Summer 2013 - 2015 Research Internships in
Hojooba’ bee la’ hooniil,
Undergraduate Research into the Social Psychophysiology of Compassion

Faculty Research Projects:

Melissa Birkett is a Physiological Psychologist who specializes in the physiological bases of anxiety and of the stress response, and moderators of these relationships, such as pharmacological interventions, SES, control, etc. Dr. Birkett is a dynamic young faculty member who brings with her a strong teaching interest, a well-developed teaching background, including an M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education, multiple presentations and publications with undergraduates, and the 2007 APA CARE Imprinting Mentor Award. “What are the physiological (e.g., oxytocin, cortisol, heart rate, skin conductance, etc.) and behavioral (e.g., altruism, volunteerism, etc.) markers of compassion and of related and contradictory states?” “What are the challenges to expression of compassion by activation and inhibition of the threat-defense system and by active and passive expression of the safeness system and what are the physiological components of these reactions for specific cultural groups?” “What is the role of oxytocin, vasopressin, endogenous opiates in culturally-specific care-giving behaviors?” “What is the nature of the relationships among cortisol, avoidance and disengagement, cortisol, anxiety and negativity and the expression of compassion?”