D. A. Briley

​D. A. Briley is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their research focuses on the development of personality, socioemotional skills, and academic achievement. The goal of this research is to better understand the pathways that children, adolescents, and adults can follow to obtain desired goals in the domains of health, career, and relationship success. To accomplish this goal, they examine the complex interconnections between genetic influences and environmental context. This work has demonstrated how the unique dispositions of individuals dynamically shape and interact with their environments, and how this process guides development. Dr. Briley’s recent work has centered on the connection between life events and personality change and how individuals construct identities across the life course.


Former Members

Dr. Anqing Zheng

​Anqing Zheng completed the doctoral program in the Personality Psychology division at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2021. Her research is centered on personality development, using methodologies including behavior genetic models, longitudinal design, multi-level modeling and machine-learning approach to answer questions about how people change, why they change, and what are the outcomes of those changes. She is also interested in alternative method to document personality change beyond the widely adapted self-report questionnaires. When she is outside of work, she enjoys the development of personality in friendship dyads, especially with her cat. Currently, she is completing a post-doctoral position at the University of California – Riverside. Her personal website is accessible here:


Dr. Randi Vogt

Randi Vogt completed a doctoral degree in Social-Personality Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2022. Her research focuses on the individual difference predictors and behavioral outcomes of overconfidence/non-ability-based confidence. In her work, she uses a variety of methods, including longitudinal secondary data, twin studies, meta-analysis, and experiments. Her other research interests include the influence of overconfident individuals on team dynamics. She works with D. A. Briley and Dan Newman of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Joey Cheng of York University. In her free time, Randi likes cheering on her hometown sports teams — the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and the New England Patriots. Currently, she is completing a post-doctoral position at Geisinger Health Institute.


Dr. Ben White

​Ben completed the Psychology doctoral program in 2021. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS in Psychological Sciences. He is interested in how attitudes, emotions, personality, and environmental factors influence behavior and decision-making in health domains and how interventions can be  tailored around these factors to improve their efficacy. Ben has taken the skills he gained at UIUC to industry positions related to market research.






Ashley Serna

Ashley joined the PAC Lab in fall 2019 and served as lab manager for multiple years. She is from Westmont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She is currently a junior in Clinical/Community Psychology and Spanish. Ashley’s research interests include cultural differences in the way that developmental psychopathology is viewed and treated. In the future, she hopes to be able to combine both her majors and become a Child Psychologist who provides services to Spanish-speaking communities. Outside of psychology and research, Ashley enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and watching Netflix.