Research

Labs

 

Faculty Research Interests

Aylin Küntay, Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Developmental Psychology

Research Summary: I am a developmental psychologist, particularly interested in the interface of linguistic development with social and cognitive development. My current research looks at (a) emergence of language comprehension and production  in infants and toddlers, (b) narrative competence and use in preschoolers, (c) development of basic pragmatic skills in referential language and narrative discourse. My approach to the psychology of language is crosslinguistic.

Lab: Language & Communication Development Lab

Banu Çankaya, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Clinical Psychology

Research Summary: I am a clinical psychologist licensed in New York state, US. My earlier research interests include examination of cognitive vulnerability model of depression and effects of (traumatic) life events on depression and suicide risk. Culturally informed suicide research and prevention, primarily the functions of social connection and sense of belonging, is my recent interest for investigation. In applied work, I am particularly interested in contemporary perspectives in cognitive-behavioral therapy including mindfulness-based interventions.

Bilge Selçuk, Associate Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Social-Cognitive Development, Emotional Development, Parenting, Temperament

Research Summary: I am a developmental psychologist with research interests focusing on the mechanisms underlying individual differences in children’s social behavior. Part of my current work investigates the interplay of intrinsic child characteristics (temperament, sociocognitive abilities), parenting, and contextual factors in the development of competent and maladaptive functioning in preschool children. Another area concerns studies designed to explore parental belief systems and child-rearing practices among mothers in Turkey and Turkish mothers who live in Western cultural contexts.

Lab: Child and Family Studies Laboratory

Çiğdem Kağıtçıbaşı, Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Cultural Psychology (Social/Developmental)

Research Summary: Kagitcibasi’s research spans wide ground and includes both theoretical and applied approaches.  She has studied psychological aspects of social change and has proposed a theory of family change and a theory of self.  These theoretical perspectives are being used internationally.  Her applied work concerned early childhood enrichment, particularly by supporting the mother and the family. A 22-year study has led to policy and applications both in Turkey and abroad. More recently she has expanded her applied research to early adolescents in school contexts.  Kağıtçıbaşı’s publications in English include 13 books (authored, co-authored, edited, co-edited) and 166 journal articles/book chapters.  Citations of her work reach 4761 (by October, 2014).  Her publications in Turkish include 19 books and 52 articles/chapters.

Fuat Balcı, Associate Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Interval Timing, Decision Making, Temporal Risk Assessment, Computational Modeling, Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychophysics

Research Summary: Our research on interval timing focuses on the psychophysical, behavioral, and mechanistic investigation of the interval timing ability. My lab investigates how humans and animals learn, represent, and make judgments about time intervals as well as the effect of factors such as motivation and stimulus properties on timing. Our research on interval timing extends to its behavioral genetics and neurobiological investigation. Temporal Risk Assessment: Our research on temporal risk assessment focuses on the question of whether humans and animals take normative account of their endogenous timing uncertainty (in addition to exogenous probabilities and cost functions) in temporal and time-pressured perceptual decision-making. Through this research, we incorporate the psychophysics of interval timing into the study of decision-making and reward maximization. Perceptual Decision Making: Our research in this area focuses on the question of the optimality of human two alternative decision-making performance and the adjustment of these decisions to changing environmental statistics (such as signal quality, task pace, probability, reward magnitude). The relation of time-constrained and unconstrained two-alternative performance to interval timing ability constitutes another specific question that my research group investigates. My empirical studies in these three areas are complemented by extensive modeling work. We are currently investigating how timing and decision-making processes are affected in clinical and neurological conditions, and the brain mechanisms that underlay these functions using transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Lab: Timing, Memory, Decision-Making Lab

Gizem Erdem, Associate Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Clinical Psychology

Research Summary: I am a licensed couple and family therapist in the state of Ohio, US. My research and clinical work focus on addressing the needs of at-risk youth and their families, particularly those struggling with issues pertaining to substance abuse, mental illness, and homelessness. Specifically, I am interested in a) understanding resilience, and capabilities among at-risk youth with particular focus on the impact of family and community resources on positive youth development; b) developing, testing, and evaluating prevention and treatment interventions targeting those youth and their families, and c) disseminating evidence-based practices in the field via collaborative work with the clinicians and service providers. My current research examines the efficacy of community-based youth mentoring programs on promotion of positive youth development and prevention of mentral health issues. My earlier research experience also included the efficacy and effectiveness clinical trials in substance abuse treatment with vulnerable populations, such as young homeless mothers and their children and non-system connected street-living youth.

Gün Refik Şemin, Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Embodiment, Human Olfaction, Language and Cognition

Research Summary: A puzzle that has occupied me ever since I started with psychology is how it is possible to understand social behavior by explaining individual processes. Another puzzle has been why one should focus on stills when human behavior is a movie: behavior is self evidently dynamic and highly responsive to contextual variations. Finally, I have been puzzled how it is possible to think that all there might be to psychological processes is some symbolic computation taking place somewhere between the ears.

I have come to conceptualize the social in terms of jointly recruited processes rather than individual ones (Semin & Cacioppo, 2009); that social behavior is situated and psychological processes are embodied (Semin, 2007; Semin & Smith 2013; Smith & Semin, 2004). Within these broad parameters my empirical research is primarily driven by an interest in communication, social cognition, and language and the diverse uses that language can be put to in social interaction (ranging from the regulation of prejudice to that of interpersonal relationships) as well as the embodied grounding of meaning and communication. Finally, I do research into olfactory processes in human communication.

Nazlı Baydar, Associate Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Developmental Psychology

Research Summary: A puzzle that has occupied me ever since I started with psychology is how it is possible to understand social behavior by explaining individual processes. Another puzzle has been why one should focus on stills when human behavior is a movie: behavior is self evidently dynamic and highly responsive to contextual variations. Finally, I have been puzzled how it is possible to think that all there might be to psychological processes is some symbolic computation taking place somewhere between the ears.

Lab: TEÇGE Lab

Sami Gülgöz, Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Human Memory, Autobiographical Memory

Research Summary: My current research focuses on human memory and to a large extent on autobiographical memory.  We study the characteristics and effects of remembering events that we experienced personally in our lives.  The general inclination in our lab is to get involved in research that is interesting to us and that triggers our curiosity. As an inevitable consequence of this approach, my research has included diverse topics including learning from text, improving cognitive skills, and personality.  In my experience and conceptualization, I observed that they get connected in deeper regions as we excavate inside the caves of the human mind.  These connections have been fruitful in enriching our understanding of autobiographical memory and led our inquiry in various directions related to personality, cognitive capacity, and models of representing world knowledge.

Lab: Laboratory for Reserch in Autobiographical Memory

Scott Withrow,  Assistant Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Psychometrics and Occupational Health Psychology

Research Summary: Psychometrics: My research has been focused on refining current measurement techniques in the literature, substantively applying measurement to understand psychological processes, and how far we can push the assumptions of our statistical models without breaking them.

Workplace Health: People can spend as much as a third of their lives at work. The stressors and strains of the workplace can have real and detrimental effects on the mental and physical health of it’s employees. Most of my research is dedicated to exploring these relationships to better understand how these processes work and what interventions may be possible.

Tilbe Göksun,  Assistant Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Language and cognitive development, language and thought, neuropsychology of language

Research Summary: My main research interests center on the relation between language and various thinking processes using multiple populations (children, adults, brain injured patients) and methodologies (e.g., looking time-eye tracking, act-out tasks, linguistic analyses). In particular, my developmental studies focus on how children learn their native language, what the precursors are for learning relational language (verbs and prepositions), and how other modalities such as gesture interact with these processes. Additionally, a new line of research in my lab examines the development of aesthetic preferences in a cross-cultural perspective. The adult cognitive studies in my lab examine the interaction of language with multiple domains such as time perception, time-space interaction, and motion events. In most of my research questions, I closely examine the role of gestures in thinking, communicating, and executing information.

Yasemin Kisbu Sakarya,  Assistant Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Quantitative methodology and program evaluation

Research Summary: I am a Quantitative Psychologist. My research focus on quantitative methodology, particularly as applied in program and policy evaluation. My current research interests are statistical mediation analysis, causal inference methodology and quasi-experimental designs, and evaluation of health and education related policies and programs. Examples of projects I currently pursue are development of a new variant of regression discontinuity design, statistical power and bias when there is measurement non-invariance in the mediator, a doubly-robust propensity score weighting method to achieve causal inference in mediation, and evaluation of intervention programs implemented by leading education NGOs in Turkey.

Zeynep Aycan, Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Research Summary: Aycan’s primary research areas include leadership, work-life balance and human resource management practices. She investigates these topics from cross-cultural perspectives. Aycan utilizes different methodologies in her research ranging from qualitative methods to experimental ones.

Lab: Leadership Lab

Zeynep Cemalcılar, Associate Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Social Psychology

Research Summary: I am particularly interested in studying social psychological theories and issues as processes applied to real world situations. I am especially interested in studying the daily lives of “youth”.  My most recent research focuses on understanding the dynamics of (1) the social media (especially in terms of studying how online and offline social interactions influence each other) and use of technology in the social life. (2) prosocial behavior with a special attention on initiation and sustainability of volunteerism; (3) subjective socioeconomic status and its affect on individual well-being; (4) social psychological interventions in the educational context; and (5) culture. Currently I am also involved in a large scale, cross-national study funded by the European Union, investigating the “cultural pathways to self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship”.

Lab: Mediated Interaction & Experience Lab