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August 2015 - May 2021

Ph.D. University of North Texas

Behavioral Science
Dissertation: Neurociencia Bicultural: Testing the Effects of Culture on Recognition Memory in Bicultural Latinxs

August 2015 - December 2018

M.S. University of North Texas

August 2011 - December 2014

B.A. University of Texas Permian Basin



Jin, L., Wang, C. D., Bismar, D., Carbajal, I., & Zhu, W. (in press).

A decolonial perspective of collective coping in the adult attachment and life satisfaction link

This study examined the relationships of adult attachment, cognitive flexibility, culturally adaptive coping, and psychological wellbeing of college students. When one encounters threat, our attachment system will be activated, which will guide one’s internal working model to cope with stress and regulate emotions (Shaver and Mikulincer, 2006). Researchers have stated that individuals with positive working model of self (low attachment anxiety) and others (low attachment avoidance) tended to experience greater wellbeing (Wang & Mallinckrodt, 2006). Hence, attachment impact stress appraisals and coping strategy as one’s activated attachment system may affect one to utilize dominant coping strategy (Alexander, Feeney, Hohaus, & Noller, 2001; Cassidy & Kobak, 1988). With that regards, coping strategy was heavily influenced by one’s cultural value (Heppner et al., 2006); for example, collectivist culture tend to value emotional restraint, maintenance of interpersonal harmony (Kim & Omizo, 2005), whereas individualist culture may focus on autonomy, future orientation, and mastery of the environment (Sue & Sue, 2003). In this study, we examined how attachment system can guide one to cope with stress by endorsing culturally sensitive coping strategy, which can lead to wellbeing accordingly. In addition, we identified that cognitive flexibility (CF) will serve as another mediator for the attachment àcoping à well-being link, because high CF can help one to adapt to changes and minimize the potential stress and conflict (Martin & Rubin, 1995). Based on the theoretical reasoning, we propose that adult attachment can lead to one’s CF, which will help one to utilize culturally sensitive coping to predict their mental wellbeing consequently.  The data was collected from a large public university in the Southwestern United States. A total number of 322 college students (87male, 234 female, 1 transgender) with a mean age 20.83 (SD=3.80) participated in study. Keywords: attachment, cognitive flexibility, culturally sensitive coping, life satisfaction, collectivism, individualism.

Coming Soon

Bradford, D. E., DeFalco, A., Perkins, E., Carbajal, I., Kwasa, J., Goodman, F. R., … Joyner, K.

Whose Signals Are We Amplifying? Towards a More Equitable Clinical Psychophysiology

Research using psychophysiological methods holds great promise for refining clinical assessment, identifying risk factors, and informing treatment. Unfortunately, unique methodological features of existing approaches limit inclusive research participation and, consequently, generalizability. This brief overview and commentary provides a snapshot of the current state of representation in clinical psychophysiology, with a focus on the forms and consequences of ongoing exclusion of Black participants. We illustrate issues of inequity and exclusion that are unique to clinical psychophysiology, considering intersections among social constructions of Blackness and biased design of current technology used to measure electroencephalography, skin conductance, and other signals. We then highlight work by groups dedicated to quantifying and addressing these limitations. We discuss the need for reflection and input from a wider variety of stakeholders to develop and refine new technologies, given the risk of further widening disparities. Finally, we provide broad recommendations for clinical psychophysiology research.

Wang, C. D., Carbajal, I., et al. (2021)

Adult attachment, acculturation, acculturative stress, and psychological distress of first-generation Latinx Immigrants

This study examined the unique and joint influences of adult attachment insecurity, acculturation, and acculturative stress on first-generation Latinx immigrants’ psychological outcome. Guided by adult attachment and acculturation theory, a conceptual model was developed to depict the mediational relations among the variables of interest. A sample of 148 first-generation Latinx or Hispanic immigrants completed the research questionnaires. The findings from path analysis indicated that first-generation immigrants with high adult attachment insecurity were likely to have a lower acculturation level, which in turn, was associated with more acculturative stress and greater psychological distress. In addition to the indirect effects through acculturation and acculturative stress, the final model suggested that attachment avoidance had a significant direct effect on acculturative stress while attachment anxiety had a direct effect on psychological distress. Counseling implications of this study’s findings include the importance of assessing first-generation immigrant Latinx clients' adult attachment styles and acculturation experiences as well as developing prevention, self-care, and stress coping strategies to increase their intercultural competencies.

Carbajal, I. (2021)

They called diversity a nuisance variable.

In this chapter, the author describes how an incident in his graduate program sparked a series of changes within himself and the department. The author writes about the turmoil and challenges of being a first-generation college and Mexican-American in a predominantly White graduate program. As the author describes his experiences, he reflects on how academia had convinced him that because he was Latino that he could not study Latinos and be taken seriously. He finds his way out of these internalized beliefs through advocacy, friendship, allyship, and, finally, meeting a faculty member that looked like him. The author ultimately leaves the reader with a lasting lesson to never lose who they are.

Published in: Templeton, E.; Love, B.H.; Johnson, O. (Eds.), Elevating Marginalized Voices in Academe: Lessons for a New Generation of Scholars. Routledge.

Shelton, A., Wang, D.C., & Carbajal, I., (2020)

Attachment and wellness among Latinx Immigrants: Meaning in life, belonging, and hope as mediators

This study examined a conceptual model depicting the direct and indirect relationships between attachment insecurity, state hope, belongingness, meaning in life (MIL), and three wellness indicators (i.e., life satisfaction, physical health, and depression) of first-generation Latinx immigrants in the United States. Results of structural equation modeling analysis showed adequate model fit with the data from a sample of 288 individuals. The final model indicated that the link between comfort-seeking attachment and wellness was fully mediated by hope, belongingness, and MIL; the relation between anxious-distancing attachment and wellness was fully mediated by belongingness and MIL but not hope. Specifically, participants with high levels of attachment security reported greater wellness via experiencing a stronger sense of belonging, state hope, and MIL. We discuss future directions and implications for counseling and theory from an attachment theory, positive psychology, and immigration perspective.

Carbajal, I., O’Neil J. T., Palumbo, R.T., Voss, J.L., & Ryals, A.J. (2019).

Visual memory and feeling-of-knowing (FOK) accuracy improved following prefrontal theta-burst stimulation.

Our primary objective was to determine if theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (TBS) to prefrontal cortex modulates visual memory accuracy, visual memory awareness, or both, and whether these effects depend on brain hemisphere.

Carbajal, I., Mlynski, C., Willson, K., Gillis, K., & Wright, R. (2019).

Circadian mismatch and cardiovascular response to a performance challenge: Larks in morning and evening work sessions.

We presented morning chronotype (“Lark”) university undergraduate volunteers a more or less difficult Sternberg-type recognition memory task either in the morning (8–11 am) or in the evening (5–8 pm) with instructions that they could win a prize if they were 85% successful. We established morning chronotype using the Composite Scale for Morningness (Smith et al., 1989), employing a tertile split on a pool of scale scores that ranged from 13 (extreme eveningness) to 55 (extreme morningness). Participants had scores above 37, with most participants identifying as White/Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, or Black/African-American. Among women (final sample n = 81), systolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure responses assessed during work formed a crossover pattern, being positively correspondent to difficulty in the morning but negatively correspondent to difficulty in the evening. Heart rate and heart pre-ejection period responses ran parallel in the morning but not the evening. Among men (final sample n = 41), cardiovascular responses differed neither with difficulty nor with time. Findings for women support the extension of a recent analysis of fatigue influence on effort and associated cardiovascular responses to the phenomenon of circadian mismatch. Findings for men do not support the extension but should be interpreted guardedly in light of prohibitively low cell ns and unexpected findings on key subjective measures

Kneeling Protestors

James Baldwin

"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have."

Scheduled Teaching

Oregon State University

Fall 2021

Psychology of Race and Racism

Introduces psychological theories and concepts pertaining to different racial groups in the United States. Explores the history of racism in the U.S. and its psychological effect on racial identity and the intersections of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, social class, and nationality. Develops cultural competence to prepare students to live and work with individuals from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds.

Teaching Philosophy

Community, Rapport, & Inclusivity

It was not until graduate school that I had a professor that looked like me. The initial excitement of finally seeing myself reflected in someone who was in a position to educate others was gradually replaced by a sense of awe for the way in which my professor effectively translated her Latinx identity into pedagogy. It was by her example that I began shaping my own identity and core values as an instructor. I view interdependence and student-centered techniques as the cornerstones of my teaching philosophy. Creating learning environments where the instructor genuinely cares for their students’ well-being and respects their identities as diverse human beings transforms traditional learning experiences into moments of personal growth. I achieve such learning environments through three key values: community, rapport building, and inclusivity.

Transforming the classroom into a community develops a sense of solidarity amongst the students. Solidarity is important in the classroom because it bonds students together and turns the classroom into a safe learning environment. Fostering these environments creates trust amongst the students and me, the instructor, where they hold each other accountable for the classwork and feel comfortable giving honest feedback to me on the course. This all creates a community in the classroom where we all depend on each other to create an optimal learning environment based on trust and open communication.

A big part of maintaining a community is building rapport with students. This is essential in order to have engaging conversations and discussions over the course material. Furthermore, good rapport with the students is essential in building trust in the classroom, which lets them know I care about their learning and their general well-being. I recognize that if students are struggling outside of class they will not excel in the classroom. So, I make it a point in my class to check-in with my students at various points in the semester to see how they are doing unrelated to the course and give them appropriate resources to tend to their well-being. In having students feel comfortable with me, I get crucial and honest feedback from them about where I can improve their experience in my course. On top of honest feedback, rapport building with students also helps me tailor my lectures and activities to their specific interests and needs—mainly the applicability of the subject material to their life outside the classroom.

Inclusivity in my classroom is founded on the principles of social justice, those of equity and representation, and is important to me because I can use my identity to inform and broaden my student’s learning experience. Equity in my courses means recognizing not all students learn in the same way—some may grasp concepts faster than others, and some students fall behind—and striving to ensure every student has a chance for success. Representation in my courses means you too get to see yourself in the subject material. This has taken many forms throughout my courses, broadly through lectures on racial, ethnic, and sexual identity development and more specifically through guest lectures from psychologists of underrepresented backgrounds (e.g., disability research, forensic psychology). I have witnessed how just my presence in the classroom has given students hope to pursue careers in higher education, and that, to me, is demonstrative of why inclusivity in the classroom is vital.

I care about my students and I aim to make courses an experience that goes beyond the subject material. In creating learning environments that emphasize student’s needs, I have developed a passion for teaching that focuses on students. My hope as an instructor is that my students get to see parts of themselves in me, just as I did with mine, and that will encourage them to do the same for future generations.

Image by Unseen Studio


Mentorship is a critical part of my professional identity. My mentorship style is based on a scaffolding approach in which I initially help students professionally and personally acclimate to academia through weekly meetings to check-in on progress and adjustment. As we start to develop projects together, I become actively involved in guiding research theory and methodology. As my mentees become more comfortable and experienced, I start to give them full autonomy with support and guidance as needed. My goals as a mentor are to provide my students the necessary tools and confidence to become successful researchers. I want to encourage my mentees to push the boundaries of my research and to come up with ideas that are novel and that expand my knowledge and understanding.

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