profile pic

Stephen B

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at New York University


Psychology, Neuroscience, Statistics, Music, Philosophy of Science


I am a PhD candidate at New York University studying how social factors influence psychological and brain development and health, especially among low-income families. My dissertation specifically focuses on how physiological synchrony between the parent and child can transmit or buffer stress. Outside academia, I work at Social Creatures, an applied research non-profit organization promoting social connectedness among at-risk children and families. I also have many years of experience as a musician, composer, and recording engineer. Ultimately, I hope to merge my artistic and scientific interests by integrating research on the mind, brain, and sound in order to create music that impacts cognition, emotion, and physiology to support health and well-being. You can read more about my research here:

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Synchrony, Stress, and Psychology

Can stress be unconsciously transmitted between people while they engage in a social interaction? In this project, we will investigate this question in the context of the parent-infant relationship to better understand how both the parent and child co-regulate each other's stress via physiological synchrony. We will use advanced statistical methods to model the dynamic patterns of reciprocal physiological activity between the parent and child. More generally, we will also examine the neuroscience of stress and how it affects psychological and brain development to impact cognition, emotion, and health.

Mechanisms of Music and the Mind

Everyone knows that music can dramatically affect how we think and feel. But how does this happen? Are there specific features or aspects of sound that influence our brain and psychology? In this project, we will examine some of the mechanisms linking music and the mind, and explore how we might use these mechanisms to support psychological functioning and well-being. This project will require a deep dive into research on the physics and psychophysics of sound, as well as the neuroscience and psychology of emotion and cognition.

Coding skills


Teaching experience

I have years of experience working as a mentor in a college readiness program teaching high school students critical thinking skills and topics in social sciences and humanities. I have also served as a tutor and teaching assistant for undergraduate statistics and psychology courses. And I have mentored over 20 undergraduate students on various research projects in the fields of psychology and neuroscience.


Work experience

Social Creatures (2019 - Current)
Research Scientist, Editor-in-Chief
New York University (2016 - Current)
Research Scientist, Doctoral Student
On the Ground, Institute of Human Development and Social Change, New York University (2017 - 2019)
Associate Editor, Contributing Author


New York University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2016)
Psychology and Public Policy
New York University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Developmental Psychology

Interested in working with expert mentors like Stephen?

Apply now