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Human Development Graduate Group

Students

  • Photo: Lindsay Forte

    Luis Parra


    Interests
    Biological, Cognitive and Social-Emotional

    Life Phases
    Adolescence/Emerging Adulthood

    Research Profile


    Education
    B.A., Psychology (California State University, Northridge)

    Research Interests

    I am a third-year Human Development NSF-GRFP Research Fellow in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of California, Davis. I work under the supervision of my primary graduate advisers Drs. Paul D. Hastings in the Department of Psychology and Amanda E. Guyer in the Department of Human Ecology. My research focuses on three interconnected areas:

    1) The intersection of ethnic/racial and sexual minority identities. Specifically, I study the effects of compounded ethnic/racial and sexual minority prejudice (i.e., stress) on physiological self-regulatory mechanisms via hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and immune system functioning, and in turn, their effects on psychosocial adjustment (e.g., depression). I also seek to identify resilience factors such as parent and peer social support and coping strategies to help ameliorate the adverse effects of prejudice in sexual minority people of color. This is study is funded by the American Psychology Foundation's Wayne F. Placek Grant awarded in 2015. http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/placek.aspx?tab=1

    2) I also am interested in peer-relationship processes during adolescence, particularly in ethnic minority youth of Mexican-origin. I am particularly interested in emotion regulation processes via parasympathetic system activation (e.g., heart rate variability and RSA) when adolescents experience rejection by peers and their effects on psychosocial adjustment.

    3) Lastly, I am interested in methodological issues associated with retrospective reports of peer victimization. In collaboration with Dr. Adrienne Nishina in the Human Development Graduate Group at UC Davis, using data from the UCLA Peer Project, we are testing how retrospective and concurrent reports of peer victimization are related to adolescentsí psychosocial adjustment.

    During my free time, I run. I also love to cook, bake, learn about different grape varietals, and occasionally draw or paint.

    Selected Publications:

    Dunn, A. L., Bechtold, D. W., Parra, L. A., et al. (Under review).  Exercise treatment for depression in adolescents: A dose-response feasibility study. Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity.

    Parra, L. A., Henry E. A., Bryan, D. A., Ito, T. A., (2011, April). Puff, Puff, Pass: Norms and Self-Efficacy Predict Cannabis Use. Poster session presented at the 13th annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, New Orleans, LA.

    Parra. L. A., Kang, S. (2011, April). Attentional Biases to Threat in Young Gay Men. Poster was accepted to the 91st annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

    Kang, S., Coffin, H., Taban, J., Muñoz, M., Gonzalez, J., Espino-Pérez, K., & Parra, L. A. (2010, May). Gender Differences In Detecting Facial Cues for Paternal Investment. Poster session presented at the 22nd annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, MA.

    Kang, S., Parra, L. A., Hyde, K., & Heininger, M. (2010, April). The Emotion Recognition Test: A Thin-Slice Measure of Emotion Recognition. Poster session presented at the 90th annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Cancun, Mexico.

    Parra, L. A., Pérez-Edgar, K., Nelson, K., Cole, C., & Zapp, D. (2009, October). The relationship between attentional control and negative affectivity in young boys’ and girls’ ability to detect threat: Touch the Snake! Paper presented at NIMH COR Colloquium, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    Torres, J., Parra, L. A., Sanchez, E., Miloyan, B., & Abara, J. P. (2009, October). An event-related study of sexual orientation perception. Poster session presented at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL.

    Lyons, C., Shah, T., Koon, G., Parra, L. A., & Abara, J. P. (2009, April). Inhibitory response during an N-back task in persons with schizotipy: An EEG study. Poster session presented at the 89thannual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Portland, OR.

    Parra, L. A., Sanchez, E., Miloyan, B., & Abara, J. P. (2009, April). The relevancy of Non-Target stimuli during a continuous performance task. Poster session presented at the 89th annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Portland, OR.

    Abara, J. P., Shucard D. W., Shucard J. L., & Parra, L. A. (2008, November). The effects of task demands on the contingent negative variation during working memory. Poster session presented at the 38thannual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.

    Sanchez, E., Lyons, C., Parra, L. A., Hagar, J., & Abara, J. P. (2008, November). An event-related potential study during attention tasks of facial and written-word expressions of emotion. Poster session presented at the 38thannual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.