Texas Tech University

Human Development and Family Studies

SMITTEN Lab

Studying Maturation, Interpersonal Transitions, Theory, and Emotions in Newlyweds

SMITTEN Lab Faculty Director

Sylvia Niehuis, Ph.D.

Sylvia Niehuis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 303
806-834-7382
sylvia.niehuis@ttu.edu
Faculty webpage

Research Interests: My program of research focuses on the development of premarital relationships within various ecological contexts, such as family, peer groups, and culture. I explore whether and how couples' courtship experiences bear upon their subsequent marital relationship, using dyadic, longitudinal data. For example, I have examined how various premarital events (such as pregnancy) and courtship experiences (such as cohabitation) influence the likelihood and timing of marital disruption. I have also studied interpersonal psychological processes that move couples toward marriage and, in particular, the interplay between those dyadic processes and long-term marital outcomes. For instance, I have looked at how individuals build up overly favorable perceptions of their partners' qualities and how disillusionment may later emerge as perceivers' lofty impressions of their partners succumb to the more realistic, less glamorous daily experiences of ongoing relationships. Currently, I study romantic disillusionment and brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Faculty Lab Affiliates

Tyler Davis

Tyler Davis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Psychology
Psychology Building 308
806-834-4854
tyler.h.davis@ttu.edu
Faculty webpage

Research Interests: Using a multi-disciplinary approach, from behavioral research to computational modeling and fMRI, to study how people form and represent categories; includes informing basic scientific theory in categorization and topics in health and clinical psychology.

Molly Ireland, Ph.D.

Molly Ireland, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Psychology
Psychology Building 452F
806-834-8218
molly.ireland@ttu.edu
Faculty webpage

Research Interests: How natural language relates to health, personality, and social behavior in three broad contexts: conversations, individual language use, literature; computerized text analysis, typically Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC).

Michael O'Boyle

Michael O'Boyle, Ph.D.

Professor, Associate Dean for Research
Dept. of Human Development & Family  Studies                                        Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Neroscience, Health Sciences Center
Human Sciences 101B
806-834-8590
michael.oboyle@ttu.edu
Faculty webpage

Research Interests: Using behavioral measures and neuroimaging techniques to study how cognitive models of higher order mental processes like perception, memory, and language relate to the underlying structures and neural circuitry of the developing as well as the mature human brain.

Alan Reifman, Ph.D.

Alan Reifman, Ph.D.

Professor
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 509
806-834-5174
alan.reifman@ttu.edu
Faculty webpage

Research Interests: Adolescent and young adult drinking; emerging adulthood; social networks; peer/parent influences; structural equation modeling; meta-analysis.

Dana Weiser, Ph.D.

Dana Weiser, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 507J
806- 834-4912
dana.weiser@ttu.edu
Faculty webpage

Research Interests: How prior family experiences relate to individuals' romantic relationship outcomes and qualities (e.g., intergenerational patterns of infidelity behavior; communication and forgiveness following infidelity); self-efficacy development, and sexual health policies.

Graduate Research Assistants

Rebecca Oldham, M.S.

Rebecca Oldham, M.S.

SMITTEN Lab Project Manager
Graduate Part-time Instructor
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 302 & 303
806-834-6489
rebecca.oldham@ttu.edu
Rebecca's HDFS Graduate Student Profile

Research Interests: Sexual behavior in romantic relationships; romantic relationship development, courtship predictors of marital success; gender and sexuality; sexual assault; dyadic analysis.

Mohsen Fouladi, M.S.

Mohsen Fouladi, M.S.

Graduate Research Assistant
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 302
mohsen.fouladi@ttu.edu
Mohsen's HDFS Graduate Student Profile

Research Interests: existential crisis in emerging adulthood, learned helplessness, system theory in family studies, cohabitation, domestic violence, shared reality in romantic couples

Kareem Al-Khalil

Kareem Al-Khalil

Graduate Student Affiliate Researcher
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 302
kareem.al-khalil@ttu.edu                                                                                    Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

Research Interests: The relationship between brain connectivity and higher cognitive functioning. Of particular interests are populations with notably greater and less connectivity than average children which, respectively, underlies precocious intellectual abilities (math-giftedness) and cognitive deficits (Autism Spectrum Disorders).

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Toni Mendez

Tony Mendez

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Major: Human Development and Family Studies
toni.mendez@ttu.edu

Brittany Kingston

Brittany Kingston

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Major: Human Development and Family Studies
brittany.kingston@ttu.edu

Caitlyn Morgan

Caitlyn Morgan

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Major: Psychology
melaine.morgan@ttu.edu

Maya Takano

Maya Takano

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Major: Nutritional Science, Pre-professional Health
maya.takano@ttu.edu

Lorena Posadas

Lorena Posadas

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Major: Community, Family, and Addiction Services
lorena.posadas@ttu.edu

Student Lab Alumni

Former Graduate Research Assistants

Dan Fang

Dan Fang, Ph.D.

Graduate Student Affiliate Researcher
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 302
dan.fang@ttu.edu
Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

Research Interests: Decision-making, executive function, to emotion regulation among young children.

Shu Yuan, M.S.

Shu Yuan, M.S.

Doctoral Candidate
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
Human Sciences 302
shu.yuan@ttu.edu
Shu's HDFS Graduate Student Profile

Research Interests: attachment, family violence, intergenerational transmission of divorce.

Samantha Yianitsas, B.S.

Samantha Yianitsas, B.S.

Law Student, University of Kansas
samantha.yianitsas@ttu.edu

Research Interests: sexuality and gender.

Hannah Baird, M.S.

Hannah Baird, M.S.

Doctoral Student
Graduate Assistant
Graduate Part-time Instructor
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
806-834-8913
h.baird@ttu.edu

Research Interests: romantic partner support in health and nutritional practices.

Tim Oblad, M.S.

Tim Oblad, M.S.

Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University – Kingsville
tim.oblad@ttu.edu

Research Interests: cyber bullying.

Andrea Swenson, M.S.

Andrea Swenson, M.S.

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies
University of Wisconsin – Stout

Research Interests: how couples who work together manage work and family boundaries.

Kyunghee Lee, Ph.D.

Kyunghee Lee, Ph.D.

Former SMITTEN Lab Project Manager
Research Associate/Project Manager at Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence
Purdue University

Former Undergraduate Research Assistants

Kayla Barron

Kayla Barron

Current Occupation: Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate student, Cameron University
kayla.barron@ttu.edu

Alyssa Bergman

Alyssa Bergman

Current Occupation: Service Coordinator, StarCare Specialty Health System
Major: Human Development & Family Studies
alyssa.bergman@ttu.edu

Orlando Parrales

Orlando Parrales

Current Occupation: Social Work Graduate Student, Columbia University
Major: Social Work
orlando.parrales@ttu.edu

Clara Eggleston

Claire Eggleston

Current Occupation: Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Student, Texas Tech University
Major: Human Development and Family Studies
claire.eggleston@ttu.edu

Sarah Schubert

Sarah Schubert

Current Occupation: Student in Nursing, Texas Tech University
Major: Human Development & Family Studies
sarah.schubert@ttu.edu

Cree Clay

Cree Clay

Current Occupation: Medical Student, University of Texas Medical Branch
Major: Psychology
cree.clay@ttu.edu

Kristen Ginste

Kristen Ginste

Current Occupation: Crisis Outreach Specialist, Starcare Specialty Health System
Major: Psychology
kristen.ginste@ttu.edu

Alara Ozpolat

Alara Ozpolat

Current Occupation: Clinical Psychology Graduate Student, Columbia University
Major: Psychology
alara.ozpolat@ttu.edu

John Dehn

John Dehn

Undergraduate Research Assistant
Major: Psychology
john.dehn@ttu.edu

Wendy Wood, B.S.

Wendy Wood, B.S.

Major: Human Development & Family Studies
Research Interests: romantic partners' personality perception.

Jared Sorbello, B.S.

Jared Sorbello, B.S.

Current Occupation: Nabors Drilling
Major: Human Development & Family Studies

Kevin Strickland, B.S.

Kevin Strickland, B.S.

Current Occupation: Audiology Graduate Student, Texas Tech University
TTU Pre-professional Health Careers

Human Development and Family Studies