Dr. Sean Laurent


Dr. Laurent graduated from the University of Massachusetts and Commonwealth Honors College in 2004. While attending college, he worked as a research assistant in Dr. Linda Isbell’s lab, then spent a year after graduation working under the supervision of Dr. Paula Pietromonaco. In 2005, he moved on to the University of Oregon, where he worked under the guidance of Dr. Sara Hodges, studying topics related to empathy and perspective taking.

Dr. Laurent received his Ph.D. in social psychology from UO in 2010 and then worked for three years as an Assistant Lecturer in the Psychology Department at the University of Wyoming. After returning to the University of Oregon as an instructor from 2013-2016, he joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2016. Dr. Laurent studies a variety of topics related to social cognition and morality.

Current Graduate Students

Da Eun Han, M.A.  

Da Eun joined the MASC lab in 2018. She received her B.S. in Chinese Language and Literature, but hardly speaks Chinese, which probably led her to double major in Psychology. She received her M.A. in psychology at Yonsei University in South Korea. She has been working on diverse topics such as culture, moral self, praise/blame, social status, emotions, and other topics. In particular, Da Eun is interested in how people form moral judgments, what underlies moral behavior, and the relationship between morality and an internal/external focus on the self.

Jieming (Lois) Li, B.S. CV

Lois joined the MASC lab in 2019 after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in psychology (social psychology concentration) and a minor in cognitive neuroscience. Lois is passionate about social justice and has broad interests in stereotypes, racial and gender identities, and moral cognition. Currently, she is working on a project involving how embodied cues about morality influence moral judgments and punishment intentions and also developing a study involving the influence of gender and gendered cues on perceived morality.

Beyond research, Lois enjoys reading, watching films, and listening to indie music. She is also interested in classic and vintage cars, fashion, and photography.

Shoko Watanabe, M.S.*2 CV

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Shoko joined the MASC lab in the Fall of 2016. She was born in Japan and moved to Hawaii in sixth grade. She completed middle and high school in Hawaii and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where she studied theology at Oral Roberts University.

Shoko’s research questions include: Can we attain moral perfection? When and why do people promote forgiveness? What roles do religion, perception of free will, motives for atoning, and perspective-taking play in promoting or inhibiting forgiveness? What are the contextual factors that influence perceptions of moral hypocrisy and when do people forgive or punish others for their hypocrisy? Are moral disgust and anger distinguishable emotions? What role does trust play in formation and maintenance of friendship and leadership within a group?

Shoko is also a certified math teacher with an M.S. in Educational Psychology from Oklahoma State University. Besides teaching, Shoko has explored other careers in banking and restaurant management industries, but she ultimately realized that her passion was in psychology and philosophy. Outside of these topics, Shoko enjoys traveling, learning foreign languages, playing video games, and cooking.

Drew Weiner, M.S.  

Drew joined the MASC Lab in 2017 (Note: Drew was one of the first students admitted to the department’s new Master’s in Psychological Science program; he was also admitted to the Ph.D. program starting Fall 2019). He graduated from Creighton University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology and Spanish and Hispanic studies. His primary research interests revolve around wealth inequality and the social perception of individuals from varying socioeconomic statuses. He is currently working on a program of research to distinguish how individuals with different levels of wealth are blamed and praised and to identify the mechanisms driving these judgments. His other interests include just-world beliefs, victim blaming, and the mechanisms underlying moral judgments.

MASC Lab Collaborators and Contributors

Jun-Yeob Kim

 Jun-Yeob (also one of the first students admitted to the MPS program and also admitted to the Ph.D. program for Fall 2019) is studying Industrial/Organizational psychology under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Newman. He received his B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the Catholic University of Korea in 2016. He is interested in exploring the ways that people’s personality traits and characteristics, such as gender and culture, influence their perceptions of leaders. Additionally, he is interested in how perceiver and leader traits interact. He is currently working on a project involving how thinking about death influences victim blaming through promoting the need to believe that the world is just.

Elizabeth Lozano, M.S.


Liz is a Ph.D. student in the social psychology program at UIUC. Her interests include understanding how seeing others blame (or take responsibility) for outcomes they caused influences beliefs that other, unrelated agents will also shift blame. Currently, her work with Dr. R. Chris Fraley on topics related to attachment, with a particular interest in how attachment works for donor-conceived individuals.

Chas Monge, B.S.

Chas began a collaborative project with the MASC lab in Spring 2020. He received his B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Illinois College. His primary research interests concern online toxic behaviors (e.g., cyberbullying, flaming, trolling, etc.) and how people either justify (particularly in cases of the self) or condemn it. More generally, he is interested in the ways in which people form beliefs about others online, and how these beliefs inform judgments about the appropriateness of toxic behaviors online.

Brandon Reich, Ph.D.  Webpage

Brandon Reich recently earned his doctorate in Marketing at the University of Oregon, where he focused on consumer psychology. He has recently joined the faculty at Portland State University.

Brandon’s overarching area of research centers around ethics (questions of right and wrong) in consumer spaces. Consumers and marketers usually consider ethics when making decisions, and Brandon’s research examines how these considerations shape consumer and societal well-being. He draws from theories of moral reasoning, inference making, and social cognition to develop two interrelated lines of research in this domain: (1) Marketplace blame and consumer moral judgment, (2) Sustainability through alternative consumption.

Fernando Sanchez, M.S.

Fernando Sanchez Hernandez is a Ph.D. student in developmental psychology, working under the supervision of Dr. Dan Hyde. After receiving a B.A. in Jazz studies from the University of New Orleans, he moved to Minneapolis to work at the Institute of Child Development where he worked with Dr. Albert Yonas and Dr. Melissa Koenig. Fernando uses a developmental approach to examine social cognition, informed by neuroscience and behavioral economics methods. He is particularly interested in understanding mechanisms of moral cognition such as agency perception, mental state attribution, and negativity bias.

Minjae Seo, M.S.

Minjae is a doctoral student in the social psychology program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she works under the supervision of Dr. Dov Cohen. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Political Science at Yonsei University in South Korea. She is interested in cultural universals and variations in values, moral perceptions, and behaviors. She is currently working on projects related to moral emotions, intercultural relationships, and cultural differences in immoral behaviors and perceptions of hypocrisy.

Shiyu Yang, M.A.

Shiyu is a Ph.D student at the Gies College of Business of UIUC. She received undergraduate degrees in Economics and Psychology (double major) and an M.A. Management from Peking University. Currently she is working on a project looking at how positive moral emotions transform people’s outlook on themselves as well as on the world. Her passion in examining the micro foundations of morality also extends to discussions about societal institutions in cross-cultural contexts. She loves nature and art and believes in the value of diversity. Her favorite quote is from the anthropologist Wade Davis: “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”

Hany Zayed, M.S.

Hany is from Cairo, Egypt, and is a PhD student in Sociology at UIUC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance, Economics, and Innovation Management and a master’s degree in Politics, Economics, and Philosophy. Ignited and crystallized by the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, his research interests lie primarily at the intersection of social movements, social psychology, and the sociology of media. Currently, he is working with the MASC Lab on a project investigating how moral shocks and moral outrage decrease support for undesirable business practices.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Grace (Yujia) Bai double majors in Psychology and English. She was born in XI’an, China but went to elementary school in Houston, Texas, and finished middle school as well as high school in her hometown. Grace wants to pursue a PhD degree in social psychology, and her major research interests are personality and social development, social cognition, and culture. Outside of studying, Grace loves Japanese anime, music, dancing, and watching ice-skating competitions. Given the time, she would also like to skate professionally someday.

Olivia Benge is a double major in psychology and painting who plans to pursue a PhD in psychology. She is interested in how and why people choose to behave morally vs. immorally. Her outside interests are writing, photography, running, and film.

Ariana Daneshbodi studies Social Psychology and Interpersonal Communication and has been involved in research since her first year at UIUC. Her goal is to become a professor of social psychology (she will be applying to programs in Fall of 2019 – interested programs should know – she will be an excellent candidate!). One of her other passions is traveling and this past fall she studied abroad in Italy, one of the 10 countries she has visited so far.

Austin Eichhorn is majoring in Psychology and Integrative Biology. She wants to pursue graduate school and has a wide variety of research interests. She is mainly interested in how children view their peers with different types of mental illnesses and how that impacts their relationships and interactions with these peers. In her free time, she enjoys painting, cooking, and reading.

Hailey Gaba double majors in Psychology (social psychology concentration) and Communications. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology post graduation. Outside of the lab, she interns at Cunningham Children’s Home, doing therapy with boys in the residential unit. Beyond her studies and internship, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing guitar, going to the gym, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. 

Suryaa Gupta is studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and minoring in French. She has wide interests but would like to become a physician. Suryaa joined the MASC lab after working with children in the psychiatry department at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital. Suryaa loves to travel and immerse herself in different cultures. She studied abroad in France for a month and is hoping to return in the near future and would like to travel more in Europe before settling into her career. 

Sean Kirchman is a double major in psychology (social concentration) and sociology. Sean plans to pursue a PhD in psychology after graduation. Beyond psychology, his interests are chess, swimming, and lifeguarding.

Koh Kobayashi is majoring in psychology and considering a dual major in statistics and a minor in communication. He was born in Yokohama, Japan and graduated high school from Greenwich, Connecticut. His main interest is in how culture and nationality affect people’s social and moral behavior. He is currently interested in industrial/organizational psychology but is uncertain about his future career path. His hobbies are photography, learning new languages, and community service.

Giovana Mete is planning to major in Psychology as well as Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Spanish. Beyond college, she plans to get a Masters degree in Psychology. Outside of her studies, Giovana enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing lacrosse, and being outdoors. 

Pranav Pamidighantam is currently  pursuing degrees in computer science/statistics and psychology and completing a research project with the MASC Lab on the roles of skill and desire in perception of recklessness. After graduating he plans to attend graduate school and work toward a doctoral degree in statistics or quantitative psychology. In addition to his studies, Pranav is currently employed at Schomer and Associates, Inc., an acoustical engineering and noise control consulting firm.

Isabella Portelli is majoring in psychology and plans to pursue a graduate degree in the field, but is exploring different concentrations. She is a James Scholar and is active in a variety of volunteer and social organizations on campus. Her interests include spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, and dancing!

Duoduo Qi is a double-major in Psychology and Economics, with a Business minor. She plans to get a Masters degree in either Social Psychology or Business Analytics. Beyond studies, she enjoys cooking, watching movies and spending time with family. 

Past MASC Lab Members

Kiley Breen is currently majoring in psychology with a minor in leadership, communication, and philosophy. After graduating, she plans to go to graduate school to obtain a PhD in psychology. Kiley is interested in consciousness, theory of mind, and cognitive neuroscience.

Alyssa Castronovo graduated in 2018 with a double-major in psychology and political science. Recently, she worked as a congressional intern and is now in the process of applying to law schools. Best of luck Alyssa!

Jose Gonzalez was a research assistant from 2016-2018 and is currently pursuing a goal of getting research experience in neuroscience.

Lucy Park was a research assistant from 2016 to 2017 and is a recent graduate of UIUC.

Leslie Pardo graduated in the winter of 2018 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations.

Priyanka Patel graduated in the spring of 2018 and is currently pursuing a career in medicine.

Jessica Resnick graduated in 2017 with a major in Psychology (Social/Personality Psychology concentration) and a minor in Communication. She is now pursuing a career in counseling.

Emma Schwartz is majoring in psychology and has a variety of research interests. Her eventual goal is to get a PhD in social or I/O psychology. Sadly, Emma had to leave the lab after Fall 2019 because she is extremely busy with a number of commitments.

Aboorva Sivasankaran graduated in Spring of 2019 with a degree in psychology and as a LAS James Honors Scholar. Her current mid-range plan is to teach English in Korea for a few years before deciding on her next step.

Saheli Sheth is majoring in Psychology and Business Management and was with the MASC lab for 2.5 years (since her 2nd semester at UIUC). Saheli has been a workshop facilitator for the Illinois Leadership Center and as a dancer on two dance teams. Lately, she has been working as a paraprofessional with the counseling center.

Jessica Vega graduated in the spring of 2018 and is currently working for Teach for America. Congratulations on getting this excellent job!

Carol (Yi) Zhou was a research assistant from 2016 to 2107, and is a recent graduate from UIUC.

Lab Pizza Party Photos

End of Semester Pizza Party (May 2019)

End of Semester Pizza Party (May 2018)

End of Semester Pizza Party (May 2017)