Tristen K. Inagaki, Ph.D.
inagaki [at] pitt [dot] edu
Lab Director
Tristen Inagaki is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh with primary affiliations in the Social and Biological-Health areas. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and directs the Social-Health and Affective Neuroscience Lab. She received her PhD from UCLA in 2014 before moving into her current position. For Tristen’s research interests, click here.

Lauren Ross
lpr6 [at] pitt [dot] edu
Graduate Student
Lauren brings to SHAN Lab an interest in the neuroscience, biology, and behavior of social bonding. We as humans come equipped with the drive to form social connections. Close social relationships are extremely important to our development and survival, and have great bearing on our health and happiness. Similarly, painful social experiences like rejection and loneliness may negatively impact our development, health, and happiness. Because of this, protective mechanisms, behaviors, and coping strategies may exist that allow humans to buffer themselves against or attempt to ameliorate social pain (such as anthropomorphizing or forming parasocial relationships), to offset the negative consequences. Lauren’s work is focused on attempting to identify these protective mechanisms, and to determine if they are adaptive and useful in mitigating the effects of social pain.

Laura Hazlett
laurahazlett [at] pitt [dot] edu
Study Coordinator
Laura is fascinated by how social connection unfolds in the brain, and why it is so crucial to our physical and emotional well-being. Her research uses neuroscience, pharmacological, and physiological methods to explore how endogenous opioids contribute to feelings of social connection, and how feelings of social connection and validation affect health outcomes. She will begin her graduate studies in Social Psychology at UCLA this Fall. In her free time, Laura loves cooking for friends, going for long runs, listening to her favorite podcasts, and traveling.

Belen Best
Undergraduate Honors Student
Belen is an undergraduate honors student. She is a junior majoring in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. She is interested in researching the bidirectional effects of various physiological measures and the social experience, particularly during instances of adversity. Specifically, her honors project explores the relationship between blood pressure and social perceptions. For fun, Belen enjoys cooking, staying active, and going to shows with her roommates. 

Undergraduate Research Assistants