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

Ayşe Altan, Lecturer

Primary area of focus: Clinical psychology, anxiety disorders, cognitive vulnerability to anxiety disorders, and transdiagnostic factors.

Research summary:  I am a clinical psychologist. My research is focused on the mechanisms that are responsible for development and maintenance of psychological disorders. I am specifically interested in the interaction between transdiagnostic risk factors such as emotion regulation, attentional control, perfectionism, and repetitive negative thinking patterns. I also conduct research on looming cognitive style (LCS) which is a cognitive vulnerability factor that is specific for anxiety.

Ayşe Bilge Selçuk, 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 Türkiye and Turkish mothers who live in Western cultural contexts.

Lab: Child and Family Studies Laboratory

Fuat Balcı, 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, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Clinical Psychology

Research Summary:

Research Summary: Dr. Erdem’s research and clinical work focus on addressing the needs of at-risk youth and their families, particularly those struggling with issues pertaining to substance misuse, crime, and mental health issues. Specifically, she is 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. Her current research examines the efficacy of evidence-based life skills program in promotion of mental well-being among incarcerated youth as well as youth mentoring program evaluation for adolescents in poverty. In addition, she supervises thesis projects on emerging adults’ close relationships with peers, family members, and romantic partners and their links to well-being.

Lab: www.3r-research-lab.com

Nazlı Baydar, 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

Terry Eskenazi, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Social Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience

Research Summary: My research interests chiefly lie within social cognition and neuroscience, focusing on social decision making and metacognition.

Lab: SoMi Social Minds Lab


Mehmet Eskin, Professor of Psychology

Primary Area of Focus: Clinical Psychology

Research Summary: I am a clinical psychologist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapies with a deep focus in problem-solving therapy. The research topics that am involved with are mainly within the domain of clinical psychology. My research interests include suicidal behavior, problem-solving therapy, sexual orientation, personality disorders and cultural factors in mental health.

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 Research in Autobiographical Memory

Tilbe Göksun,  Associate 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.

Lab: Language and Cognition Lab

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 Türkiye.

Lab:  Independent Evaluation Laboratory 

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