Faculty Research Labs

There are numerous opportunities for students to get involved in research on campus. Undergraduate and graduate CSUDH students who are interested in becoming a research assistant should contact faculty with labs. Students may earn up to 3 units of credit per semester for directed research through individual lab (PSY 498 for undergraduate, PSY 598 for graduate).

Giacomo Bono

Dr. Giacomo Bono

Associate Professor
Phone: 310-243-3511
Office: SBS G-307
Lab: SBS A-313

Areas of Research

General research focus is on how qualities of social relationships contribute to mental health, quality of life, and social development. As director of the Youth Gratitude Project (a research program that has received approx. $2.5 million in grant funding since 2011), Dr. Bono’s current focus is on creating 2 measures of gratitude for children, examining the development of gratitude, and testing the effects of promoting gratitude and purpose on students through a curriculum targeting preschools and grades 4-12. Dr. Bono is also interested in exploring the topics of positive parenting and other factors related to positive youth development and achievement, such as materialism, intrinsic motivation, and quality of social relationships, resilience and grit. Therefore, research is both basic and applied.

Heather Butler

Dr. Heather Butler 

Associate Professor
Phone: 310-243-3462
Office SBS G-303
Lab: SBS A-240

Areas of Research

Research interests include human cognition, critical thinking, and psychology-law. Dr. Butler’s previous work focused on the development an educational game that teaches scientific reasoning. She also does evaluation research aimed at assessing critical thinking and helping students prepare for life after college. Dr. Butler’s work in psychology-law has emphasized the prevention of wrongful convictions, especially those resulting from improper or un-validated forensic evidence. For more information, please visit www.drheatherbutler.com

Dr. Kaylie Carbine

Assistant Professor
Phone: 310-243-2235
Office: SBS A-335
Lab: SBS B-241i

Areas of Research

Using electroencephalography (EEG) to examine brain/neural responses to food. Research is mainly focused on testing how neural responses to food: 1) are affected by nutritional properties of food (e.g., calorie content, sugar content); 2) are affected by individual characteristics (e.g., weight, eating tendencies); 3) are affected by external health behaviors (e.g., exercise, sleep, diet); and 4) predict food intake/eating behaviors.

Dr. Erica D. Diminich

Assistant Professor
Phone: 310-243-3499
Office: SBS A-325
Lab: SBS A-326

Areas of Research

Social inequalities, brain health and aging; Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRDs); Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); Cognitive and biological aging; Resilience; Plasma biomarkers of cardiometabolic health; Emotional well-being; Blood based biomarkers for early detection of ADRDs; Health disparities

Current projects include 1) Community based research on immigration and racism as determinants of brain health among Hispanic/Latino adults at midlife; 2) Associations between health disparities, blood based biomarkers of brain health and cognitive performance; 3) Consequences of neurotoxic exposures and chronic post traumatic stress on physical aging, brain health and cognitive performance among World Trade Center Responders, 4) Neurological effects of COVID-19 5) Social inequalities, brain health and aging

Website and research opportunities coming soon!


Dr. Maria Hurtado-Ortiz 

Phone: 310-243-3508
Office: SBS A-331
Lab: SBS E-206

Areas of Research

Areas of research include cultural and developmental influences on adolescents’ college planning behaviors, mothers’ childcare practices, and ethnic health psychology. Dr. Hurtado is currently the co-Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Health funded project concerning Latinos at risk for Type-2 diabetes.


Dr. Ashley Membere

Assistant Professor
Phone: 310-243-3572
Office: SBS G-310
Lab: SBS A-317

Areas of Research

Research interests include the study of diversity and inclusion in the workplace with an emphasis on how individuals with multiple identities navigate the workplace, creation of interventions meant to promote inclusive and safe work environments, and employee well-being.

Erin Merz

Dr. Erin Merz

Associate Professor
Phone: 310-243-3512
Office: SBS A-333
Lab: SBS A-319

Areas of Research

Research interests include: psychological adjustment, coping, and quality of life in the context of health-related adversity and chronic illness; social and cultural determinants of health; the operationalization and measurement of psychosocial constructs related to health across language and culture.
For more information, please visit: http://www2.csudh.edu/emerz/welcome.html


Dr. Kevin Montes

Associate Professor
Phone: 310-243-2299
Office: SBS G-311
Lab: SBS A-240

Areas of Research

Research interests include the examination of factors associated with addictive behaviors. Factors specifically targeted in Dr. Montes’ research program include the role that identity, expectancies, motives, social norms, and negative affect pay in the initiation, maintenance, and cessation of addictive behaviors. Addictive behaviors of interest include alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use (in addition to gambling). Dr. Montes’ program of research aims to develop more efficacious interventions to reduce the risks associated with substance use and behavior addictions.


Are you interested in joining the Psychology of Addiction Lab (PAL)? Please fill out the PAL Application by clicking the link below. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis



Dr. Keisha Paxton 

Phone: 310-243-3411
Office: SBS A-330
Lab: SBS B-232B

Areas of Research

Research interests include sexual risk behavior among African American youth and women, health promotion intervention development, minority and women’s mental health.

Silvia Santos

Dr. Silvia Santos

Phone: 310-243-3475
Office: SBS A-341
Lab: SBS E-206

Areas of Research

Research interests include the study of health (physiological and psychological) and culture as well as issues related to ethnic identity and psychological and academic adjustments. Dr. Santos is currently the co-Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Health funded project concerning Latinos at risk for Type-2 diabetes.

Dr. Carl Sneed

Phone: 310-243-3463
Office: SBS A-329
Lab: SBS B-232E

Areas of Research

Work in adolescent health behavior
Mental health for child and adolescent populations

Irene Tung

Dr. Irene Tung 

Assistant Professor
Phone: 310-243-2742
Office: SBS G-309
Lab: SBS A-326

Areas of Research

Developmental psychopathology; Prenatal stress; Early life stress; Resilience; Child and adolescent mental health; Emotional reactivity; Externalizing-spectrum behaviors; Early prevention

For more information, please visit our lab website: www.perchresearch.org

Tara Victor

Dr. Tara Victor 

Phone: 310-243-3467
Office: SBS G-305
Lab: SBS B-232C

Areas of Research

Multicultural neuropsychology; The development and use of performance validity indicators; Impact of early life experiences on neurocognitive development and emotion regulation.

Over the past 10+ years, Dr. Victor’s research has focused on the detection of performance and symptom invalidity, populations vulnerable to false positive error (e.g., individuals with low IQ, dementia, other bonafide disability), as well as ethnocultural bias in neuropsychological assessment. Current interests also include the neurophysiology of trauma and dissociation and trauma-induced psychological disorder. Other areas of research include: the utility of mindful awareness practices in educational settings and organizational development.

To learn more about her Brain and Behavior Laboratory or to apply to become a research assistant in the lab, please fill out an application.


Dr. Philip Viera

Associate Professor
Phone: 310-243-3271
Office: SBS A-341
Lab: NSM C101

Areas of Research

Research projects include drug biosensor development for use in the central nervous system; individual difference in drug pharmacokinetics; sex-related differences in drug reward preference; epigenetics of drug addiction.

Any students interested in becoming a research assistant in the lab can fill out an application here (https://forms.gle/ZuBQyCWXUTRh3B5m7)

Dr. David Weissman (Starting Spring 2024)

Assistant Professor 
Phone: TBA
Office: TBA
Lab: TBA

Areas of Research

Developmental psychopathology; Developmental cognitive neuroscience; Childhood Adversity; Resilience; Child and adolescent mental health; Emotional awareness; Emotion regulation; Interoception

I am developmental psychologist and will be starting as Psychology faculty at in Spring 2024. My research investigates how adverse childhood experiences like abuse, neglect, and poverty impact the way teenagers experience emotions in their brains, bodies, and minds, and the role that plays in their mental health.

Any students interested in becoming a research assistant in the lab can fill out an interest form here: https://forms.gle/xDdGEJSanMsp3eNq7

Positive Psychology Lab

Co-Directors: Steven Frieze, M.A., Monique Turner, M.A., Erin Barrett, M.A.
Email: PositivePsychologyCSUDH@gmail.com
Phone: 310-243-2090
Lab: SBS A-315

Areas of Research

This lab is designed to encourage the personal and professional growth and development of all members through a variety of activities that are guided by the co-directors and senior members of the lab.  Members will be encouraged to explore and seek out professional growth opportunities, as well as to develop research competencies that will enable them to thrive in graduate school.

Lab projects delve into Positive Psychological research constructs such as resilience, thriving, gratitude, curiosity, perception and learning, value orientations, positive emotions, positive self-fulfilling prophecies, optimism, personal narrative, and the application of Positive Psychological constructs to elements of the social topography.  

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/positivepsychologylab/home

Application: https://forms.gle/m1cAngQ5eKVvtUiP9