Randy T. Lee
PRE GRAD SCHOOL RESEARCH
Under Dr. Jordan Leitner, a postdoc in the joint Ayduk & Mendoza-Denton lab, I was part of a team that looked at various ways we could improve intergroup mentoring relationships. We found that mentors who used the emotion regulation strategy of self-distancing (i.e., thinking about an event in a third person perspective) believed that mentorship would be easier, which, in turn, predicted more helpful feedback to their mentees. In a follow-up study utilizing electroencephalogram (EEG), self-distancing was shown to decrease medial prefrontal cortex activity (an area believed to be involved in self-referential processing). This decreased MPFC activity during negative evaluations, in turn, predicted verbal feedback to mentees that was judged to be more helpful, positive, and warm.
During the summer of 2015, I was a research intern at Yale University's Center for Emotional Intelligence. In collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory, I worked on a project under Dr. Monika Lohani to learn more about how we develop trust and reliance in human/computer social interactions. We found that interacting with an emotionally conscientious computer avatar moderated the effect of trust on reliance, such that higher trust led to greater reliance on the avatar by participants in a moon landing game. Additionally, I worked with Center Director Dr. Marc Brackett, Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, and Facebook on a joint initiative to promote social and emotional learning in schools. I helped administer a survey that examined the emotional climate of American high schools and created content for Facebook's inspirED. Approximately 75% of the words respondents listed in the survey to describe their feelings were negatively valenced. These findings were presented at a conference I helped put together, the Emotion Revolution Submit, which took place on October 24, 2015.
After returning from New Haven, I began a lab assistant/coordinator position under Dr. Joseph Campos in the Infant Studies Center. I worked on NSF and NIH grant preparation, executive summaries, and the conceptualization of studies using the Moving Room and Visual Cliff. I was part of a project with Drs. Joseph Campos, David Anderson, and Minxuan He that examined whether the availability of optic flow influenced whether infants crossed a Visual Cliff. I also continued working with Drs. Ayduk, Leitner, and Mendoza-Denton on an honors thesis on bullying.
As lab manager, I served in the primary support role for the joint Ayduk and Mendoza-Denton lab. Though I am now a graduate student at Cornell, I am still a key researcher on two major projects with the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab: I am (1) examining the effects of self-distancing on unpleasant memories with Amanda Wang and Drs. Ozlem Ayduk, Ethan Kross, and Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, and (2) looking at associated outcomes of experiencing explicit and implicit bias with Amanda Perez-Ceballos and Dr. Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton.
I was the conference coordinator for the California Alliance's NSF-sponsored Pathways to a Diverse Professoriate: AGEP National Research Conference, which took place during March 15-16, 2018. The main goal of the conference was to present research of NSF-funded AGEP projects on how to increase the number of under-represented minority (URMs) faculty in STEM disciplines and STEM education research fields.