Matt Gobel is interested in social hierarchies and how they shape thought and behavior. His research integrates evolutionary theory with social psychological methodology and state-of-the-art cognitive and neuroscientific measures. In collaboration with Professor Heejung Kim, Matt is examining how cultural values influence who rises to the top, and how culture-specific hierarchies affect interactions between leaders and followers. Together with Professor Barry Giesbrecht, he is also advancing the understanding of social hierarchy as a smart tool that coordinates the allocation of attention, showing where people look when interacting with higher or lower ranked others. Before coming to the SAGE Center, Matt pursued his doctoral studies in Experimental Psychology at the University College London. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.Sc. in Social Psychology from the University of Paris. Matt recently received the International Cultural Neuroscience Consortium Student Travel Award and a Research Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Sage Junior Research Fellowships
Alex Schlegel is interested in how the human brain supports the rich mental space underlying creative, flexible behaviors such as artistic, scientific, and mathematical thought. He received Bachelors degrees in physics, mathematics, and chemistry from NC State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from Arizona State University. His PhD work in cognitive neuroscience at Dartmouth College focused on large scale neural networks that enable the flexible construction and manipulation of mental imagery. He also investigated neural plasticity in long term learning processes and the neural bases of volition and consciousness experience. Alex's concurrent artistic work uses computational processes, electronics, and traditional materials to enable the direct experience of normally hidden patterns and processes in the environment. At UCSB he plans to collaborate with faculty including Michael Gazzaniga, Scott Grafton, and Mary Hegarty to investigate how distributed networks in the brain direct the formation and use of mental models, images, and other representations, and how the structure of these mental spaces can shape subsequent behavior.
Lukas J. Volz is primarily interested in investigating how the brain acquires and controls movements, and how these crucial skills are affected by disease of the central nervous system. He attended medical school at the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, where he studied the effects of neural plasticity inducing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on rodent cortical protein expression. Thereafter, he became a postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Neurological Research and the Department of Neurology at the University of Cologne where he focused on system-level mechanisms underlying the induction of neural plasticity in both the healthy as well as the diseased brain by combining TMS and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Locke Welborn received his PhD in social psychology from UCLA, where he worked under the guidance of Professor Matthew D. Lieberman on neural mechanisms underlying the human capacity to reason about the minds of well-known individuals. Further work has explored the ways in which activity in motivational and regulatory brain centers can influence our responses to the social attitudes of our peers. As a SAGE Junior Fellow, in collaboration with Professor Kyle Ratner, he is investigating the possibility that mental models of specific, well-known individuals may help us understand new acquaintances by exploiting the information available within pre-existing neural representations. With Professor Michael Miller, he is assessing whether brain regions associated with self-regulation modulate the impact of stereotypes on judgments and memories about others. In particular, he is interested in learning whether a more conservative or deliberative 'decision criteria' for endorsing statements about others can inhibit retrieval of inaccurate but stereotype-consistent information.