further, I love to travel, workout, eat exotic foods, and meeting new people. Following graduation I plan to work at the mental hospital while looking for grad programs, but for now am having the time of my life as a Badger!


Zoe Hansen

Zoe is a junior majoring in Psychology and Italian and plans on attending graduate school after undergrad. She is especially interested in studying how shame and guilt affect sexuality, the role of anger expressions in aggression, and also cultural differences in emotional expressivity. Zoe loves to sing, eat good food, read, and travel whenever possible.


Chris Little

Chris is a senior Psychology major who split his upbringing between Dayton, Ohio and Middleton, Wisconsin. He is interested in the link between psychological well-being and workplace performance, and plans to attend graduate school for Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Chris considers himself a movie buff, loves taking long road trips, and is an avid basketball fan. He has spent the last two years helping coach the Middleton High School boy’s basketball team.


Andrew Langbehn

Andrew is a sophomore research assistant from Portage, Mi. He is majoring in Psychology with a certificate in Criminal Justice and hopes to pursue a career at the intersection of psychology and law enforcement as a researcher or sworn law enforcement agent. He enjoys playing disc golf, and exploring Wisconsin in his free time.


Amelia Boruch

Amelia is a sophomore at UW-Madison from La Crosse, Wisconsin. She is majoring in Psychology with a certificate in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies. Amelia hopes to pursue a career studying and analyzing the behavioral science behind violent crimes. In her free time, she loves to be active, study Krav Maga, find new movies to watch, and spend time with her friends and family.


Caroline Roble

Caroline is a junior from Waunakee, Wisconsin majoring in Neurobiology and Psychology. She plans to get her doctorate in physical therapy and specialize in neurology. For fun, she loves to travel, spend time with friends and family, swim, and find new shows to watch.


Solveig Viren

Solveig is a senior from Grand Rapids, MN studying neurobiology with a certificate in global health.  She plans on applying to medical school after a gap year or two doing research or traveling.  In her spare time she loves traveling, the outdoors, cooking and eating good food, and spending time with family and friends. 


Visiting researchers

Ethan Harrod

Ethan received his M.A. in psychology from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in affective psychophysiology. He is currently a visiting researcher at the Niedenthal lab. His interests include how ANS activity can provide an insight into stress contagion, emotional contagion, and vicarious embarrassment. His current research deals with the changes in ANS activity and behavioral tendencies during observed social rejection, the relationship between bullying history and altruistic punishment, and the social and physiological predictors of one's susceptibility to vicarious emotions. Email: eharrod [at] wisc [dot] edu