Maital Neta

Phone: (402) 472-3646

Dr. Neta is the Director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Dartmouth College in 2010, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology at Washington University.

Dr. Neta is now the Happold Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior (CB3). Her research capitalizes on a number of methods from psychology and neuroscience to examine ambiguity resolution in the domain of emotional facial expressions. Specifically, although some expressions provide clear predictive information that something good (e.g., happy) or bad (e.g., angry) will happen, other expressions, like surprise, have predicted both positive (e.g., birthday party) and negative (e.g., car accident) events for us in the past. When presented in the absence of contextual information, these ambiguously valenced expressions can be used to delineate a valence bias: ambiguous stimuli are stably interpreted negatively by some people and positively by others. The working hypothesis in the lab is that positivity requires regulation.

Her work is funded in part by an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health and an NSF CAREER Award. She has received multiple academic achievement awards, including being selected as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Outstanding Research and Creative Activities Award, and the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award. She serves as President-Elect of the Society for Affective Science, is a standing member of the Human Complex Mental Functions NIH study section, and serves as Consulting Editor for Emotion, Affective Science, and Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.

For more information, see

Post-doctoral Researchers

Jordan E. Pierce


Jordan joined the lab in November 2020. She received her PhD from the University of Georgia in 2016 and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Geneva, Switzerland from 2016-2020. Her research has utilized eye tracking and neuroimaging to study visual attention and emotion in clinical and healthy populations and to investigate mechanisms of neurocognitive plasticity. Her current work in the lab focuses on emotion valence bias in face processing and regulating emotional responses in healthy individuals across the lifespan using fMRI. (CV)

Graduate Students

Johannah Bashford-Largo


Johannah is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology’s Neuroscience & Behavior program. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BA in Psychology and a minor in music in 2013. She then earned her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2018 at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Upon returning to Nebraska, she worked under Dr. James Blair and Dr. Karina Blair at the Center for Neurobehavioral Research located at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Her research uses multimodal imaging methods to study disruptions in the brain and how they associate with various mental health disorders.



Lab Managers

Macey Grisso


Macey joined the lab in May of 2022. She graduated from Longwood University with a B.S. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she worked on an independent study investigating the relationship between emotional granularity and children of divorce. She is interested in further exploring the concept of emotional granularity. Her CV is available upon request.




Grace Kupka


Grace joined the lab in July of 2022. She graduated from Hamilton College with a B. A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she completed a self-directed thesis on the influence of sibling relationships on self-esteem and attachment security in adulthood. Grace is interested in how different environmental influences in childhood impact social-emotional development, including emotion regulation, and valence bias. Her CV is available upon request.




Ashley Humphries


Ashley joined the lab in May of 2023. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S.A in Neuroscience and an Evidence and Inquiry certificate. As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Alison Preston’s Cognitive Neuroscience lab and investigated how social rejection can affect memory processes. Ashley is broadly interested in emotion regulation, cognitive reappraisals, and social relationships. Her CV is available upon request.



Undergraduate Research Assistants
Isabel Sigmon

Isabel Sigmon is a third-year undergraduate getting her B.A. in psychology. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Neuropsychology after completing her undergraduate education. She hopes to become a professor and running studies on neural pathways in the bipolar brain and possible ways of assisting in strengthening superior pathways. 

Emily Hearn 
Jenny Nguyen

Jenny Nguyen is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business Administration. After pursing a bachelor's degree in psychology, she is planning to attend graduate school to pursue a master's degree in educational psychology. Far in the future, she also hopes to get a Ph.D. in psychology to become a professor. 

Jaylen Starks

Jaylen is a 4th year undergraduate student majoring in Nutrition, Exercise and Health Sciences. After his bachelors degree he is planning on attending graduate school and obtaining a masters degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology to specialize in cardiac rehabilitation.

Kaylee Donner


Lab Alumni

Carlie Cahoy - Former research assistant

Eisha Haque - Former lab manager, currently a Ph.D. student at Columbia University 

Becca Walker - Former research assistant

Tabitha Ristvedt - Former research assistant, currently a Ph.D. student student at the University of Texas - Dallas

Jenna Kramer - Former research assistant

Jake Vogel - Former research assistant

Lauren Anderson - Former research assistant

Liv O'Clair - Former research assistant

Nicholas Harp - Former graduate student, currently a postdoc at Yale University.

Lauren Chan - Former lab manager

Nathan Petro - Former postdoctoral fellow, currently a postdoc at Boys Town National Research Hospital.

Kayla Clark - Former lab manager, currently a Ph.D. student at Rice University.

Jada Loro - Former research assistant, currently a M.P.H. student at Washington University.

Ava Landis - Former research assistant

Lauren Unruh - Former research assistant, currently working full-time as a behavioral health technician.

Catie Brown - Former graduate student, currently a UX Researcher at Buildertrend in Omaha.

Daniel Henley - Former lab manager, currently a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University. 

Tien Tong - Former lab manager, currently a postdoc at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai. 

Ruby Basyouni - Former lab manager, currently a Ph.D. student at University of California, Los Angeles.

Maggie Rempe - Former research assistant, currently a MD-Ph.D. Scholar in the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medicine.

Nathan Pettid - Former research assistant, currently a Ph.D. student at Colorado State University.

In loving memory of former mentor, Dave Bucci (1968-2019)

Lab Photos!

Fall 2023

The lab celebrates Halloween!

Left to right: Macey Grisso, Doug Schultz, Jordan Pierce, Isabel Sigmon, Ashley Humphries, Grace Kupka, Maital Neta

Summer 2023

The lab gets together for ice cream!

Starting from the back (left to right): Jordan Pierce, Isabel Sigmon, Grace Kupka, Tabitha Ristvedt, Jay Schalk, Eisha Haque, Macey Grisso, Maital Neta

Summer 2022

The lab tries an escape room!
Left to right: Maital Neta, Eisha Haque, Jordan Pierce, Jay Schalk, Nick Harp

Winter 2021

The lab gets together for drinks!
Back row (left to right): Eisha Haque, Jay Schalk, Nick Harp
Front row (left to right): Johannah (Jo) Bashford-Largo, Jordan Pierce, Maital Neta

Spring 2021

The lab gets together for pizza!
Left to right: Kayla Clark, Jordan Pierce, Nick Harp, Nate Petro, Alli Dunne, Jay Schalk, Danielle Clark

Fall 2020

The lab gets together for pumpkin carving!
Back row (left to right): Nick Harp, Kayla Clark, Jay Schalk
Front row (left to right): Alli Dunne, Johannah (Jo) Bashford-Largo, Lauren Chan, Nate Petro

Spring 2019

The lab celebrates Maital's tenure!

Fall 2018

Back row from left: Nathan Petro, Joshua Jolton, Nick Harp
Middle row from left: Catie Brown, Ruby Basyouni, Claudia Clinchard, Nathan Pettid 
Front row from left: Maital Neta, Bethany Mahan

Summer 2018

Lab members, friends, and family welcome lab manager Ruby Basyouni (3rd from left) and bid farewell to fomer lab manager Dan Henley (far right).  

Fall 2017 semester

Back row from left: Nathan Pettid (undergraduate), Autumn Dern (undergraduate), Dan Henley (Lab Manager: CAN Lab), Jake Derby (undergraduate)
Middle row from left: Maggie Rempe (undergraduate), Tina Javidi (undergraduate), Kaitlyn Winter (undergraduate), Nick Harp (graduate student), KayLee Flower (undergraduate)
Front row from left: Krupa Patel (undergraduate), Maital Neta (PI: Director of CAN Lab), Sara Cipolla (undergraduate), Catie Brown (graduate student), Saisha Adhikari (undergraduate)

Our kick-off party at Maital's house (Fall 2017)

Our end-of-the-year lab meeting (Spring 2015)

Back row from left: Alex Enersen (undergraduate), Ryan Kirkpatrick (undergraduate), Alex Wasserman (graduate student in Adolescent Development Lab), Elaina Montague (graduate student in Serious Mental Illness Research Group), Maital Neta (PI: Director of CAN Lab)
Front row from left: Michaela Frenzel (undergraduate), Aaron Hoagland (undergraduate), Tien Tong (Lab Manager: CAN Lab), Carley Beinlich (undergraduate)