Current Lab Staff

Current Lab Staff

Kirsten Lesage

Kirsten is a fifth year doctoral candidate in the Developmental area of the Psychology Department at UCR. Her research interests focus on (1) the cultural evolution of how causal explanatory systems are transmitted (vertical and oblique), such as language, testimony, social learning, and rituals, (2) the emergence of explanatory worldviews in early childhood (folk, scientific, religious, supernatural), and (3) the role of the sociocultural context in the development of religious cognition and beliefs (e.g., concepts of God, prayer, supernatural causality). Presently, she is working on three main projects: (1) her dissertation examining parents’ and children’s causal explanations for biological problems across cultures (USA, Colombia, Mauritius) (project title: “Explanatory Systems”), (2) a longitudinal study in the lab examining children’s conceptions of prayer, supernatural beings, and causal mechanisms (project title: “Development of Religious Cognition”), and (3) a collaborative study with Dr. Dimitris Xygalatas and Dr. Aiyana Willard on how participation in magic or religious rituals relate to (dis)trust and blame attribution in communities in Mauritius. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Northwestern College and an M.A. in Psychology from UCR.

office: Psychology Building 2129
email: kirsten.lesage@email.ucr.edu
website: www.kirstenlesage.com
Curriculum Vitae

Alisha Conover

Ali is a first-year graduate student in the Developmental area of the Psychology Department at UCR. Her research interests include children’s understanding of religious concepts across multiple religious affiliations and the role of religious rituals as an emotion-regulation strategy. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach.

office: Psychology Building 2129
email: alisha.conover@email.ucr.edu

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 Current Research Assistants

Khwaja Sohaib Ahmad

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Mithila Ayshee Dastider

Class of 2019
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Jiselle de Anda

Class of 2019
Department of Psychology (Minor: Business Administration)
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Elizabeth Desantiago

Class of 2020
Department of Chemistry
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Roxanna Diaz

Class of 2021
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Francisca Elizarraraz

Class of 2021
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Saba Faridi

Class of 2019
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Jessica Garcia

Class of 2019
Departments of Psychology and Education
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Merna Hanna

Class of 2019
Departments of Biology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Paloma Iñiguez

Class of 2019
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition & Explanatory Systems

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Vedika Iyer

Class of 2020
Department of Neuroscience
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Jennifer Lopez

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Ashley Marin

Class of 2021
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Sarah Panameno

Class of 2021
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Maria Cristina Peña

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology (Minor: Political Science)
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Amahyrani Pina

Class of 2021
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Laura Posada

Class of 2017 (University of California, Riverside); B.A in Psychology
Paid Field Researcher for Explanatory Systems in Medellin, Colombia (August 2018 – June 2019);
Paid Research Assistant for Development of Religious Cognition (May 2018 – August 2018)
Undergraduate Research Assistant for Development of Religious Cognition (2015 – 2017)

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Cassandra Rios

Class of 2021
Department of Business (Minor: Accounting)
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Sipriana Rodela

Class of 2021
Department of Biochemistry
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Mayra Rosas

Class of 2019
Departments of Psychology and Education
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Mayra Itzel Salas

Class of 2021
Departments of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Susan Soudchantho

Class of 2019
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Graciela Trujillo

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology (Minor: LGBTQ Studies)
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Tracy Vargas

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

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Emily Weddle

Class of 2019
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

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Tekeyah Whitworth

Class of 2019
Department of Psychology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition