Lab Director/Principal Investigator

Dr. Chernyak is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cognitive Sciences at UC - Irvine and the director of the lab. She received her BA and PhD from Cornell University, and completed additional postdoctoral training at various universities in the Boston area, including Brown University, Harvard University, Boston University, and Boston College. Her work investigates the early roots of our social behavior.


Lab Manager

Sifana Sohail just graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Psychology. There, her work branched out into cognitive development, emotion theory, and identity. At UC Irvine, she works to bridge these interests and explore the links between children’s social behavior and cognitive development. She looks forward to pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology: to further her research interests and keep working with children. 

Research Assistants



Nina Hoang is a fourth-year double major in Biological Sciences and Psychology at UCI. She is interested in studying how people are affected by and react to a variety of psychological and biological influences, as well as how these concepts work together to produce people’s identities and cognitions. Nina aims to pursue a future career in healthcare to help children.



Danyang Ma is an undergraduate student currently pursing her Bachelor degree in Psychology at UCIrvine. Her research interests are exploring children’s cognitive development and the neurobiology mechanism underlying it. She enjoys working with children and looks forward to pursing a master and PhD in developmental psychology.



Rui Zhang is a current second-year psychology major student at UCI who joined the lab in winter 2019. She is eager to obtain first-hand experience in the research process and looks forward to exploring cognitive development of children. She plans to pursue a PhD in Psychology after graduating. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and watching documentary film. 



Katherine Brogan is a second year pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Cognitive Sciences at UC Irvine. She has previously worked with children as a preschool volunteer and as a math tutor. She is excited to expand her knowledge in the cognitive sciences and work with children in a scientific setting.



Sahrai Garcia is currently a sophomore at UCI pursing her bachelors in Psychology. She is in interested in Social behavior and Behavioral Cognition and hopes to pursue a doctorate in her later years.  She is excited to learn about Early Social Behavior and Development and how it shapes people’s view of the world, the people around them, and themselves. 



Ameera Azzam is a fourth-year completing her B.A. in Psychology at UC Irvine. Ameera is interested in culture, personality, psychopathology, and how these factors interact together. She plans to pursue a PhD in the near future. She is excited to join the DoSC lab and learn more about the early development of social cognition.



Samia Miss is a third year student currently studying to get her Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Samia has an interest in the brain and cognitive neuroscience and is eager to learn about the development of social cognition in children. In the future, she hopes to get her PhD in Psychology so she can later work as a clinical child psychologist. 



Jose Ramirez is currently a fourth-year completing his B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. He is eager to gain experience and learn more about the cognitive development of children. Besides cognitive development, he is also interested in abnormal psychology and the treatment of mental disorders. In the future, he hopes to go on to graduate school after gaining experience in the field of developmental psychology.



Ane Avetisyan graduated from UCI with her B.A. in Humanities and minor in Biological Sciences. She is currently a Masters of Arts in Psychology student at Pepperdine University. Her research interests include developmental psychology and neuropsychology. She aims to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology or Neuropsychology.



Michelle is a UCI undergraduate fourth-year, currently working on obtaining her B.A. in Psychological Science. She has pervious RA experience working with kids and looks forward to applying that knowledge into the DoSC Lab Team. She is interested in the developmental stages of children. She is eager to continue her educational journey and apply to graduate school. She hopes to become a child therapist in the future. 



Taylor Ashqar is a second-year Cognitive Science major at UCI. Her research interests include cognition and cognitive development. She is excited to learn more about cognition and the brain through classes in her major and through research. She hopes to pursue a career that will allow her to help people live better lives.



Alek Marantz is currently a third-year expecting to complete his BA in Psychology this spring. His interests are working with children and helping others. Alek plans to fulfill both of these passions by acquiring a PsyD and becoming a Pediatric Clinical Psychologist. 



Rakat Rahman is a second-year currently studying to get a bachelor's in Psychology while pursuing a double major in Biology. He is interested in cognitive psychology, the brain as a whole, and how they interact with each other. In the future, he hopes to go into the medical field and work alongside children. In his free time, he enjoys working out and hanging out with his friends.



Naomi de Luna is a fourth-year completing her B.A. in Psychology at UC Irvine. She is interested in exploring how children develop ideas about morality and has a special interest in the impact of game-based learning practices in encouraging prosocial attitudes. She looks forward to pursuing graduate study in developmental psychology to further explore these areas.



Erin is a third year undergraduate research assistant pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Psychology at UC Irvine. Erin found her interest working and tutoring kids of all ages. She then began tutoring college level students back home in the Bay Area. She plans to go to graduate school and obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology or Cognitive Neuroscience 



Shakira is a first-year pursuing a BS in Psychology. She is especially interested in studying cognitive and developmental psychology. Shakira plans to continue her education by earning a PhD in psychology and is excited to be a part of the DoSC team and gain experience in a lab setting. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing.



Abe is currently a third-year at UCI working towards a B.A. in Psychology. He is particularly interested in the connection between cognitive functions and its impact on behavior and personality. He aspires to transition into graduate school with hopes to further a career rooted in either clinical psychology, or simply psychology. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games with friends online, and real life.



Jenny(Jueying) Li is a fourth-year student double majoring in Computer Science and Psychological Science at UCI. She is interested in human cognition, affective computing, as well as how to apply knowledge in psychology with artificial intelligence. In the future, Jenny hopes to go to grad school to study cognitive computing that mimics human behavior and reasoning to solve complex problems.