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Understanding Behavior: From Neurons to Societies

Mayra Bámaca-Colbert

Mayra Bámaca-Colbert
Professional Title: 
Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology
SSM 364A
Dr. Bámaca-Colbert is an immigrant scholar who emigrated from Guatemala at the age of 16. Her research is guided by developmental, ecological, and culturally informed frameworks to examine processes and mechanisms by which individual (e.g., age, puberty), cultural (e.g., acculturation), and contextual (parents, peers, neighborhoods, discrimination) factors inform behavioral and adjustment outcomes of ethnic-racial minoritized youth, with an emphasis on Latino/a/xs. Central to her work is investigating adolescent experiences within family ecologies paying attention to the embeddeness of family processes (parenting, parent-child relationship) in cultural and contextual realities. Also, Dr. Bámaca-Colbert’s work aims to understand how salient developmental processes in adolescence such as puberty and autonomy shape relational processes within immigrant family contexts. Her most recent work expands beyond the family ecology to have a more complete understanding of Latinx youth’s development in context by including peer and neighborhood contexts. She recently completed a pilot study in Pennsylvania implementing Ecological Momentary Assessments (i.e., 3 daily surveys for 10 days) to learn about daily experiences of Latinx youths with parents, peers, and surrounding environments (e.g., exposure to violence). At UC Merced she plans to expand her work to investigate not only the period of adolescence but also middle childhood experiences within families and school contexts. Dr. Bámaca-Colbert will accept Ph.D. students to start fall 2021.