Our Principal Investigator

Ph.D, Cornell University
M.A., Cornell University
B.S., University College, Dublin, Ireland



Vice Provost Downey is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and was formerly chair of the Department. She serves as the director of Columbia’s Social Relations Laboratory.

Her primary research area is the study of personal and status based rejection. Trained as a developmental psychologist, she has conducted extensive research on rejection sensitivity in the context of interpersonal relationships and in institutional settings such as schools. This line of work has led her to study sensitivity to rejection based on personal, unique characteristics, as well as sensitivity to rejection based on group characteristics such as race and gender. She has sought to investigate the effect of rejection sensitivity on people's behavior by utilizing various techniques including established social cognition paradigms, experimental studies, physiological recordings, brain-imaging and diary studies. Vice Provost Downey’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Russell Sage Foundation. Her scholarship has been published in a number of leading scholarly journals, including Psychological Science, Child Development, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.


Professor Niall Bolger, Ph.D.
Professor Bonita London, Ph.D.
Professor Kevin Oschner, Ph.D.
Professor Eshkol Rafaeli, Ph.D.
Professor Betsy Sparrow, Ph.D.

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