Leigh is a 5th year doctoral student in Social Psychology at the University of California at Davis. She earned her M.A. in Human Development in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin, and her M.A. in Social Psychology from UC Davis in 2018. She has also studied Physics and Applied Mathematics extensively, worked in the tech industry, and is very enthusiastic about statistics and data visualization.
Broadly, Leigh’s research sits at the intersection of social and biological psychology. She is particularly interested in how close relationships influence psychological and physiological processes related to health and well-being. She is currently directing a project examining the ways in which social psychological principles can be used to improve the relationship between mental-health practitioners and their clients, where the outcomes of interest are interpersonal in nature (e.g., greater trust and more commitment between clients and clinicians) as well as intra-personal in nature (e.g., increasing the self-efficacy of clients, reducing the psychological burnout of providers, improving stress reactivity in both).
As a biracial woman in STEM, Leigh is dedicated to providing professional and academic mentorship to young men and women of color, and currently supervises a talented team of undergraduates studying psychology, neuroscience, and communications. You can learn more about this research team here.
Smith, L.K. & Wissel, E.F. (in press). Microbes and the mind: How bacteria shape affect, neurological processes, cognition, social relationships, development, and pathology. Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Ledgerwood, A., Eastwick, P. W., & Smith, L. K. (in press). Toward an integrative framework for studying human evaluation: Attitudes towards objects and attributes. Personality and Social Psychology Review. [Download Article]
Winking, J., Eastwick, P. W., Smith, L. K., & Koster, J. (in press). Applicability of the investment model scale in a natural fertility population. Personal Relationships. [Download Article]
Eastwick, P. W., & Smith, L. K. (2018). Sex-differentiated effects of physical attractiveness on romantic desire: A highly powered, preregistered study in a photograph evaluation context. Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology. [Download Article] [Data]
Bales, K.L., Arias del Razo, R., Conklin, Q.A., Hartman, S., Mayer, H.S., Rogers, F.D., Simmons, T.C., Smith L.K., Williams, A, Williams, D.R., Witczak, L.R. & Wright, E.C. (2017). Titi monkeys as a novel non-human primate model for the neurobiology of pair bonding. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.
Boothby, E. J., Smith, L.K., Clark, M. S., & Bargh, J. A. (2017). The world looks better together: How close others enhance our visual experiences. Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1111/pere.12201
Boothby, E J., Smith, L.K., Clark, M.S., & Bargh, J.A. (2016). Psychological distance moderates the amplification of shared experience. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(10), 1431-1444.
Smith, L.K.*, Wardecker, B.*, Edelstein, R., Loving, T.J. (2015). Intimate relationships then and now: How old hormonal processes are influenced by our modern psychology. Adaptive Human Behavior & Physiology. 1-24 DOI: 10.1007/s40750-015-0021-9 *Denotes co-first authorship.