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 


Graduate students


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 second 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: olivia [dot] zhao [at] wisc [dot] edu


Ethan Harrod

Ethan is a first year psychology graduate student. He obtained his M.A. in psychology from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in affective psychophysiology. He is the newest addition to the Niedenthal lab. His interests include how autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity relates social interactions, anxiety and rejection, and emotional contagion. His current research explores the potential relationship between baseline ANS activity and one's ability to tolerate social interactions. Email: eharrod [at] wisc [dot] edu


Undergraduate research assistants

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.


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.


Keaton Long

Keaton is a senior majoring in International Studies with a track in global politics and policy. He especially interested in behavioral psychology and decision making processes. In his free time, he enjoys running, climbing reading, and making music. After graduation, Keaton plans on living and working abroad before applying to graduate school.


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.

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Mackenzie Cole

Mackenzie is a junior from Burlington, WI majoring in psychology and Legal Studies along with a certificate in Criminal Justice. After graduation she plans to pursue a career in law enforcement. Outside of lab she likes to stay active, go out to eat and watch movies with friends!


Austin Tubbs

Austin is a Junior from the Madison area majoring in Psychology and Neurobiology. After his undergrad, he would like to take a gap year doing research, but is unsure if he will then go on for a PhD or a PsyD. Outside of the lab, he keeps busy by being a member of the UW Cheer team, running, lifting, or spending time outside.

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Kathleen Eberle

Kathleen am a senior from Chicago, IL studying Psychology and Spanish. She recently returned from studying abroad in Madrid, Spain for an entire year and am particularly interested in cross-cultural differences in emotional display and perception. In my free time I like to practice yoga, cook food, and spend time outdoors. I'm unsure what I will do after graduation, but am planning on completing my yoga teacher training certificate this Spring!


Emily Gruen

Emily is a Sophomore at UW-Madison from Weston, CT. She is majoring in Psychology with hopes of becoming a Clinical Child Psychologist in the future. In her free time, Emily enjoys gymnastics, traveling with family, and learning new songs on the ukulele.


Zachary Banner

Zach is a Junior from Oconomowoc, WI Majoring in Neurobiology. After Graduation he plans on obtaining a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Outside of the lab Zach likes to run, bike, and make Pizza’s at the downtown Madison Dominos.


Riley O’Donnell

Riley is a sophomore from Addison, IL majoring in Psychology with a certificate in Global Health and Education and Educational Services. She plans on attending graduate school after graduation and wants to pursue further psychological research in the fields of cultural and social psychology. Outside of lab, Riley enjoys attending concerts, dancing, and binge-watching Netflix.


Cassidy Gerothanas

Cassidy is a sophomore from Cottage Grove, WI majoring in psychology. After her undergrad, she plans to attend graduate school and continue doing research in psychology. She is interested in child psychology and hopes to have a career that involves helping kids. In her free time, she enjoys being active and spending time with friends and family.

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Zhuanghan Dong

Zhuanghan is a Junior majoring Psychology with a certificate in education and education service. She is interested in social psychology and educational psychology. She plans on going to graduate school after graduation. Outside of lab she enjoys reading, cooking and being with her friends.

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Yilin (Dean) Wang

Dean is a junior student majoring in biochemistry and psychology, who is also pursuing a criminal justice certificate. He is planning to go to law school after graduation. He is especially interested in the biochemistry behind emotions, and the relationship between emotions and cultures. In his free time, he enjoys playing and composing music.

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Melissa Le

Melissa is a Freshman from Mequon, WI majoring in management and marketing. After graduation, she hopes to attend dental school, so that she may work in underserved communities. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing the cello, photographing friends and family, and traveling.

Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Lab Alumni

Stephanie Carpenter

Stephanie M. Carpenter worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Emotion Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and now is a research fellow at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. 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. Email: scarpenter3 [at] wisc [dot] edu

Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Photo credit: Eric Roman Beining

Adrienne Wood

Adrienne completed her Phd in 2018 and is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Dartmouth Social Systems Lab, working with Thalia Wheatley on behavioral predictors of healthy social connection. Her interests include the role of sensorimotor simulation in emotion perception, the social functions of laughter, and the influence of distal cultural factors on emotion expression. Email: adrienne.r.wood [at] dartmouth [dot] edu