Director

Dr. Christine Chiarello, Lab Director
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1982

Dr. Chiarello is currently Professor and Chair of Psychology at UCR. Her research investigates brain organization for language. Prior studies focused on cerebral lateralization and the role of the right hemisphere in language processing. Current research investigates individual differences in brain structure, and the neural bases of bilingualism. Another project utilizes the EAR (electronically activated recorder) to study the real world language experience of monolingual and bilingual individuals.

Curriculum Vitae

Postdoctoral Scholar

Natsuki Atagi, Ph.D.
(natagi@ucr.edu)

Natsuki is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at UC Riverside. She completed her graduate work at UCLA, where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology, with a focus in Developmental Psychology and Culture, Brain, & Development. Natsuki’s program of research focuses on the cognitive and neural correlates of early language experiences. During her graduate career, she broadly examined how bilingual language experiences affect various aspects of infants’ and children’s cognitive and language development. Currently, her research uses behavioral methods, MRI, and EEG to examine how early language and reading experiences may have consequences for new language learning. In her free time, she likes listening to audiobooks, traveling, spending time with friends and family, and going to Disneyland.

Curriculum Vitae

Graduate Students

Alessandra Macbeth
(alessandramacbeth@gmail.com)

Alessandra is a fifth-year graduate student in cognitive psychology at UC Riverside. She graduated from Pepperdine University in 2014 with a B.A. in Psychology, and began her studies under Dr. Chiarello in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab the following fall. Her research interests lie at the intersection between bilingualism, memory, and aging. She is currently investigating how bilingualism might affect resistance to proactive interference performance in both younger and older adults, and is using structural MRI and DTI to assess whether the neural correlates of inhibitory control of memory differ between bilinguals and monolinguals. In her free time, she likes skiing and hiking, traveling, trying new restaurants, wine tasting, watching HGTV shows, and relaxing with a good book.

Curriculum Vitae



Michelle Bruni
(mbrun004@ucr.edu)

Michelle is a second-year graduate student in cognitive psychology at UC Riverside. She received her B.S. in French and Francophone Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include the cognitive and neural basis of language, cognitive control, and bilingualism. Currently she is studying how code-switching modulates control strategies on a cognitive control task.  In her free time, she enjoys bodybuilding, reading books about health and nutrition, and cooking and baking with her Nana.

Curriculum Vitae

Lab Manager

Brittenny De La Cruz

Brittenny is a fourth-year undergraduate student, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Creative Writing. She is interested in neuroimaging, neuroimaging analysis and investigating how bilingualism may affect brain structure and cognitive ability. She also recently completed a research project on code-switching, which shed light on the comparison between self-reported vs. real-world language use. After graduation, she is hoping to earn her Ph.D. in a neuroscience-related field. In her free time, she likes to go on adventures by reading books, spending time with her pets, trying new foods, playing Pokemon Go, and hanging out with friends.

Curriculum Vitae

Undergraduate Research Team
  • Arpine Agakhanyan
  • Sadiea Akbar
  • Bani Brara
  • Pei Chai
  • Isha Gupta
  • Belen Leon Perez
  • Cindy Sarabia
  • Daniya Siddiqua
  • Stephanie Silva
Former Ph.D. Students
  • Adam Felton, Ph.D. 2017 (Assistant Professor, Moreno Valley College)
  • Tim Gann, Ph.D. 2012, UCR (Data Scientist)
  • Vanessa Miller, Ph.D. 2011, UCR (Asst. Professor, Athens State University)
  • Travellia Tjokro, Ph.D. 2010, UCR
  • Suzanne Welcome, Ph.D. 2008, UCR (Asst. Professor, University of Missouri, St. Louis)
  • Cathy Cleveland, Ph.D, 2007, UCR (Associate Professor, East Los Angeles College)
  • Laura Halderman, Ph.D., 2006, UCR (Research Project Manager, Educational Testing Service)
  • Natalie Kacinik, Ph.D. 2002, UCR (Assoc. Professor, Brooklyn College, CUNY)
  • Connie Shears, Ph.D. 2002, UCR (Assoc. Professor, Chapman University)
  • Stella Arambel, Ph.D. 2002, UCR (Asst. Professor, University of New Hampshire, deceased)
  • Lisa Maxfield, Ph.D. 1995, Syracuse University (Professor, California State University, Long Beach)
  • Lorie Richards, Ph.D. 1992, Syracuse University (Assoc. Professor and Chair, Div. of Occupational Therapy, University of Utah)