Gloriana Rodriguez-Arauz

Graduate Student, Social Psychology (Affiliate)

Research Overview

Broadly, my research interests revolve around how cultural contexts basic human needs, such as sexual and eating behavior.
My most recent project explores the influence of food parenting behaviors (e.g., pressure to eat) on weight gain in children in Euro-American and Latino families. In this project, audio data on naturally-occurring food parenting behaviors is collected with a specialized recording device. I hypothesize that Latino parents might pressure their kids to eat more than Euro-American families which, in turn might lead to higher weight in children.
Previously, I explored differences in food attitudes between Costa Rica and the U.S. and how these variations might affect well-being. I discovered that Costa Ricans visualize their food in a pleasure-oriented way compared to Americans. I found that for Costa Ricans, having a more positive food attitudes might be linked to less depressive symptoms.
In an earlier project, I explored the definitions of sexual behavior (e.g., behaviors included in the phrase “having sex”) between the U.S. and Costa Rica. I found that certain behaviors such as foreplay and oral sex are considered more often as sex by Costa Ricans than by Americans. I explained the findings in terms of the influence of individualism and collectivism.


2018 Ph.D. in Social Psychology (expected), University of Connecticut
2010 M. A. in General Psychology, Health Psychology concentration, Central Connecticut State University
2007 B.A. in Psychology, University of Costa Rica
2003 B.A. in Sociology, University of Costa Rica

Featured Publications

Rodríguez Arauz, G., Ramírez Esparza, N., Boyd, R., & Pérez-Brena, N. (2017). Hablo Inglés y Español: Cultural Self-Schemas as a Function of Language, Frontiers in Psychology, 8(885), 1-15, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00885
Rodríguez Arauz, G., & Ramírez-Esparza, N. (2017). Food parenting practices, healthy eating and objective measures of body composition in pre-school children. Actualidades en Psicología, 31(122), 61-73, doi:
Rodríguez-Arauz, G., Ramírez Esparza, N., & Castro Smith, V. (2016) Food Attitudes and Well-Being: the Role of Culture. Appetite, 105, 180-188,
Harris, J., Fleming-Milici, F., Frazier, W., Haraguey, K., Kalnova, S., Romo-Palafox, M., Seymour, N., Rodríguez-Arauz, G., & Schwartz, M.B. (2016). Baby Food Facts 2016: Nutrition and marketing of baby and toddler food and drinks. UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, available at
Raventós, H., Contreras, J., Rodríguez-Arauz, G. & Leandro, M. (2014). Call for change in mental health research funding priorities: the example of Costa Rica. Pan-American Journal of Public Health, 36(4), 266-269
Rodríguez-Arauz, G., Mealy, M., Smith, V. & Diplacido, J. (2012) Sex and Sexual Behavior in Costa Rica and the United States. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37, 48-57

Contact Information
Mailing AddressBousfield Psychology Building
406 Babbidge Road
Storrs, CT 06269