Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology

Applied Social Psychology Faculty

Assistant Professor
My research focuses on gender/sex and sexual diversity. I am interested in developing new ways of thinking about both majority (e.g., cisgender, heterosexual) and minority (e.g., LGBTQ+) experiences to build more complete psychological theories of social identities and support the flourishing of people of all genders and sexualities. My work is interdisciplinary, taking inspiration from queer theory and trans studies, and multi-method (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups). The three major branches of my research program are:
  • The positive aspects of gender and LGBTQ+ life. My work in this area has included qualitative explorations of gender euphoria and what I’ve termed “gender pleasure” as a way to describe any positive experiences of gender (including majority experiences). I am also interested in other forms of queer and trans joy, connection, and thriving and how these relate to intersecting social identities and experiences (e.g., race/ethnicity and racism), as well as what they can teach us about how gender operates more broadly.
  • Methodological innovations to expand understandings of gender and sexuality. This has included using sexual configurations theory (van Anders, 2015) and developing the “Gender/Sex 3x3” (Beischel et al., 2022) with my doctoral advisor Dr. Sari van Anders. I am excited by creative and alternative tools for making sense of the complexities of people’s identities, behaviors, and orientations (e.g., visual, artistic, community-based). I am also interested in biological processes related to gender and sexuality, including hormones and markers of stress.
  • How people’s identities are shaped developmentally by their social experiences. Here I’m interested in the social regulation of gender—how people come to learn what gender is and how they fit into the gender system of their culture. This includes gender-based victimization, minority stress, and gender-affirming experiences. I’m interested especially in adolescence as a time of great turmoil and growth for many in their journeys to understanding their own and others’ genders and sexualities.
My research focuses on the origins and consequences of people’s conscious and unconscious beliefs about the self. Specifically, I have used multiple methods (cross-sectional, experimental, observational and longitudinal research designs) to examine the effect of people’s self-esteem on self-regulatory processes, close relationships, and health behaviors. My most recent research has begun to examine how perceptions of discrimination impact self-regulation and close relationship functioning.
Jeffrey R. Huntsinger, PhD
Assistant Professor
My research focuses on the cognitive consequences of affective feelings (e.g., moods and emotions). Specifically, I examine the role played by affective feelings in cognition and perception (e.g., does being happy make us focus on the forest, rather than the trees); as well as how moods and emotions influence processes of stereotyping and prejudice.
My current research agenda focuses on the nature and extent of mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders among correctional populations. In addition, I am now using research as a tool to improve the treatment of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system and to alleviate the problem of disproportionate minority confinement for drug crimes.
Robyn K. Mallett, PhD
Associate Professor
My research investigates pathways to positive intergroup relations by examining the factors that inhibit and promote positive intergroup contact. I use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to examine three main questions: What factors facilitate positive intergroup contact? How do stigmatized and non-stigmatized individuals respond to stigma-related threats during intergroup contact? What factors promote social change in the form of personal behavior change or collective action?
Assistant Professor
My research focuses on the mentoring and educational experiences of adolescents and emerging adults marginalized by society, primarily focusing on the experiences of students of color. In my research I use multiple methods to explore the antecedents (e.g., individual and contextual) and benefits of mentoring relationships. I am specifically interested in exploring how contextual factors such as interpersonal and institutional racial discrimination, campus climate, sense of belonging, and other institutional factors, influence the development of these relationships. I hope to use my research to support interventions and institutional changes that will benefit marginalized students.
My research activities include basic psychological research in social cognition and attitudes; as well as interdisciplinary work in the areas of political psychology, communication, cross-cultural psychology, the psychology of religion, and criminal justice. My research focuses on the psychological determinants of social judgments, attitudes, and opinions.
Loretta Stalans, PhD
Professor, Psychology and Criminal Justice and Criminology
My research activities including studying factors contributing to persistent offending, particularly in sex and violent offenders. I'm also interested in managing stigma and identities of victims and offenders, gender similarities and differences in offending and in domestic violence, and evaluation and implications of policies and programs about intimate partner violence, prostitution, human trafficking.
Much of my research focuses on the cognitive and social processes that influence group consensus processes and performance. Using laboratory and computer simulation methods, I have explored how different consensus processes impact performance under different circumstances. My recent work has focused on how shared cognitions influence ethical decision making by groups. My applied interests include juries, teams in organizations, and multi-person forecasting.