Family, Affect, Beliefs & Behaviors Lab


Family Affect, Beliefs, and Behaviors Lab Members

Primary Investigator:
Amy G. Halberstadt

Graduate Students:
Patsy Sibley
Vanessa Castro
Calvin Sims

FABB Lab Alumni and Current Colleagues:
Ashley Craig
Malathie P. Dissanayake
Rebecca Stelter
Karen Beale
Alison Parker
Julie Thompson

Kevin Leary
Fantasy Lozada   


A. Halberstadt

Amy Halberstadt, Professor

e-mail: Amy_Halberstadt@ncsu.edu


I am the Principal Investigator in the Family Affect, Beliefs, and Behavior Lab here at North Carolina State University.  I received my A.B. at Colgate University, and my Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University, where I studied under the tutelage of Judith Hall. At the graduate level, I teach seminars in Social Development, Psychology of Gender, and Emotion.  At the undergraduate level, I teach Psychology of Gender, and Emotion. 

Things I like:  Australia, camping in almost any wilderness, coffee ice cream (with almonds), boogie boarding in the rare snows of North Carolina, growing my own vegetables and flowers, lab dinners for which we all cook together, learning Spanish in Costa Rica, making pottery.

Things I dislike:  Sexism, racism, and chiggers.

Interesting Tidbit:  I am vegetarian and TV-free.

Research Interests

  • Socialization of emotional experience and expression in the family, and embedded within cultural cues.
    • Socialization of specific emotions -- anger, pride, schadenfreude, gratitude, and entitlement are current favorites
  • Affective social competence, including the skills of effectively sending, understanding, and experiencing emotion in interpersonal settings;
  • Parents’ beliefs and behaviors relating to emotion, and across ethnicity and gender
  • Socialization of gender in the family, and particularly in relation to language
  • Gender-transcendent childrearing
  • Feminist and non-racist pedagogy, with warmth and enthusiasm

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Patsy Sibley, Graduate Student

email: pasibley@ncsu.edu


I am a fifth-year graduate student and researcher in the Family Affect, Beliefs, and Behaviors Lab. I graduated from the University of Alabama with an Honors B.S. in Psychology in 2007. In my developmental work, I am currently interested in research questions that address the role that parents’ socialization regarding both emotions and gender play in their children’s socioemotional development, as well as how children’s understanding of emotions affects their performance in school. Pedagogically, I am also currently working on a project that aims to challenge students’ dualistic ideas about science by altering how undergraduate science writing is taught.

Research Interests:

  1. How parents’ beliefs about gender and emotions affect the socialization behaviors they use with their children and their children’s socioemotional development.
  2. How children’s understanding of gender and emotion is constructed within the parent/child relationships.
  3. How child gender and children’s emotion knowledge affect the student/teacher relationship.

Things I like: bicycles, Bikram yoga, musical theater, social justice initiatives, and gluten-free food.

Things I dislike: condescending people, close-mindedness, sexism, and cigarette smoke.

Interesting tidbit: I have a freakishly strong sense of smell. It's practically a super power.


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Vanessa Castro, Graduate Student

e-mail: vlcastr2@ncsu.edu

I am a fourth-year graduate student in the Family, Affect, Beliefs, and Behaviors Lab and a predoctoral fellow at the Center for Developmental Science at the Carolina Consortium on Human Development. I graduated from Northeastern University in 2009 with a B.S. in Psychology and received my M.A. in Experimental Psychology in 2011 from the University of Massachusetts. My program of research is broadly focused on examining how children develop the ability to understand emotions within the family context. I am interested in conceptualizing the broad construct of emotion understanding across the lifespan and in everyday contexts. I am also interested in identifying both proximal and distal factors within dynamic contexts that contribute to age-related changes in emotion understanding. My dissertation focuses on the theoretical conceptualization, structural organization, and parental socialization of emotion understanding in middle childhood. Additional exciting lines of research that I have worked on include the use of sensitivity to spatiotemporal forms to predict emotion perception and the understanding of everyday socio-emotional perception in old age.

Things I like: New England, local coffee, barre3, HBO, cooking, DIY decor

Things I dislike: complaining, lack of sleep

Interesting tidbit: I performed at Epcot Center in Disney World several times as a youth competitive dancer.

Research Interests:

  1. Emotion understanding development
    • How is emotion understanding conceptualized across childhood and adulthood?
    • How are different skills related at different ages?
    • How do skills in understanding emotions change with age?
    • How do we learn to understand emotions within the family context?
  2. Everyday emotion understanding
    • How prototypical are children and adult’s displays of emotion in real-life?
    • How do skills in understanding emotions present in everyday contexts?
    • Can we design laboratory methods that better assess everyday emotion understanding in children and adults?



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A. Halberstadt

Calvin Sims, Graduate Student

e-mail: cmsims@ncsu.edu

I am a third year graduate student in the Family, Affect, Beliefs and Behavior Lab! I graduated with a BA in Psychology from Wake Forest University and earned my MA in General Psychology from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. My current research interests focus on applying developmental theory to an educational framework in understanding how to improve academic outcomes for students, specifically minority ones. The classroom is an dynamic environment rich with emotional experience, communication and belief system. My desire is to understand how culture influences the way in which both how teachers instruct and how students learn. This is developmentally important since throughout the school year, as well as throughout a child's journey in the school system, how children are able to understand culture, as well as how teachers are able to understand their students, whose cultures may differ from their own, is going to directly impact the academic and professional outcomes of students. My work focuses on how teachers' beliefs about race and their beliefs about relationships determine the academic achievement levels of their students. As culture is all around, I am fascinated by how teachers' implicit and explicit racial biases' may impact their investment in students, and how these biases play a role in how teachers determine which students are more deserving of an investment and which are least deserving.

Things I like: Spider-Man, Running, Peanut Butter, Theology, the color Orange, and the Walking Dead is my favorite show.

Things I dislike: The common housefly, Yellow stop lights, people who don't laugh.

Interesting tidbit: I'm currently trying to learn how to swim and I've been told I overuse exclamation points. I do not overuse exclamation points!!!

Research Interests:

  1. How teachers' beliefs about relationships determine their relationships with their students
  2. Cross cultural communication and misinterpretation / misunderstanding between European American teachers and minority students
  3. Increasing engagement in academic endeavors in minority children
  4. The role of culture in the classroom and how it impacts both teachers and students
  5. Classroom warmth and how the environment of the classroom can both enhance and reduce student engagment

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FABB Lab Alumni & Current Colleagues

Ashley, Craig Ph.D.

Researcher Associate II at 3-C Institute for Social Development

email: abcraig07@gmail.com





Alison Parker, Ph.D.

Research Scientist at innovation Research and Training, Durham, NC

e-mail: aparker@irtinc.us



Karen Beale, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology at Maryville College

e-mail: karen.beale@maryville.edu

Julie A. Thompson, Ph.D.

Research Associate and Statistical Consultant at Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC



Malathie P. Dissanayake, Ph. D.

Head, Department of Psychology and Medical Psychology, South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine, Malabe, Sri Lanka

e-mail: m_dissa1974@yahoo.com



Rebecca Stelter, Ph.D.

Research Scientist at innovation Research and Training, Durham, NC

email: rstelter@irtinc.us


Fantasy Lozada, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan Center of the Study of Black Youth in Context

email: ftlozada@umich.edu


Kevin Leary, Ph.D.

Research Associate at 3C Institute for Social Development

email: kevin.a.leary@gmail.com

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