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CIE Researcher of Distinction, May 2021

Brianna Gonzalez
Amber Bonds

Each month, the Center for Inclusive Education showcases the outstanding research being conducted by one of our talented scholars in our Research Café series. In addition, we recognize this scholar as a Researcher of Distinction and share the details of his/her journey to becoming an accomplished scholar. This month's Researcher of Distinction is Brianna Gonzalez, PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology. Brianna presented her work, ‘Neuroimaging of Political Cognition: “Fake News” on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.



Brianna is a PhD candidate in the Integrative Neuroscience program at Stony Brook University. She received her B.S. in Psychology with a focus on Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Florida, and her M.A. in Psychology at Stony Brook University. As an undergraduate she worked in three research labs, conducting research in behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and plant biotechnology. Her current research focuses on integrating social psychology topics with neuroscience methods to better understand real-life problems and the implications that they have on society. Brianna is a LSAMP Bridge to Doctorate Fellow, Turner Dissertation Fellow, and AGEP PUI Fellow in the Center for Inclusive Education.

BRIANNA'S Current Research

Describe the work you presented for your Research Café.

Politics shapes society and has a major impact on how individuals live their daily lives. In America's current political climate, people are bombarded daily with false information coming from all sides of the political spectrum. Most often, such information targets opposing partisans and is designed to generate anger and moral outrage. This results in further polarization between parties and ideologies, which can have detrimental consequences, from putting strain on social relationships, to impacting how government officials make decisions on policies. Understanding the way in which individuals evaluate and organize their political beliefs, and where in the brain these processes are represented, can help illuminate the functioning of the social brain. My study uses functional MRI to investigate how people encode and remember political fake news.

What was the deciding factor for you to come to Stony Brook for your graduate studies?

The support and the community that the Center for Inclusive Education provides is what brought me to Stony Brook.

Are there any other projects, beyond your Research Café work, that you are currently working on? 

I am also interested in projects related to empathy and intergroup bias.

What are your future goals?

I hope to graduate with my PhD and use the skills that I have learned to make a positive impact on the world.

What do you enjoy most about research?

I enjoy the many different steps of a research project that ultimately lead to new knowledge learned and shared with the world.