The Byrd-Craven Psychobiology Lab studies the neuroendocrine underpinnings of human social behavior. We examine a variety of relationships, including female friendships, family, and mating relationships. We employ interdisciplinary methods to uncover the interplay between social context and neuroendocrine responses.
Dr. Byrd-Craven is accepting graduate students for the Fall of 2021. Application deadline Dec. 1, 2020. See Join the Lab for more details.
Dads And Development of Infants in Oklahoma
PI: Jennifer Byrd-Craven
Co-Is: Lucia Ciciolla, Shelia Kennison
Project Manager: Erin Wood
This longitudinal project follows families for an infant's first 18 months. The focus is on patterns of father involvement that are related to the establishment of the mother-infant biorhythm. For more information on this study, visit the study website.
Venting: The good, the bad, and the hormonal underpinnings
PI: Ashley Rankin
In work published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, Ashley explores the physiological underpinnings of venting, or co-rumination.
In ongoing work, she is exploring how the degree of venting within the friendship effects cortisol and progesterone synchrony.
Close Friends are Hormonal
PI: Ashley Rankin
Two hormones known to be involved in the stress response and affiliative behaviors are cortisol and progesterone. The goal of this project is to examine if higher levels of hormonal synchronization in cortisol and progesterone between friends is associated with friendship quality and co-rumination.
Hormonal Influences in Women’s Attraction and Visual Attention to Masculinity
PI: Ray Garza
Women’s mate preferences are said to be influenced by fertility status, known as the ovulatory shift hypothesis. To investigate this, eye tracking methods are used to indicate if women’s behaviors in assessing men are influenced by changes in hormones important in fertility, such as estradiol and progesterone. The aim of this project is to identify if mate assessment occurs early on in visual processing, and if hormones influence assessment patterns.
Attention to Infant Images
PI: Ray Garza
There are many factors that influence attention to infants, such as levels of attachment, sex, and an infant’s own physical traits. However, what is not known is how does life history theory help explain attention to infants that display different physical characteristics. To study this, Ray is taking a life history approach in understanding the physical characteristics that predict visual attention to infant images.
Fathers and Female Developmental Outcomes
PI: Erin Wood
Fathers are thought to influence many aspects of development. However, recent research has argued that the link between fathers and developmental outcomes might be due to social and environmental processes often associated with father presence and involvement. Current studies are examining how the link between father-daughter relationship quality and risk-taking might be mediated by relationships with mothers and peers, cortisol, and emotion regulation processes.
Calibration of Risk-Taking
PI: Erin Wood
Risk-taking is shown to be influenced by both our past and present environment. The goal of this project is to examine how our early life environments and relationship with parents, and our biological response to stressors can predict our likelihood to engage in risk-taking behaviors.
Who We Are
Psychobiology Lab Staff
Dr. Jennifer Byrd-Craven
Dr. Byrd-Craven received her Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of Missouri. She joined the OSU Psychology Department in the fall of 2007. Her primary research interest is the impact of social dynamics on the activity of the stress response and associated systems systems. Current research projects focus on: 1) patterns of father involvement that impact the mother-infant and family biorhythm; 2) the influence of female friendship interactions on stress and immune system reactivity; and 3) sex differences in response to stress and early adversity. Evolutionary theory is used as a framework for understanding the interaction between biology and social dynamics, with a particular focus on female sociality. See her full CV here.
Ashley is a sixth-year student working with Dr. Byrd-Craven and Dr. Krems. She studies the evolutionary and biological underpinnings of human relationships. Her primary research aims to understand the psychobiology behind relationship quality. Much of her work deals with sex differences, cooperation, and competition. Ashley's work is funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow Program. See her full CV here.
Ray Garza, M.S.
Ray Garza is a forth-year graduate student working with Dr. Byrd-Craven. He studies human mate preferences using eye-tracking methods. His primary projects are assessing women’s attentional biases to masculinity across the menstrual cycle, and mate assessment as a function of egalitarianism. Ray loves to spend time with his wife and two daughters and is a diehard fan of “13 Reasons Why” and “Riverdale”.
Erin is a fifth-year student working with Dr. Byrd-Craven and Dr. Criss (Human Development & Family Science). Her primary research focuses on social-environmental predictors of biological and behavioral outcomes. Current projects are designed to understand how early life adversity predicts sexual and risk-taking behaviors in at-risk female adolescents and young-adults.
Laureon is a second-year graduate student working with Dr. Krems and Dr. Byrd-Craven. Her interests are in female sociality, and in pairing both feminist and evolutionary perspectives to explore overlooked aspects of women's behavior.
Tori Short is an upcoming first-year graduate student working with Dr. Byrd-Craven and Dr. Krems. Tori is primarily interested in using evolutionary theory to study environmental influences on health-related schemas and behaviors pertaining to diet, exercise, stress, and inflammation. Tori’s research interests also include female friendship dynamics as well as sex differences in mate retention and satisfaction. In her free time, you can find Tori pretending to be a movie critic, reading thriller novels, or cuddling with her dog.
The Oklahoma Center for Evolutionary ANalysis (OCEAN)
The Byrd-Craven Psychobiology lab is one of several labs in Psychology and Integrative Biology holding joint graduate lab meetings and furthering the OCEAN mission: 1) engage in interdisciplinary research; 2) train future research faculty and graduate students, including those from groups underrepresented in the sciences; and 3) undertaking educational outreach via the FOSSIL conference.
Contextual and genetic correlates of adrenocortical attunement and reactivity among parent-daughter dyads from low-income families (2020)
The nuanced psychology of The Handmaid’s Tale: Commentary on power, feminism, and the
patriarchy from four feminist evolutionary psychologists (2020)
Exposure to a sex-specific stressor mitigates sex differences in stress-induced eating (2019)
Fertility status in visual processing of men's attractiveness (2019)
The role of co-rumination and adrenocrotical attunement in young women's close friendships (2018)
Dr. Byrd-Craven anticipates accepting a graduate student for the Fall of 2021. Application deadline is December 1, 2020.
Research Assistants: Undergraduate research assistants who work in my lab get experience with entering data, developing protocols, running experiments, and coding video data. Students also get experience preparing saliva assays. Students typically enroll in Psychology 4990: Special Problems. Advanced students will get experience presenting our research at conferences. We hold bi-weekly lab meetings to discuss ongoing projects, applying to graduate school, and presenting research. If you are interested in joining the lab team, please contact me via email (email@example.com) to determine if there are any current openings.