Jessica Verpeut is an Assistant Professor in the behavioral neuroscience program in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University in January 2021. Her research focuses on the influence of cerebellar activity during development on neocortical structure, social and flexible behavior utilizing whole-brain imaging and unsupervised behavior classification. The ultimate goal of her research program is to understand how the brain develops to produce typical behavior. The cerebellum has highly conserved neural architecture and circuitry with distal connections to known motor, cognitive, and social regions. Pediatric injury of the cerebellum is highly associated with neural developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Understanding how the cerebellum fine-tunes neural development is essential to providing better diagnostic criteria and outcomes for individuals with neural developmental disorders.
Dr. Verpeut received her undergraduate degree in animal science and psychology from Pennsylvania State University and her doctoral degree in endocrinology and animal biosciences at Rutgers University. As a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the New Jersey Brain Injury Research Committee, Jessica developed a chemogenetic cerebellar model of autism and mapped cerebello-cortical connections that contribute to flexible behavior.
Matt Meier received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and Psy.D. from the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. He completed his internship at the Heart of America Psychology Training Consortium in Missouri, which focused on providing psychological treatment in underserved areas. His residency was completed at Valley Hope, a nationally recognized substance abuse treatment agency. He is a licensed psychologist and licensed independent substance abuse counselor, and he has served as a clinical director in multiple community mental health and substance abuse treatment centers. Dr. Meier joined ASU in 2014 and is a Clinical Assistant Professor, the Co-Director of Clinical Training for the clinical psychology PhD program, and the director of the graduate certificate in addictions. He is a supervisor at the Clinical Psychology Center, a community-based training clinic. He provides training and supervision in evidence-based and empirically supported treatments, and he uses cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal approaches in therapy. Dr. Meier’s clinical focus is on the treatment of co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. This interest has evolved into a focus on transdiagnostic treatment approaches, and Dr. Meier is currently conducting research at the Phoenix VA on a broadly transdiagnostic, group treatment. He is a current board member on the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners.
Erika Pages received her MA in Social Psychology from Arizona State University, and is currently working toward her PhD. Her research focuses on the interaction of affective, cognitive, and social mechanisms. Her core research interest is in humor across several scales of analysis, with studies investigating why humor is a universally desired trait in mating partners, how humor can support emotion regulation in distressing situations, and the role humor can play in social support and intergroup processes.
Jessica Ayers obtained her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and anthropology and her master’s degree in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton. She is broadly interested in the behavioral manifestations of genetic conflict in humans. Currently, Jessica's research projects focus on documenting differences in friendship rules, understanding differences in cooperation and conflict with kin and affines, and explaining how maternal-fetal conflict during pregnancy can manifest as pregnancy complications. Learn more about Jessica by visiting her website.
Dr. Michael McBeath does research in the emerging area combining Psychology, Engineering, and Perception-Action. He majored in both Psychology and Electrical Engineering for his Bachelor’s degree from Brown University, received a Master’s of Science in Electronic Instrumentation from the University of California, and earned his Doctoral degree from Stanford University in Psychology with a minor in Electrical Engineering. Parallel to his academic career, he worked as a research scientist, both at NASA - Ames Research Center, and later at the Interval Corporation, a technology think tank funded by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. Dr. McBeath has been a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University since 1998, where he is also adjunct faculty in Kinesiology, Neuroscience, Life Sciences, Animal Behavior, Electrical Engineering, and the School of Arts, Media, & Engineering. He is one of the cofounders of ASU’s SAMBA: Science of Art, Music, & Brain Activity, a board member of Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek’s SciHub, and an affiliate Research Associate in the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. His research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Interval Corporation, Institute for Social Science Research, and the Global Sports Institute. Dr. McBeath’s work focuses on computational modeling of perception-action in dynamic, natural environments, with specialties that span sports, robotics, music, navigation, animal behavior, and multisensory object perception. His most widely known work is on navigational strategies used by baseball players, animals, and robots. His baseball interception research and basketball timing research were published in the journal, Science, his dog Frisbee study was made fun of on Saturday Night Live, and his autonomous ball-catching robot was selected by the New York Times Magazine as one of its ideas of the year. He also plays a mean harmonica.