Vivian Zayas


Research Focus

At the broadest level, I’m interested in the “relational mind.” How do we mentally represent the emotional complexity of our closest relationships? Why are we drawn towards some people and not others? How do we make inferences about our social standing from complex and dynamic social interactions? How do we regulate threats to our self-esteem?

Because people are not always aware of why they feel or act as they do, I use a variety of techniques, such as cognitive measures that tap into implicit and nonconscious processes; neural measures, such as electroencephalography and event related potentials (EEG/ERP), and functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) that assess brain structure and functioning; and self-reports and behavioral observation that simply ask people what they think and record what they do. 

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