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Principal Investigator


Cathy R. Cox

Associate Professor

(817) 257-6418

I received my B.A. and M.A. in experimental psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. I completed my Ph.D. in social psychology with a minor in research methods and statistics at the University of Missouri. Working from the terror management theory (TMT) perspective that the pursuit of meaning and value in one’s life protects the individual from deeply rooted anxiety, my research has examined such topics as parental and interpersonal attachment, disgust and attitudes toward the body, the evaluation of women, and health intentions and behavior. For more information on terror management theory, check out: www.tmt.missouri.eduGoogle citation index

Current Graduate Students


Julie Swets

Graduate Student

(817) 257-4231

I graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology. I received my M.S. in Experimental Psychology from TCU in May 2020, and I'm currently in my third year of study here. My research focuses on nostalgia, close relationships, and other existential concerns, such as terror management and isolation. 


Jieming Xiao

Graduate Student

I received my B.A. in psychology from Saint Louis University, Missouri, in December 2019. I started my first year as a graduate student here at TCU in fall 2020. My research interests include objectification and terror management, cultural effects on existential concerns, as well as other topics related to TMT and attitudes towards women. 

Current Research Assistants

Former Graduate Students


Robert Arrowood, Ph.D. (2020)

Research Scientist

Cook Children's Hospital

Fort Worth, Texas

Mike Kersten, Ph.D. (2017)

Clinical Assistant Professor

University of Idaho

Moscow, Idaho

Erin Van Enkevort, Ph.D. (2016)

Assistant Professor

Geisinger Medical Center

Danville, Pennsylvania

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Arielle Cenin, M.S. (2020)

ALex Darrell, M.S. (2018)

Notable Lab Alumni

Lexie Bryant (2020)

Current Position: Criminal Justice MS student at University of Pennsylvania

Anita Pai (2020)

Honors Thesis: Associations Between Nostalgia and Attitudes towards Intimate Partner Violence

Current Position: Industrial-Organizational Psychology PhD student at Central Michigan University

Maddie Weinstock (2019)

Honors Thesis: Understanding the Need for Existential Meaning Amongst Those With Eating Disorders

Current Position: Counseling Psychology PhD student at Virginia Commonwealth University

Karen Ji (2019)

Honors Thesis: The Effects of Meaning in Life on Academic Achievement

Current Position: Educational Specialist (EdS) - School Psychology student at Baylor University

Former Lab Members

Jordan Adair, Kiely Alfieri, Kristi Allain, Sandra Alvarez, Caroline Angell, Renate Beck, Caiden Berry, Hope Bentley, Ashley Brewer, Emily Brown, Erin Brown, Lexie Bryant, Kendall Chambers, Paul Chapell, Kylie Corson, Adam Damadzic, Gabriella D’Ambra, Alex Darrell, Delaney Davis, Nathania Davis, Christian Del Pozo, Sam Douglass, Sara Eaton, Kathryn England, Katrina Fazelmanesh, Natalie Flora, Hannah Freeman, Katherine French, Scotty Giberson, Dylan Gulbronson, Hanna Hefner, Jill Hoffman, Lacey Hood, Ashley Hurst, Karen Ji, Lorin Kellam, McKenna Kondratiuk, Mackenzie Koss, Katie Kruse, Chris Lamoureux, Austin Lemke, Tierra Ledet, Bryn Lohrberg, Lynlee Maroney, Claire Martinez, Elise Martinez, Jasmine Martinez, Maddie McAleenan, Wesley McCoy, Paulina Mozo, Tyrani Murray, Ana Padgett, Anita Pai, Grace Palmer, Caroline Pope, Taryn Quinn, Aqsa Rao, Katie Rebeil, Ramon Romero, Ryan Schimdt, Dee Scobbie, Michael Smith, Jordan Stables, Dana Stalewski, James Stanphill, Evan Stelly, Tracy Strazzini, Christian Sullivan, Kaitlin Sutherlin, Trevor Swanson, Abby Till, Natalia Vilcek, Taylor Way, Lindsay Weaver, Maddie Weinstock, Grace White, Shawn Williamson, & Evan Wilson.  



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