Meet the Team

Principal Investigator

SHANA COLE, PhD | Principal Investigator

Shana is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University and director of the Regulation, Action, and Motivated Perception (RAMP) Lab. She received her PhD from New York University before joining the Rutgers faculty in 2014. Shana is interested in the underlying cognitive, perceptual, and affective processes that enable successful goal pursuit. She explores self-regulatory processes across multiple levels of analysis, including higher-order cognition, visual perception, and psychophysiology. Her research spans many goal domains to provide insight into the tools that enable people to mitigate threats, attain rewards, and resist temptations. 


PhD Students (Advisees)


Kristina's research explores perceptual and attentional routes to prejudice and discrimination, with an emphasis on bias towards stigmatized populations. She also explores perceptual biases in the way people view themselves. 

E-mail:  |  Curriculum Vita | Personal Website



Despite setting goals and being motivated to achieve them, most people experience goal-relevant setbacks. Janna’s research explores the automatic and deliberative processes that vary person-to-person and enable effective goal pursuit. She studies strategies that people can use to bolster motivation, minimize temptations, and get back on track after self-control failure. Currently, Janna’s work explores situational and social influences on perceptions of self-control failure, across a variety of domains, including diet, fitness, and academics.

E-mail:  |  Curriculum Vita

PhD Students (Affiliates)


Annie is interested in how dual identities are perceived and experienced in a society that largely views social categories as biological and thus distinct and static. Annie's current projects examine the unique social and health experiences of biracial and bicultural people, as well as various aspects of racial essentialism. In the RAMP lab, she explores how visual information influences our attribution of blame and shapes our social attitudes towards stigmatized groups. 

E-mail:  |  Curriculum Vita


KIM CHANEY, MS | PhD Student

Broadly, Kim's research explores strategies to confront and cope with prejudice and stigmatized identity threats by employing psychophysiological, affective, and behavioral methodologies. Within the RAMP lab, Kim's research explores perceptions of and attitudes towards collective action movements and stigmatized groups.

Email:  |  Curriculum Vita



Melanie's research generally focuses on unique and shared dimensions of stigma (e.g., controllability) and the interplay between stigma and close relationships. Her work so far has examined identity cues, relationships and stigma coping, and stigma management. In the RAMP lab, Melanie explores visual information used to distinguish people on the basis of sexual orientation, and the impact of attitudes and stereotypes on social categorizations.  

Email:  |  Curriculum Vita


Undergraduates with Independent projects


Darla Bonagura | Undergraduate Research Assistant, Honors Student

Darla Bonagura is a senior with a major in Psychology and a minor in Critical Sexuality Studies. Her research interests include stereotypes and prejudice based on gender identity, race, and sexuality. Darla also works in the Social Cognition Lab and the Emotion and Psychopathology Lab. She is completing an Honors Thesis on attitudes towards transgender individuals. Darla plans to pursue a PhD in Social Psychology, but is also interested in clinical sex therapy.

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BROOKE SCHLEYER | Undergraduate Research Assistant, Aresty Fellow, Cooper Fellow, Honors Student

Brooke is a senior majoring in psychology and criminal justice. With the RAMP Lab, she is currently completing an honors thesis related to shared goals and self-control failures. She was also involved in an Aresty project which focused on goal-centrality and self-control. Her main research interests focus on peoples' abilities to pursue goals and the connection between goal pursuit, personal identity, and the social context.

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JOSEPHINE KIM | Undergraduate Research Assistant, Aresty Fellow

Josephine holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication and will be graduating with her degree in psychology this Fall. Her research interests include self-perception, emotion regulation, and anxiety disorders. With the RAMP Lab, she is currently involved in an Aresty research project that is investigating the relationship between self-perception and goal pursuit. Josephine also works at the NYS Psychiatric Institute’s SURC Lab at Columbia University and will be pursuing her PhD in Clinical Psychology. 


Lab Alum

BROOKE SCHLEYER | Former Honors Student, Aresty & Cooper Fellow (currently a fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse)

SAMUEL KLEIN | Former Aresty & Cooper Fellow (currently a Clinical PhD student at the University of Minnesota)

KELLY LOVE | Former Research Assistant  (just graduated from the Masters program in I/O Psychology at Sacred Heart University)

PAMELA GOMEZ | Former Honors Student (currently a PhD student in the Rutgers-Newark Social Psychology Program)

SAMANTHA BRUNO | Former Aresty Student (currently pursuing a double certification in Special Ed and Elementary Ed at Rutgers University)

THOMAS BUCHENOT | Former Honors Student (currently a Residential Counselor at Carrier Clinic)

ANKITA HUCKOO | Former Rutgers Aresty Fellow (currently working in Human Resources for a luxury retail brand)

MONICA GALASSO | Former Rutgers Aresty Fellow (currently a Clinical Session Assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

ALESSA NATALE | Former Research Assistant (currently a PhD student in the CUNY I/O Psychology Program)

CAITLYN SMITH | Former Aresty & Cooper Fellow (currently a MS student in the Kean University Occupational Therapy Program)