Kevin Ochsner, Ph.D.  [google scholar profile] Email

Kevin received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Masters degree and Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University. He has also received postdoctoral training in social psychology at Harvard and functional neuroimaging at Stanford University.

He currently is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. Kevin's research interests include the psychological and neural processes involved in emotion, self-control, and person perception. All of his work employs a social cognitive neuroscience approach that seeks to integrate the theories and methods of social psychology on the one hand, and cognitive neuroscience on the other.

Kevin is a recipient of the Young Investigator Award from The Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Columbia University’s Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award, and the APA Division 3 New Investigator Award. In 2010 Kevin was identified as 27th most cited Social Psychologist of all time, corrected for stage of career, in an article on citation impact by Nosek et al. published in PSPB.  In 2008 Kevin was identified as the most cited Assistant Professor in Social Psychology in an article published in SPSP’s Diologue.

Along with Sarah Wolley, Kevin is Co-Director of the Psychology Undergraduate Honor’s Program.  His teaching includes seminars on social cognitive neuroscience as well as a lecture course on experimental psychological methods for studying emotion and social cognition.

Interview with Pearson publishers about the origins of Dr. Ochsner’s interest in Psychology and the work in the SCN Lab. Recorded at APS 2007. (Scroll to right for interview).

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Laura Martin
Laura is interested in the influence of emotion regulation on behavior. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 2011. Her dissertation work with Mauricio Delgado examined the effect of emotion regulation on financial risk-taking and neural reward processing. Her current research involves exploring the neural mechanism of implicit emotion regulation and comparing explicit and implicit regulation. Prior to her graduate training, Laura worked with Jin Fan at Mount Sinai.

Dario Bombari
Dario received his Ph.D. from the University of Bern in 2010. His research interests range from face perception to empathy and emotions. His current projects focus on the role of visual strategies during empathic judgments and emotion regulation tasks.

Graduate Students

Bryan Denny
Bryan is a fifth year graduate student interested in the temporal dynamics of emotion regulation and also explores how emotion regulation can be improved in people suffering from borderline personality disorder or major depression. In addition, he is interested in social cognition more generally and the role that medial prefrontal cortex plays in attributions about self and others. Prior to coming to Columbia he worked as a research assistant with Todd Heatherton at Dartmouth College.  After graduating this Spring he will be a post-doctoral fellow with Harold Koenigsberg at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

Jennifer Silvers
Jen got her BA from the University of Virginia in 2005, and she is now a fifth year graduate student whose research primarily uses multiple approaches (e.g., behavioral paradigms, fMRI) to examine what factors enhance and diminish effect emotion regulation. Her main focus is the developmental trajectory of emotional reactivity and regulation, as well as how emotion regulation work may be applied to at-risk groups and individuals with psychopathology (e.g., BPD patients). Prior to coming to Columbia, she worked as a research assistant with Alex Martin at NIMH.

Elina Kanellopoulou
Elina is a fourth year graduate student interested in understanding and facilitating effective self-regulation towards the successful pursuit of one's goals. She is currently exploring the utility and affective impact of employing different mindsets and cognitive strategies in the context of health choices. She is also interested in the relationship between existential awareness and authenticity in decision-making. Elina obtained a BA and Masters degree on Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford, UK. She was born and raised in Athens, Greece.

Bruce Doré
Bruce is a third year graduate student interested in the regulation of positive emotion in health and psychopathology. Current projects investigate the cognitive and brain processes that underlie our ability to 'look on the bright side' in response to negative life experiences and the motivational factors that influence when and how we choose to regulate our emotions. He is also broadly interested in the relationship between lab-based and real-world measures of cognition, emotion, and behavior. Before coming to Columbia, Bruce worked with Linda Parker at the University of Guelph and Alan Kingstone at the University of British Columbia.

Noam Zerubavel
Noam is a second year graduate student interested in the self-regulation of behavior toward tempting stimuli, and how this is socially influenced. His research focuses on predicting real-world behavior and related health outcomes using psychological and neuroimaging paradigms in the lab. Prior to graduate school Noam researched causes of the precipitous increase in autism prevalence with the Understanding Autism group at Columbia University, led by Dr. Peter Bearman.

Seth Kallman
Seth is a first year graduate student interested in self-regulation of behavior and empathic accuracy. He received his B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester in 2009. Prior to joining the lab, Seth worked at the National Institute of Mental Health on a project studying food perception in lean and obese individuals with Drs. Alex Martin, Kevin Hall, and Kyle Simmons.

Rebecca Martin
Rebecca is a first year graduate student interested in how motivational states are influenced by social, cognitive, and emotional factors, and how these types of emotion-cognition interactions are represented in the brain. She received her B.A. in History from New York University, an M.A. in Teaching from UC Santa Cruz, and an M.Ed. in Mind, Brain, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining the lab, Rebecca worked in John Gabrieli's lab at MIT on executive functioning and memory development imaging studies.

Jenny Porter
Jenny is a first year graduate student interested in the social, cognitive, and developmental factors and perceptual cues that impact empathic accuracy in adults and adolescents. She is currently working on a task to investigate the relationship between introspective ability for one's own emotions and empathic accuracy for others' emotions. She received her B.S. in Brain, Behavior & Cognitive Sciences from the University of Michigan in 2008, and has since worked with Alex Todorov at Princeton University and with Lisa Feldman Barrett at Northeastern University.

Research Assistants

Jocelyn Shu
Jocelyn is the lab manager and a research assistant working primarily on studies that investigate emotion regulation in adolescents and patients with borderline personality disorder. She has also been working on a project that is exploring the neural regions underlying emotional awareness. Prior to being at this lab, she received a B.F.A. in Painting through a joint program with the University of San Francisco and the California College of the Arts. She began studying psychology as a postbaccalaureate student at Columbia University.

Katie Insel
Katie graduated from Columbia in 2010 with a BA in psychology. Her work focuses on the developmental trajectory of appetitive and aversive emotion regulation in children and adolescents.

Jochen Weber
Jochen is a senior imaging data analyst.  He brings his all-around elfin magic and special expertise in mathematics, programming and prior work experience at BrainVoyager to the SCN Lab to assist with data analysis and visualization.

Alumni   (more recent departures listed first)

Richard Lopez
Rich was a research assistant from 2009-2011 after receiving his BA in psychology from Princeton University, where he worked in the lab of Alex Todorov. He studied craving regulation in cigarette smokers and methamphetamine users. He currently is a PhD candidate at Dartmouth College in the lab of Todd Heatherton.

Ajay Satpute
Ajay received his PhD from UCLA in 2008, and is now working as a research scientist in the lab of Lisa Feldmann-Barrett. He has interests in the neural bases of social cognition, emotion and learning and in developing new analytic and computational methods to study their interactions.

Jamil Zaki
Jamil got his PhD from Columbia University in 2010, and is now a postdoctoral fellow working with Jason Mitchell at the Harvard Center for Brain Science. His research focuses on the cognitive and neural bases of social behavior, particularly w.r.t. empathy and empathic accuracy, social influence, and altruism. In Fall 2012, Jamil will be taking an Assistant Professor position at Stanford University.

Chukwudi Onyemekwu
Chuk was a research assistant from 2009-2010 and is now working at the Substance Treatment and Research Service (S.T.A.R.S) at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he investigates the role of stress sensitivity in perpetuating cocaine use after abstinence. He is currently applying to med school for the 2012 matriculation period.

Hedy Kober
Hedy received her PhD from Columbia University in 2009 and was a post-doc for one year and now is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University. She continues to collaborate on projects examining the regulation of appetitive desires in healthy adults and in substance abusers as well as meta-analyses of the neural systems underlying social cognition and emotion regulation.

Katherine Remy
Katherine was a research assistant and graduate of Columbia with a BA in Psychology who won the prestigious Jennifer A Pack Prize. She worked on studies of craving regulation in substance abusing populations, and emotion regulation in borderline personality disorder and children.  She now resides in Norway.

Kim Montgomery
Kim was a post-doctoral fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program.  She has interests in the neural bases of social cognition, the mirror system, perspective taking, interpersonal relationships and health.  She is currently working on a project that examines their inter-relationships.  She is currently a public policy Fellow in Washington DC.

Peter Mende-Siedlecki
Peter was a research assistant from 2007-200 after receiving his BA from Columbia. He worked on studies of emotion regulation, pain regulation, and their relationship to addiction.  He Currently is a graduate student in Psychology at Princeton University.

Ethan Kross
Ethan was a post-doctoral fellow from 2007-2008 and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan.  He is an on-going collaborator on projects examining the use of different forms of cognitive construal (e.g. those involve accepting as opposed to reinterpreting the meaning of stimuli) to regulate emotion.

Josh Davis
Josh received his PhD in Spring 2008 and is now a Term Assistant Professor at Barnard college.  He continues collaborative work on projects examining the role of the body (i.e. somatic and behavioral expression) in emotion and emotion regulation.  Josh has broad interests in the nature of psychological theories, and theory-building more generally.

Andreas Olsson
Andreas was a post-doc from 2005-2007 and is now an Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He is an-going collaborator on projects examining the behavioral and neural mechanisms mediating emotions in social contexts, including the ways in which cognitive goals and strategies can affect the emotional processes involved in the perception of, and learning from, others.

Brent Hughes
Brent was the SCAN Unit lab manager and a research assistant working on projects examining the neural bases of emotion regulation and pain.  Brent was a U. of Michigan undergrad and after graduating, managed the lab of Dr. Steve Taylor.  Brent is now a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Matthew Davidson
Matthew was the SCAN Unit systems administrator, go-to person for computing and programming needs, and fMRI data analyst.  Matt has a sardonic wit and the most complete collection of politically savvy t-shirts this side of the Hudson.  He is now a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at Columbia working with Hakwan Lau.

Sonja Schmer-Galunder
Sonja was the SCAN Unit lab manager, and in that role worked on various projects related to stress and cognition and emotion regulation.  She has a master’s degree in sociology and was the manager for the Davachi Lab at NYU prior to moving uptown.


Lisa Feldmann-Barrett, Ph.D. website
Jennifer Bartz, Ph.D. website
Jennifer Beer, Ph.D.
Niall Bolger, Ph.D.
B.J. Casey, Ph.D.
Joan Chiao, Ph.D. website
Geraldine Downey, Ph.D.
Michael Green, Ph.D.
John Gabrieli, Ph.D.
James Gross, Ph.D. website
Hedy Kober, Ph.D. website
Harold Koenigsberg, M.D. website
John Mann, M.D. website
Walter Mischel, Ph.D. website
Barbara Stanley, Ph.D. website
Tor Wager, Ph.D. website












Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Department of Psychology
Columbia University

1190 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027