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Faculty and Graduate Student Projects

Cross-Cultural Childhood Experiences

Dr. Anne Shaffer and the F.R.E.S.H. lab are collecting retrospective reports of students' childhood experiences. This study collects information on current and past behavioral and emotional functioning as well as variations in parenting practices, including emotion communication and racial socialization, across cultures. Data collection is ongoing and they are currently recruiting UGA students ages 18-25 to take part in this study. 

LGBT Mental Health

Dr. Justin Lavner is interested in family and mental health issues among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations.  His most recent research has examined gay, lesbian, and heterosexual parents’ functioning over the transition to adoptive parenthood.  He has also examined children’s development over time in gay, lesbian, and heterosexual adoptive families, and LGB adolescents coming out to their parents.

Cultural Variations in Emotional Communication

Dr. Cynthia Suveg and graduate student members of her lab have recently published articles examining cultural variations in emotional communication and emotion regulation:

PDF of Morelen et al., 2013

PDF of Suveg et al., 2014

Brain Activity and Risky Behaviors Among African-American Young Adults

Several graduate students are currently working on a project to identify neurocognitive mechanisms of early life stress that lead to later risky behaviors. The results of the study will refine understanding of the neural correlates of known predictors for risky behaviors and advance development of neurobehavioral models of brain activity that predispose rural African-American young adults to engaging in risky behaviors.

Gender and Sexual Identity

Dr. Amos Zeichner and graduate student, Danielle Berke, conduct research in the Human Aggression Laboratory that focuses on role-governed behavior, gender and sexual identity, and individual differences as they relate to human aggression. Specifically, gender salient variables (e.g., sexism, norm violations, gender role stress, sexual prejudice) are measured and manipulated, along with physiological and individual differences variables, in an effort to model their descriptive and predictive relations to appraisal processes and aggressive behavior including anti-gay hate crimes, gender-based violence, and intimate partner violence. Aggressive behavior is studied as an interactive social phenomenon. Research is therefore conducted from the perspective of both “perpetrators” and “victims” with translational application to violence prevention and clinical interventions.


Sloan, C., Berke, D.S., Zeichner, A. (In Press). Bias-motivated Aggression against Men: Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation as Risk Factors for Victimization. Sex Roles.

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