Lab Director

Carolyn Parkinson, Ph.D.

[Web] [CV] [Email]

Carolyn studies how the human brain tracks and encodes information about its social environment, and how this information shapes our thoughts and behavior. She received her B.Sc. from McGill University in Montreal. After completing her B.Sc., Carolyn spent a year in China overseeing cross-cultural research on depression at Beijing University. She then completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College with Thalia Wheatley before becoming an Assistant Professor at UCLA in 2016.

Lab Manager

Ryan Hyon

Ryan graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience from Dartmouth College in 2017. There, he wrote his honors thesis on how motivational content, visuospatial perspective, and individual differences in empathy modulate representations of appetitive actions. He is interested in using neuroimaging and social network analysis to study how the brain represents friendship and human connection.


Meng Du


Meng graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in psychology and computer science. She is broadly interested in many aspects of social neuroscience, especially applying computational models and machine learning methods to understand how our brains process social experience and infer other people's minds.

Graduate Students


Miriam Weaverdyck

Miriam is a first year graduate student in the lab.  She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Mathematical Sciences from Bethel College, KS in 2013. After college, Miriam was the lab coordinator for the Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies at Rutgers University for a year and then spent two years as the lab manager of the Social Neuroscience Lab at Princeton University. Her most recent work has focused on neural representations of mental states in ourselves and others, while future work will investigate our understandings of social networks and their influences.


Kevin M. Tan

[Web] [Email]

Kevin studies the computational mechanisms subserved by the default mode network (DMN). Specifically, he is interested in how these mechanisms are co-opted by social and affective processes. Kevin's current projects include 1) investigating the impact of pre-stimulus DMN activity on socioaffective judgments via decoded neurofeedback, and 2) exploring the spatiotemporal dynamics of mentalizing via electrocorticography. Kevin received a B.S. in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon, where he worked in the labs of Greg Siegle and Michael Tarr. Currently, Kevin works with Matthew Lieberman and Carolyn Parkinson as a PhD student and NSF Research Fellow at UCLA.


If you're interested in joining the lab as a Ph.D. student next fall, please apply to the UCLA Ph.D. program by Dec. 1.



Pratishta Natarajan

Pratishta is a third-year undergraduate student currently pursuing her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. She is interested in gender role development in children and several aspects of social neuroscience. She aims to combine knowledge from social neuroscience with that from sociology, specifically social network analysis, to investigate the formation of social networks.

If you're interested in joining the lab as a research assistant, please complete this online application form.


Information for those interested in joining the lab as postdoctoral fellows can be found here.


Ruby Basyouni - Former Psychology Research Opportunity Programs (PROPS) undergraduate research assistant, now lab manager/research assistant in Dr. Maital Neta's Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Vanessa Castro - Former undergraduate honors student, now pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology at UC Berkeley in Dr. Serena Chen's Self, Identity, and Relationships Lab.

Fini Chang - Former undergraduate research assistant, now a research associate at the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at UCLA.

Mary Decker - Former lab manager, now pursuing her M.D. at Harvard Medical School.

Grace Gillespie - Former undergraduate research assistant, now a research associate at UCLA in Dr. Matthew Lieberman’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab.

Taylor Pio - Former undergraduate research assistant, now a research assistant at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Yuchen Li - Former undegraduate honors student, now pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Dr. Karl Szpunar’s Memory Lab.

Zeynep Gungor - Former undergraduate research assistant, now pursuing a M.Sc. in Organizational and Social Psychology at the London School of Economics.

Catherine Trinh - Former undergraduate research assistant.