Nairán Ramírez-Esparza, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology (Affiliate)

Research Overview

My research focuses on the intersection of culture, language, and health drawing on a variety of methods, analyses, and theoretical approaches. I have used bilingual/cultural designs, item-bias analyses, qualitative/quantitative designs, recording devices to capture everyday behaviors, and text analytic tools to complement the traditional self-report strategies commonly used in social psychology. For example by using text analytic tools like the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count and the Meaning Extraction Method, I found that moods and feelings influence the way people use language. People who are depressed tend to use the word “I” at a greater rate than non-depressed people and this finding replicates in depressed Spanish-speaking individuals.

I am currently pursuing projects that attempt to understand and reduce health disparities in children and adults from monolingual and bilingual households. For example, one project will analyze how disparities in language development among low-income families can be reduced by instructing parents to have qualitative conversations with their children. My second project will analyze how disparities in healthy eating behaviors among low-income Latinos living in the U.S. can be understood by analyzing the social context in which eating behaviors occur.

As part of a project funded by the University of Connecticut Research Foundation Faculty Grant, I am looking at the implications of social interactions among Latinos on well-being. Are there social advantages to being Latino? Do family values in Latinos have an impact on life satisfaction?


2007, Ph.D. in Social Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin
2000, M.A. in Social Psychology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
1996, B.A. in Psychology, Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Mexico

Recent Publications

Contact Information
Mailing AddressDepartment of Psychology
406 Babbidge Road, Unit 1020
Storrs, CT 06269-1020
Office LocationBousfield Building, Room 181