WHAT WE DO
HeadsUP develops innovative, theory-driven, cutting edge solutions to better understand normative antecedents of alcohol and other drug use in high-risk populations & digitally intervene to reduce risks among young adults, college students, and sexual minorities.
HOW WE DO IT
We're passionate about leveraging popular social media features and game mechanics in culturally tailored mHealth interventions in order to increase appeal and efficacy.
We're also applying machine learning to better understand how alcohol use is portrayed and potentially influences college students alcohol-related cognitions (norms, expectancies) on popular social media sites.
Formative research and intervention development in our lab commonly draw upon social norms, self-determination, and self-categorization theories
MEET THE TEAM
Joseph W. LaBrie, PhD
Founder & Co-Director
Joe (he/his) is a professor of psychology and a nationally recognized scholar in the domains of college student development and social norms based-health promotion. Much of his research has focused on increasing the efficacy and scalability of normative feedback student and parent-based alcohol interventions through the development of technologically advanced, interactive intervention formats for individuals and groups. In addition to this work, Dr. LaBrie has published a number of oft-cited papers investigating hot button issues on college campuses including pre-partying/pre-gaming, cannabis use, hook-up culture, social media-related influences on substance use, intervention gamification, and helicopter parenting. A community leader and former Jesuit priest, Joe holds a doctorate in clinical psychology as well as masters degrees in mathematics and theology. He is also the recipient of multiple federal research grants and numerous awards, including the American Psychological Associations Early Career Research Award and two LMU faculty awards, the Rains Award for Research Excellence and the Extramural Funding Award. In his spare time Joe enjoys international travel, entertaining, and walking around his favorite Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Google Scholar Profile
Sarah C. Boyle, MS, MA, PhD Candidate
Sarah (she/hers) is an Applied Social Psychologist who studies relationships between social media use, perceptions of peer norms, and health-risk behaviors including alcohol and other drug use among college students and sexual minority adults. With the goal of designing far-reaching and scalable substance use interventions that have real appeal to members of target communities, her work aims to integrate popular social media features and digital game mechanics into culturally tailored, web- and smartphone-based interventions. Sarah is currently finishing her dissertation which examines the efficacy of a novel gamified normative feedback alcohol intervention for sexual minority women and longitudinally investigates nuanced relationships between stigma-related stress, perceptions of drinking norms, and alcohol use. A native of Cleveland, OH, and former college basketball player, Sarah is a huge fan of working out, grant-writing, small dogs, statistical tattoos, elegant hybrid trial designs, and the Cleveland Cavaliers (yes- even post-Lebron).
Eason (he/him) is a graduate of Belmont University with a B.S. in Psychology. While his previous academic and professional work has been broad in scope, he has a primary interest in designing effective treatments and interventions to best help serve the needs of sensitive populations. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in the coming years, through which he hopes to utilize research to develop more effective ways to conduct clinical practice. Originally hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Eason is an avid musician, video game enthusiast, lover of the LA food scene, and a passionate supporter of his favorite soccer team (Tottenham Hotspur)!
Sunny (they/she) is a recent UC Berkeley graduate with a B.A in Cognitive Science interested in the role of social media and digital technology in mental health, health-risk behaviors, and general perception of the world around us. They hope to lead research in how digital technology is changing our consciousness and our relationship to the world, but before that, hope to get a Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology or Social Psychology. Raised in Koreatown, Los Angeles, Sunny is an avid anime fan, photographer, and local tall person who enjoys getting random tattoos, reading existentialist books, and laughing at Twitter memes.
Reanna (she/her) is a recent LMU graduate with a B.A. in Psychology. She is interested in brain function and social-cognitive processes, specifically the neural mechanisms involved in decision making and social interactions. Ultimately, she wants to study how experience alters brain function and behavior. Raised in Crystal Lake, Illinois, Reanna loves kids, yoga sculpt, and HIIT.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Griffin (he/his) is a Sophomore Psychology and Economics (B.S.) double major with a minor in The Classics and Archaeology. His goal is to get a Doctorate in Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology and do research of his own. From Roseville, CA, Griffin loves reading, games, being outside, and learning about obscure topics.
Kyle (he/his) is a Junior Psychology major in his third year as a HeadsUP! research assistant. Following graduation, he hopes to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Kyle is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and during his free time he enjoys playing the flute, working out, and riding scooters.
Ivonne (she/her) is a Junior Psychology major with a double minor in Women and Gender Studies and Political Science. Ultimately, she hopes to pursue a career in the law field and be a voice for those who lack one in this country. Raised in Murrieta, CA, Ivonne loves to spend her time outdoors in the warm weather and enjoys reading, traveling, and binge-watching Netflix.
Michael (he/his) is a Senior Computer Science student. He works to develop apps and applications of artificial intelligence for the HeadsUP! Lab. He has done independent research projects in the fields of game theory and causal inference. When he isn't writing code, Michael is a lifeguard on the Jersey Shore.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health
from the HeadsUP Team
Normative antecedents to substance use among sexual minorities: A scoping review
Psychology of Sexual Orientation &
Gender Diversity (2020)
Leveraging copresence to increase the effectiveness of gamified personalized normative feedback
Addictive Behaviors (2019)
Heavy episodic drinking is associated with poorer bone health in adolescent and young adult women
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (2018)
How exposure to peers' alcohol-related social media content influences drinking among male and female first-year college students.
Addictive Behaviors (2017)
Increasing chance-based uncertainty reduces heavy drinkers’ cognitive reactance to web-based personalized normative feedback
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (2018)
A parent-based intervention reduces heavy episodic drinking among first-year college students
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (2016)
In pursuit of a self-sustaining college alcohol intervention: Deploying gamified PNF in the real world
Addictive Behaviors (2018)
Perceptions of LGB peers' use of alcohol and other drugs to cope and sexual minority adults' own coping motivated substance use following the Pulse nightclub shooting
Examining interactions within the theory of planned behavior in the prediction of intentions to engage in cannabis-related driving behaviors
American Journal of College Health (2019)
IN THE NEWS
Media coverage of HeadsUP Research
U.S. News & World Report
The glamorization of alcohol on social media can lead to underage alcohol abuse
‘Safe’ teen drinking? Here’s why parents shouldn’t facilitate it
The Washington Post
The Huffington Post
Here Are All The Drinking Games Being Played On College Campuses
with research inquiries and collaboration opportunities
Department of Psychology
University Hall, Suite 4711
1 LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045