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Our People


Dr. Patty Van Cappellen


Dr. Van Cappellen is an Assistant Research Professor at the Social Science Research Institute and Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 2012 from the University of Louvain, Belgium. Her work is in experimental social psychology, investigating the psychological determinants of well-being and health behavior maintenance. She focuses primarily on two determinants: the experience of positive emotions (e.g., awe, gratitude) and religious/spiritual beliefs and behaviors. To balance her work on the benefits of religion, she also studies whether, how, and when religion promotes intergroup prejudice and aggression.

For more information on her work and publications visit her website.

Outside of academia, Patty enjoys horseback riding, discovering new restaurants, and taking in the sun of North Carolina (Belgium, her native country, is typically gray and rainy). 

To learn more about her research visit the BABLab website.

Cheryl Tan

Research Coordinator
Office Phone: 919-681-7908


Cheryl Tan is a Research Coordinator at the Interdisciplinary Behavioral Research Center (IBRC). She moved to Durham after graduating with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she conducted an independent research study on the cross-cultural experience of joy. Her research interests are at the intersection of culture, emotion, and well-being, and she plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Psychology in the future.  

Outside of academia, Cheryl loves trying milk tea stores, baking, and catching up on her favorite shows.

Aiyanna Kimble

Research Coordinator
Office Phone: 919-681-2906


Aiyanna Kimble returns to the IBRC (where she worked as an office assistant during her undergraduate career) as a Research Coordinator. She graduated from Duke with a bachelors in psychology and certificates in markets and management and civic engagement and social change. before serving as an 8th grade English teacher in the Teach for America corps in Houston, Texas.

She is broadly interested in affect, motivation, decision making, prosocial behaviors, and intergroup relations. More specifically, she is interested in how fostering positive affect, motivation, and empathy can improve performance, decision making, and experiences within group settings.