Jaime Castrellon, who will join UCLA this July as an assistant professor of psychology, has been named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. 

The APS Rising Star designation recognizes researchers in the earliest stages of their post-doctoral careers whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions. Castrellon, who will have an affiliation with the Chicano Studies Research Center, was hired through the Chancellor’s Hispanic-Serving Institution faculty hiring initiative.

“I feel very honored to be recognized among a group of promising psychological scientists. This designation is encouraging as I launch my research program at UCLA to investigate exciting questions about the way humans make decisions,” Castrellon said.

His research program is focused on understanding the neural and behavioral factors that shape how people learn, value and motivate themselves to pursue different kinds of rewards. These investigations integrate brain imaging, pharmacology and behavioral economics to understand the basic mechanisms of social and emotional drivers of decision-making in daily life. 

He completed his doctoral degree in psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, where he investigated the role of dopamine in reward valuation and decision-making. He then conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied how humans integrate social information like stereotypes in their decisions. Prior to graduate school, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and political science from the University of Southern California.