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Meet Diana Bodea, a Junior majoring in Psychology and Business Administration. She works in the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab (PEP Lab) under Dr. Barbara Fredrickson and graduate student Jieni Zhou. The PEP Lab studies people’s emotions, particularly their positive emotions, and are interested in how positive emotions affect people’s thinking patterns, social behavior, health, and physiological reactions. The ultimate goal is to understand how positive emotions might accumulate and compound to transform people’s lives for the better. Diana researches the effects of interpersonal processes such as gratitude and shared laughter on the well-being of romantic relationships.

What do you like most about your work? My favorite thing about my work is that it focuses on the positive side of things. It is rare to find an opportunity in psychology where you get to research the influences of positive actions.

What do you want to do as a career? I would love to pursue a career in psychology. Being a professor in social psychology is my dream.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your research? Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been continuing my research remotely. I have analyzed the effects of positive interpersonal processes by coding the results of numerous scientific articles.

Our Undergraduate Research Series features spotlights on our Psychology and Neuroscience majors and minors who are conducting undergraduate research with our faculty! We believe strongly that undergraduate experiences are greatly enriched by inquiry and discovery through undergraduate research. Research experiences allow students to better understand literature, determine areas of interest, discover their passion for research, continue on to graduate studies, and to jump start their careers as researchers. If you are an undergraduate who is interested in pursuing research experiences, we offer PSYC and NSCI 395 as an opportunity to work side-by-side with graduate students and faculty members on cutting-edge psychological and neuroscience research. We also recommend you visit the Office for Undergraduate Research to find research opportunities, apply for research funding, and for helpful tools and advice. Research opportunities abound at UNC – find one that works for you!

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