MEET OuR REsearch TeaM
WHAT WE STUDY
The C.A.S.H. Lab mainly uses behavioral paradigms, computational techniques, and psychophysiology (e.g., event-related potentials or ERPs, a type of electrical brain activity recorded from the scalp), to study self-regulation processes (and their neurocognitive mechanisms) implicated in behaviors relevant to health and psychological dysfunction. We are also interested in reinforcement processes involved in specific health-related behaviors, e.g., sensitivity to pharmacological or food-based reward. Our research is designed to identify "bio-behavioral or neurocognitive markers", with the ultimate goal of improving prediction of clinical outcomes and informing novel approaches to treatment and prevention.
Dr. Ken Allen (C.V.) is presently a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Oberlin College, where he also completed his bachelor's degree. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard University, and completed his predoctoral residency at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He remained at Brown as a postdoctoral fellow prior to returning to his alma mater.
Professor Allen's research examines biological, cognitive, and social factors that influence the development, maintenance, and treatment of health behaviors relevant to psychopathology. His work primarily focuses on two broad categories: (1) direct self-harm, e.g., suicide and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI); and (2) indirect self-harm, e.g., dysregulated eating, excessive exercise, substance misuse, as well as other impulsive or compulsive behaviors. He is also interested in theoretical issues in clinical and cognitive psychological sciences, e.g., etiologically-informed nosologies of dysfunctional behaviors and computational process-based ontologies of neurocognition.
CURRENT RESEARCH ASSISTANTS & STUDENT AFFILIATES
Sam R. Agnoli
Sam Agnoli (he/him/his) is a psychology and cinema studies double major from Columbus, Ohio. His interests in psychology include memory, linguistics, as well as anxiety, depression, and other forms of psychopathology. Sam recently studied with Dr. Laura Wagner, where he performed linguistic coding of children's books. Outside of the classroom, he is an avid writer currently working on a novel.
Ruth K. Bieber-Stanley
Ruth Bieber-Stanley (she/her/hers) is a fourth year Psychology and German major and linguistics minor from Albuquerque, NM. During her time at Oberlin she has been involved in numerous research projects in adolescent development and clinical psychology. In September 2019 Ruth co-authored a poster with Dr. Allen and a fellow student for the Society for Research in Psychopathology conference in Buffalo, NY. Ruth is interested in pursuing a career in clinical psychology or clinical social work and hopes to work with adolescents, an interest which has developed as a result of extensive teaching and mentoring experience with young people, both clinical and non-clinical populations. When she’s not in the lab, Ruth likes to get anxious about her future, dance, climb walls, cook vegan food, and have wholesome family fun with her close friends. After graduating from Oberlin she hopes to travel to Germany and to gain experience working in the mental health care field before going to graduate school.
Emma R. Edenbaum
Emma Edenbaum is a fourth-year Oberlin College student from Medford, New Jersey. She is currently majoring in Psychology and minoring in Jewish Studies and Religion, with an Education Studies concentration. Emma was published in a literature review for Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports. Most recently, she worked as a Research Assistant for Harvard University’s Clinical Research Laboratory and Case Western Reserve University’s Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory. She is currently a chair of the Oberlin Psychology Majors Committee. After graduating, Emma intends to pursue a career in clinical or counseling psychology. When she isn’t in the CASH lab, you can find her training dogs, hiking, frequenting zoos, or painting houses.
Olivia C. Goldstein
Olivia Goldstein is a third-year Oberlin student from Louisville, Kentucky. She is studying Psychology, with a concentration in Statistical Modeling. Most recently, she worked as a clinical intern at Penn State College of Medicine Summer Treatment Program for children with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder. That experience greatly informed Olivia’s future plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology working with youth who have psychopathological disorders. Her other research interests include the heterogeneity of self-destructive behaviors and nonsuicidal self-injury in clinical populations of adolescents. On campus, Olivia works as a peer advisor at the Career Center, works at the Office of Study Away, and volunteers at the Lorain County Juvenile Detention Home.
Avery Grace is a fourth-year student at Oberlin College from Boston, Massachusetts. She is studying Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. Avery hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Social Work and work with vulnerable adolescents. Most recently, she worked as an Intern within Casa Esperanza’s bilingual residential programs that serve adults seeking treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illness. This experience informed her understanding of the importance of culturally specific and bilingual services and strengthened her commitment to working with vulnerable communities. In the summers, she works at an overnight camp, most recently as the program director, where she fosters her passion for working with youth. On-campus, she works for the Ninde Scholars Program and at the Rock Climbing wall.
Alexa C. Myles
Alexa Myles (she/hers) is a third-year Psychology major from Pasadena, CA. She is interested in social and environmental psychology and its contributions towards abating the effects of climate change. She recently interned with Citizens Climate Lobby, which instilled curiosity about the relationship between forms of advocacy and resulting policy change. Alexa is also interested in clinical psychology, specifically adolescents and is looking into a career as a cognitive behavioral therapist. During her gap year with the federal program Americorps, she realized the prevalence of mental health issues versus the lack of mental health providers across the United States. Alexa is currently working as a full time research assistant for the C.A.S.H. lab and spends her free time cooking for her vegan co-op, laughing with her improv troop Neurotic Fiction, and listing things in groups of three.
Harper M. Ross
Harper M. Ross (she/her) is a third-year Psychology major and Dance minor from Kansas City, Missouri. Her research interests include the role of neurotransmitter dysfunction in psychopathology, psychometric prediction of suicide, treatment of aphasic disorders, and improving the quality of life for those who incur chronic work-related stress or trauma. Harper intends to earn a graduate degree in neuropsychology and hopes to conduct research abroad in the next few years. She spends most of her free time outside the lab choreographing, composing, learning Korean, and playing D&D.
Katharine A. Ware
Katharine Ware is a third-year Oberlin College student from Arlington, Virginia. She is currently double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. She is interested in Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Special Education, and group dynamics among children. Outside of the lab, you can find her most of the time playing ultimate frisbee or planning and teaching an ExCo, but also doing puzzles, painting and collaging, or singing. After graduation, she plans on going to graduate school or clinical psychology, expanding her knowledge on American Sign Language and working in a school for the deaf as a counselor, or becoming a clinical social worker.
Christina Wu is a fourth-year student at Oberlin College studying Neuroscience and Economics. She has been exploring her interests in clinical and cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, and neurodegenerative diseases. At Oberlin, she has been working under Dr. Monica Mariani in studying the role of microglia in Alzheimer’s Disease and joined the C.A.S.H laboratory in January 2020. Most recently, she became a summer research assistant at the Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory at Case Western Reserve University studying social neuroscience applied to psychopathology under Dr. Sarah Hope Lincoln. After graduating, she plans on pursuing an advanced degree in neuroscience and/or the behavioral sciences. Outside of the lab, Christina enjoys playing the piano, dancing, and baking banana bread.