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Student Spotlight

Every couple of months, we highlight a student NEEPSter and their work! If you would like to nominate a student to be featured on this page, please email the student representative Jimmy Moran (

June 2021 Student Spotlight: Riley Loria


Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you in your career? 


I'm a PhD student at CU Boulder and I just finished my first year. I'm a part of the CU Boulder Evolutionary Social Cognition lab, lead by Eric Pedersen. I finished my B.S. in Psychology and Cognitive Studies at Tulane in 2020 (roll wave) and moved on straight to grad school. I'm 23, originally from NOLA, and currently live with more cats than people. 


What are your research interests?


I'm generally interested in evolutionary perspectives on moral emotions and moral decision-making. I'm also broadly interested in both parenthood and religion as behavior and attitude influencers. 


NEEPS 2019 was the first conference that you attended, tell us what you thought? 


NEEPS in 2019 was a super fun and welcoming conference! I gave my first ever data blitz there and got a great deal of helpful feedback and advice. NEEPS is a lovely place to present as a student especially. Everyone was friendly and I was able to see so many interesting presentations!


What did you think of NEEPS? What would you tell a student who is thinking about coming to NEEPS for the first time?


NEEPS is the perfect place for students to gain experience presenting and to have the opportunity to chat with more experienced researchers. It's a welcoming environment to learn about your field.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what you are presenting at NEEPS 2021?

I'll be presenting a project in its early stages that focuses on the role of belief in a punitive afterlife in the relationship between religiosity and outgroup prejudice. You'll have to come to the talk for the rest!

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