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

 

 

 

 Current Research Assistants

 

Khwaja Sohaib Ahmad

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

 

 

Timothy J. Baum

Class of 2018 (CSU, San Bernardino); B.A in Biological Psychology and B.A. in Biology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

 

 

 

Mithila Ayshee Dastider

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

 

 

 

Elizabeth Desantiago

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

 

 

 

Roxanna Diaz

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

 

 

 

 

Sonal Dyavarshetty

Class of 2021
Department of Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology
Project: Development of Religious Cognition

 

 

 

Francisca Elizarraraz

Class of 2021
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

 

 

 

Saba Faridi

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

 

 

 

Jessica Garcia

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

 

 

 

 

Paloma Iñiguez

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

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Lopez

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

 

 

 

Emily Nelson

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

 

 

 

 

Maria Cristina Peña

Class of 2020
Department of Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

 

 

 

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)

 

 

Alexia Ruiz

Class of 2018 (University of California, Riverside); B.A in Psychology, Minor in Art History
Undergraduate Research Assistant for Development of Religious Cognition (2017 – 2018)
Current Project: Explanatory Systems

 

 

 

Sipriana Rodela

Class of 2021
Department of Biochemistry and Psychology
Project: Explanatory Systems

 

 

 

Graciela Trujillo

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

 

 

 

Emily Weddle

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