Skip to content Skip to navigation

PEOPLE

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

ALIA CRUM

Alia J. Crum, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and the Principle Investigator of the Stanford Mind & Body Lab. She received her PhD from Yale University and BA degree from Harvard University. Dr. Crum’s research focuses on how changes in subjective mindsets—the core assumptions we make about things and processes in the world—can alter objective reality through behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms. Her work is, in part, inspired by research on the placebo effect, a robust demonstration of the ability of mindsets to elicit healing properties in the body. She is interested in understanding how mindsets affect important outcomes both within and beyond the realm of medicine, in domains such as exercise, diet, and stress. Moreover, Dr. Crum’s research aims to understand how mindsets can be consciously and deliberately changed through intervention to affect physiological and psychological well-being. To date, her research has won several awards including the NIH New Innovator Award and the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star Award. She is also the recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award and the Dean’s Award for First Years of Teaching at Stanford University. In addition to her academic research and teaching, Dr. Crum has worked as a clinical psychologist for the VA healthcare system and has created, delivered, and evaluated interventions focused on mindset change for organizations including LinkedIn, UBS, Stanford Healthcare, and the United States Navy.  

CV


LAB MANAGER

JESSE BARRERA

Jesse is the lab manager at MBL. He previously received a BA in Philosophy from Harvard University, where he wrote a senior thesis exploring how psychological and neurobiological research should inform philosophical theories of well-being. Jesse is interested in how wise interventions delivered in schools can promote purpose, health, and well-being among adolescents. In his free time, Jesse enjoys swing dancing, watching professional sports, and hunting for buried treasure.

POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLARS

PARKER GOYER

Parker Goyer is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Stanford. In addition to Alia Crum, she also works with Greg Walton and Geoff Cohen, and with Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania. She has considerable experience in survey design and in multilevel cross-sectional and longitudinal modeling, having studied under a renowned statistics expert, John Willett, at Harvard, where she received her doctorate in 2014. From 2009-2011 she was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, where she received an MSc in Comparative and International Education and an MBA. In 2007 she founded a program called Coach for College which uses sports-learning service camps run by U.S. college athletes in conjunction with Vietnamese college students, to improve educational outcomes for rural adolescents in Vietnam. To date, the program has served more than 4000 youth and 350 U.S. college athletes from 39 universities. In addition to serving as the program's director, she led a randomized trial of the program, involving more than 700 students in each of two provinces of Vietnam. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Duke University in 2007, where she was also a member of the women's tennis team.

LAUREN HEATHCOTE

Lauren Heathcote is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Stanford Medical School. She is a member of the Biobehavioral Pediatric Pain Lab (PI: Laura Simons) and the Mind and Body Lab. Originally from the UK, she received her PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford in 2016. Her research bridges experimental health psychology and medical science with the aim of developing novel methods for understanding and harnessing adaptive mindsets about the body in adolescent health. She is particularly interested in the interpretation of physical symptoms as signals of bodily threat, and the consequences of these interpretations on behavior and physiology. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys exploring California and the U.S., bachata dancing, and finding the best coffee in San Francisco.

BRAD TURNWALD

Brad Turnwald is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Stanford. He earned his PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford in 2019, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Regina Casper Stanford Graduate Fellow. He studies the sociocultural forces that shape individuals’ health beliefs and uses those insights to inform strategies that encourage healthy behaviors. He explores these questions in the context of healthy eating and health risk communication. For example, why do many people believe that healthy foods are unappealing, and can we counteract such beliefs to increase healthy choices? Does receiving personalized genetic information actually motivate healthy behaviors, and what are the psychological, behavioral, and physiological consequences of learning one’s risk? Brad uses diverse methods to answer these questions, including analysis of naturally-occurring language (e.g,. restaurant menu language, social media), field experiments measuring human behavior in real-world dining settings, and experiments in clinical settings measuring physiological processes. Learn more about the research he and his colleagues are doing.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Danielle Boles

DANIELLE BOLES

Danielle received her BA in Psychology and Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on improving mindsets about diet and health, enhancing the experience of healthy eating, and measuring the power of such mindsets and experiences to influence behavior and physiology. In her spare time, Danielle enjoys learning oldies songs on the guitar and ukulele, working on 1000+ piece puzzles, and indulging in green smoothies, fried chicken, and donuts.

MELISSA BOSWELL

Melissa is a Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering. She received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Akron. Her work bridges the fields of biomechanics and psychology to understand not just how we move, but how we think about movement and our motivation for being physically active. Her current research focuses on improving the mindsets of people with osteoarthritis to be more beneficial for their health, wellbeing, and mobility. She enjoys living an active lifestyle - through running, hiking, yoga, and volleyball - hosting her podcast (Biomechanics On Our Minds), reading, and traveling.

KRISTOPHER EVANS

Kris received a BA in Sociology and Communications from Stanford. Fascinated by the ability of the mind-body mechanism, the study of people, and optimal performance he joined the lab to investigate and learn more. He is involved in a variety of organizations focused on researching, developing and empowering individuals by utilizing the power of the mind-body to enhance health, well-being, and performance. Outside of the lab, you might find Kris teaching Yoga, reflecting on the self, or playing League of Legends.
 

 


KARI LEIBOWITZ

Kari began her PhD in Social Psychology in 2015, and her research seeks to understand and optimize psychological and social forces in healthcare, with an emphasis on the doctor-patient relationship. Kari received her BA from Emory University in 2012 and served as the the Program Coordinator for the Emory-Tibet Partnership from 2012-2014. In this role she coordinated the visit of the Dalai Lama to Emory in 2013. Kari also spent a year as a U.S.-Norway Fulbright scholar studying wintertime mindset above the Arctic Circle in Tromsø, Norway. Her writing has been featured in The Conversation and The Atlantic. When she’s not in her office, you can find Kari in the pottery studio, reading fiction, or tending to her houseplants. You can read more about Kari's work on her personal website: www.karileibowitz.com

KENGTHSAGN LOUIS

Kengthsagn received her BA in Psychology from Skidmore College with a minor in Business. Her research broadly focuses on how different health mindsets and cultures impact people's health behaviors and physiology. Kengthsagn spends her spare time watching documentaries, dreaming about Caribbean cuisine, dancing, and now learning to draw.

ERIK SANTORO

Erik received a BA in Economics from Yale University, where he formed the discussion group The Examined Life and developed a love for deep introspection.   After working in the world of management consulting for two years at Bain & Co, Erik was excited to try his hand at mindset research and application as the inaugural MBL lab manager.  Erik is especially interested in understanding how to harness the power of beliefs to improve our everyday experiences and physiology.  In his free time, Erik enjoys reading science fiction and tech blogs, staying in touch with long-distance friends, exercising on the elliptical machine, and eating cookies.

OCTAVIA ZAHRT

Octavia is a PhD candidate in Organizational Behavior studying activity adequacy mindsets – people’s mindsets that their level of physical activity is adequate or inadequate, and thus beneficial or harmful to their health. Her research investigates how public health guidelines, social comparison with peers, and wearable fitness technologies shape these mindsets. Octavia holds a BA in European Social and Political Studies from University College London. In her free time, Octavia enjoys music, dancing, dabbling with art, exploring national parks and other new places. You can learn more about Octavia at her website: www.octaviazahrt.com.

SEAN ZION

Sean started his PhD in Social Psychology at Stanford in the fall of 2016. He is interested in how patients’ mindsets, beliefs, and expectations impact physical health, treatment outcomes, and well being. His current work focuses on understanding how mindsets about illness function in patients with chronic illness. Prior to joining MBL, Sean received a BS in Biomedical Sciences from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MA in Psychology from Boston University. He also spent two years working in clinical research at Harvard Medical School and teaching undergraduate psychology classes at BU. When he’s not in the lab, Sean enjoys traveling, kayaking, listening to audiobooks, and exploring California with his Australian Shepherd, Tucker.

HONORS THESIS STUDENTS

2019 - 2020

KATHRYN ANDERSON

Kathryn is a senior B.S. candidate in Human Biology who has been a research assistant in the lab since her sophomore year. She is interested in social determinants of health, particularly in the domain of dietary health. Kathryn is currently working on her honors thesis, which aims to quantify the nutritional content of foods and beverages depicted in celebrity Instagram posts. Outside of the lab, you can find her playing for Stanford’s varsity beach volleyball team, hiking, and volunteering with the Special Olympics.

MICHELLE CHANG

Michelle is a senior majoring in Psychology who has been a research assistant in the lab since her freshman year. Building upon a project she did last summer hosting community discussion spaces about death all across the U.S., she is now working on her honors thesis to understand the mindsets people have about death. She is particularly interested in expanding beyond Western narratives of death anxiety to incorporate the fuller spectrum of how death is viewed. Beyond the lab, Michelle organizes an art project with incarcerated artists, volunteers at a crisis hotline, and designs zines.

SHANNON RICHARDSON

Shannon is a senior B.S. candidate in Human Biology at Stanford. Starting as a research assistant in the Mind & Body Lab her freshman year, she was interested in how mindsets could shape physiological health outcomes. Now, Shannon is working on her honors thesis, which aims to understand the mindsets patients and physicians hold about pain and the body in the Emergency Department (ED). When she isn't in the lab, you'll likely find Shannon on the sand, playing for Stanford's varsity beach volleyball team. In her free time, she enjoys painting, reading, and volunteering in the ED at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

LAB ALUMNI

Postdocs

LAUREN HOWE (2017 - 2018) - Assistant Professor at University of Zurich

 

Graduate Students

ERIC SMITH (2014 - 2020) - Postdoc at University of Texas at Austin

BRAD TURNWALD (2014 - 2019) - Postdoc at Stanford University

LAUREN HOWE (2014 - 2017) - Assistant Professor at University of Zurich

 

Lab Managers

ERIK SANTORO (2014 - 2017)

ISAAC HANDLEY-MINER (2017 - 2020)

 

Research Coordinators

RINA HORII (2018 - 2020)

KRIS EVANS (2016 - 2020)

MAGGIE PERRY (2016 - 2019)

EMERSON HARDEBECK (2015 - 2018)

DANIELLE BOLES (2015 - 2017)

RACHEL HANEY (2015 - 2016)

 

Honors Thesis Students

MATTHEW BERNSTEIN (2018 - 2019)

ANGELA LEE (2018 - 2019)

TAYLOR DUARTE (2017 - 2018)

STEVE RATHJE (2017 - 2018)

RINA HORII (2017 - 2018)


PAST LAB PHOTOS

2018 LAB PHOTO

2017 LAB PHOTO

2016 LAB PHOTO

2015 lab photo