Graduate Students
Erica Boothby
6th year graduate student

Erica is a sixth year graduate student in the social psychology PhD program. She is interested in many questions about social life and the social biases to which we are susceptible. Her research focuses particularly on the subtle ways in which were influenced by the presence of other people without realizing it. How does the mere knowledge that someone else is doing the same thing at the same time you are change your own experience, even when 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 people watch and think about us? To what extent do the people we know cross our minds when we're apart? These questions and a host of others occupy a substantial amount of Erica's time, but when she's not doing psychology she enjoys traveling, photography, and cooking.

Robert 'Bud' Lambert
4th year graduate student

Bud researches the ways that conscious experience is shaped by knowledge. He is particularly interested in the how implicit and statistical learning can create unconscious feelings of knowledge even when one is not consciously aware of this knowledge. He works primarily from a cognitive science perspective borrowing and using ideas and methods from computer science, philosophy, and psychology.

David Melnikoff
4th year graduate student

David is researching the automatic, non-conscious 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).

Yimeng Wang
3rd year graduate student

Allie is a third 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.

Anton Gollwitzer
2nd year graduate student

Anton's research has included work on behavior change strategies, cross-modal valence transfer, and schizophrenic symptoms (paranoia), among other topics. In the ACME Lab, Anton 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.

Brian Earp
1st Year Graduate Student

Brian has a background in cognitive science, philosophy, and ethics. His undergraduate degree is from Yale, where he was a member of the ACME Lab and conducted research on unconscious mental processes and their implications for consciousness and free will. He holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Oxford in experimental psychology and a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge in the history and philosophy of science. In addition to his work in science and ethics, Brian is a professional actor and singer. His collected publications are available at

Lab Director
John Bargh, Ph.D.
James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology and Professor of Management
2 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT 06511-6814
Phone: 1-(203)-432-4547

John 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).

Postdocs and Fellows
Oriana Aragon, PhD, Yale University, Psychology (2014)
Postdoc Associate

With John Bargh and Margaret Clark, Oriana studies 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 Oriana and others 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…