Thalia R Goldstein

Thalia R Goldstein

Thalia R Goldstein

Assistant Professor

Applied Developmental Psychology: Developmental Psychology; Social Cognitive Development; Social and Emotional Learning; Play, Pretend, Imagination; Theatre, Drama and The Arts

Dr. Thalia R. Goldstein is Assistant Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology. Her work focuses on children's developing social and emotional skills, particularly theory of mind, empathy, and emotional control and regulation, and how such skills intersect with children's engagement in pretend play, theatre, drama, and other imaginative activities. She directs the SSIT lab (The Social Skills, Imagination, and Theatre Lab), which conducts research that looks both at the effects of engaging in pretend play and theatre on children's social-emotional skills, and how children understanding social information in fictional worlds. She is also the co-director of the National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab, the Mason Arts Research Center (MasonARC). 

Dr. Goldstein received a Ph.D. in Developmental psychology in 2010 from Boston College. She completed post-doctoral training at Yale University from 2010-2012. Following this, she moved to Pace University, where she was assistant professor from 2013-2017.  Dr. Goldstein's research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The John Templeton Foundation, Arts Connection, and the Department of Homeland Security. Her papers have appeared in Child Development, Trends in Cognitive Science, Journal of Cognition and Development, and Developmental Science, among others. Dr. Goldstein serves on the editorial boards of the journals Empirical Studies in the Arts and Imagination Cognition and Personality, and since 2017, she has been editor of the APA Division 10 Journal, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. 

Current Research

Dr. Goldstein's current research includes projects on what implicit and explicit teaching strategies the very best acting teachers use with high school students to improve their social and emotional knowledge; How varying levels of embodiment and representation improve children's learning and retention of social and factual information in pretend play; and how a musical theatre program in school can help middle school students with Autism Spectrum Disorders improve their social and communication skills. For more information on Dr. Goldstein's research, please visit her lab website (ssit.gmu.edu).

Selected Publications

Goldstein, T.R. & Alperson, K. (in press). Dancing bears and talking toasters: A content analysis of supernatural elements in children’s media. Psychology of Popular Media

Goldstein, T.R. & Lerner, M. (2018) Dramatic Pretend Play Games Uniquely Improve Emotional Control in Young Children. Developmental Science. Doi 10.1111/desc.12603

Goldstein, T.R. (2017). Live theatre as exception and test case for experiencing negative emotions in art. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X17001704

Goldstein, T. R., Lerner, M., D., & Winner, E. (2017). The arts as a venue for developmental science: Realizing a latent opportunity. Child Development, 88, 1505-1512. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12884

Panero, M.E. Weisberg, D.S, Black, J., Goldstein, T.R., Barnes, J., Winner, E., Brownell, H. (2016). Does reading a single passage of literary fiction really improve theory of mind? An attempt at replication. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111(5), e46.

Goldstein, T.R. & Woolley, J. (2016). Ho! Ho! Who? Parent promotion of belief in and live encounters with Santa Claus. Cognitive Development 39, 113-137.

Goldstein, T.R. & Bloom, P. (2015). Characterizing Characters: How children make sense of realistic acting. Cognitive Development, Special Issue: Cognizing the Unreal, 34, 39-50. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2014.12.001

Goldstein, T.R., & Winner, E. (2012). Enhancing empathy and theory of mind. Journal of Cognition and Development, 13, 19-37.

Goldstein, T.R. & Bloom, P. (2011). The mind onstage: Why cognitive scientists should study acting. Trends in Cognitive Science, 15, 141-142.

Goldstein, T.R. (2009). Psychological perspectives on acting. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 3, 6-9.

Expanded Publication List

Arora, P. G., *Levine, J. L., & Goldstein, T. R. (in press). School psychologists' interprofessional collaboration with medical providers: An initial examination of training, preparedness, and current practices. Psychology in the Schools. 

Goldstein, T.R. (in press). The Development of a Dramatic Pretend Play Game Intervention. American Journal of Play 

*Sawyer, J. & Goldstein, T.R. (in press). Gaining in Drawing Skill by Reading Story Books: A Random Control Trial. Empirical Studies in the Arts.

Goldstein, T. R. & *Filipe, A. (2017). The interpreted mind: Understanding acting. Review of General Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/gpr0000116

Ershadi, M., Goldstein, T.R., Pochedly, J., & Russell, J.A. (2017). Facial expressions as performances in mime. Cognition and Emotion. 1-10. DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2017.1317236

Goldstein, T.R. & Levy, A. (2017). The constricted muse: Acting and creativity. Cambridge Handbook of Creativity Across Domains, J. Kaufman, V. Glaveanu & J. Baer, Eds. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Panero, M.E. Weisberg, D.S, Black, J., Goldstein, T.R., Barnes, J., Winner, E., Brownell, H. (2017). No Support for the Claim that Literary Fiction Uniquely and Immediately Improves Theory of Mind: A Reply to Kidd and Castano’s Commentary on Panero, Weisberg, Black, Goldstein, Barnes, Brownell, & Winner (2016). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, e5-e8.

Arora, P., Kelly, J, & Goldstein, T.R. (2016). Current and future school psychologists’ preparedness to work with LGBT students: Role of Education and Gay-Straight Alliances. Psychology in the Schools, 53, 722-735.

Panero, M.E., Goldstein, T.R., Rosenberg, R., Hughes, H., & Winner, E. (2016). Do actors posses traits associated with high hypnotizability? Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 10, 233-239. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aca0000044

Feldman, D., Ward, E., Handley, S. & Goldstein, T. R. (2015). Evaluating drama therapy in school settings: A case study of the ENACT program. Drama Therapy Review, 1, 127-145.

Goldstein, T.R. (2015). Predictors of engagement in and transfer from acting training. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 9, 266-273.

Goldstein, T.R. & Bloom, P. (2015). Is it Oscar-worthy? Children’s metarepresentational understanding of acting. PLOS One 10(3). E0119604, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119604

Goldstein, T.R., Tamir, M., & Winner, E. (2013). Expressive suppression and acting. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 7, 191-196.

Goldstein, T.R. & Winner. E. (2012). Sympathy for a character’s plight: Sex differences in response to theatre. Empirical Studies in the Arts, 30, 129-141.

Goldstein, T.R. (2011). Correlations among social-cognitive skills in adolescents involved in acting (vs. arts) classes. Mind, Brain and Education, 5, 97-103.

Goldstein, T.R. & Winner, E. (2010-2011). Engagement in role play, pretense and acting classes predict advanced theory of mind skill in middle childhood. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 30, 249-258.

Goldstein, T.R. & Winner, E. (2009). Living in alternative and inner worlds: Early signs of acting talent. Creativity Research Journal, 21, 117-124.

Goldstein, T.R. (2009). The pleasure of pure unadulterated sadness: Experiencing sorrow in fiction, nonfiction and in our own lives. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 3, 232-237.

Goldstein, T.R., *Wu, K. & Winner, E. (2009-2010) Actors are experts in theory of mind but not empathy. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 29, 115-133.

Dalebroux, A., Goldstein, T.R., & Winner, E. (2008). Short-term mood repair through art- making: Attention redeployment is more effective than venting. Motivation and Emotion, 32(4), 288-295. 

Grants and Fellowships

2018-2020. National Endowment for the Arts: ArtsLabs. The Mason Arts Research Center (MasonARC). #118037

2017-2019. National Endowment for the Arts: Art Works. Theatrical Thinking: The Habits of Mind Taught in Theatre Classes. #17-980096

2017-2018. Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood. Puppets, Dolls, and Costumes:
Embodiment and Representation when Constructing Knowledge through Play.

2015-2018. Arts Connection. Theatre in School to Promote Youth with Autism.

2013-2016. The John Templeton Foundation. Training Empathy and Compassion through Engagement with Fictional Worlds #47592

2010-2012. National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. 

Courses Taught

PSYC 704- LifeSpan Development

PSYC 669- Social and Emotional Development

PSYC 335- Psychology of Creativity and Innovation

PSCY 461/592- Emotional Bases of Behavior (Special Topics)

Education

PostDoctoral Fellow, Yale University, 2010-2012.

PhD, Boston College, 2010.

MA, Boston College, 2007.

BA, Cornell University, 2002.

Recent Presentations

Goldstein, T. R. (2018, November). Arts Education in the United States: National Education Policies for Arts Education and Studies on the Impact of Arts Education Experiences for Youth Development Using Cross-Sectional, Longitudinal, and Randomized Control Methods. Discussant. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Research Conference. Washington, DC.

Goldstein, T.R. (2018, September). Learning from Two National Endowment for the Arts Research Labs. Arts Education Partnership Annual Convening. Indianapolis, Indiana.

Goldstein, T.R. (2018, August). Acting and Pretending: The Effects of Embodied Imagination on Social Skills.  As part of the Symposium: Engaging the Body 2020: Setting an Embodiment Agenda in Psychology, American Psychological Association, Annual Convention, Division 10, San Francisco, CA.

Goldstein, T. R. & *Thompson, B. (2018, August). Ensemble building within youth theater programs: Alignment of research and practice. American Psychological Association, Annual Convention, Division 10, San Francisco, CA.

*Oberndorf, M. & Goldstein, T.R. (2018, August) Creating, maintaining, and releasing character: predicting burnout in actors. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association.

*Young, D., Rosenthal, L., & Goldstein, T.R. (2018, August). Psychosocial Trajectories of Change Across A Drum Corps Marching Season. Poster presented at the American Psychological Assocaition.

*Thompson, B. & Goldstein, T. R. (2018, May). Ensemble Building in Educational Contexts: What Can We Learn from Theater Instruction? Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science, Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA

Paterson, S. J., Lerner, M. D., Goldstein, T. R., Toub, T. S., Golinkoff, R., &  Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2018, May). Acting out in Public School: How a Theatre Program Can Impact Imitation Skills in Children with ASDPoster presented at the International Society for Autism Research Annual Meeting, Rotterdam, Netherlands.   

Goldstein, T.R. (2018, January). Explanation and disbelief in children’s understanding of live versions of fictional characters. Poster presented at the Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development, Budapest, Hungary.

Goldstein, T.R. (2017, August). Imagination, Methods, Measures, and Achievements. Discussant for the symposium: The power of imagination: building emotion and creativity skills through art and play interventions. American Psychological Association, Annual Convention, Division 10, Washington DC.

Goldstein, T. R. (2017, May). Meeting Superman and Cinderella: Children’s Judgments of Live Versions of Fictional TV Characters. As part of the symposium: Reality Versus Fantasy: Fiction Exposure and Real-World Understanding. Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, Boston, MA.

*Boyle, A. & Goldstein, T.R. (2017, April). Interactive Block Play and Spatial Skill Development . Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Convention. Austin, TX.

In the Media

Ongoing: Blog for PsychologyToday.com (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mind-stage)

Urbo.com: Psychological aspects of television and movie spoilers.  (February 12, 2018) http://www.urbo.com/content/do-spoilers-actually-ruin-stories

Science News.org https://www.sciencenews.org/article/kids-play-fantasy-reality (February 6, 2018)

CNN: Children’s understanding of Santa Claus http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/health/kids-santa-claus-belief-parent-curve-intl/index.html (December 13, 2017).

Questions of Realness (August, 2017). Blog for Junkyard of the Mind. https://junkyardofthemind.com/blog/2017/8/14/questions-of-realness

Urbo.com: The effects of living space comparison (August 19, 2017). http://www.urbo.com/content/unrealistic-portrayals-of-tv-characters-lives-could-affect-how-you-view-the-world-and-yourself

Vice Magazine: Santa Claus. (March 25, 2017). https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-stop-believing-in-god

“Science.dk” (Danish online magazine) interview on Theory of Mind and Literature (January, 2017). http://videnskab.dk/kultur-samfund/en-god-bog-er-alligevel-ikke-en-hurtig-empati-booster

The Atlantic. “Reading Literature Won’t Give you Superpowers” http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/12/should-psychologists-study-fiction/509405/ (December, 2016)

Time Magazine: Theory of Mind and Literature http://time.com/4547332/reading-benefits/ (October 28, 2016)

 “Brainwaves Video Anthology” series. (July 25, 2016). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVSvyq9XYz4&feature=youtu.be; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KCO0Tjzqjo

New York Magazine blog “The Science of Us”. (July 21, 2016). “A Kid’s World Is a Pleasing, Confusing Mash-up of Magic and Reality” http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/07/to-a-kid-the-world-is-a-pleasing-mashup-of-magic-and-reality.html

Articulate with Jim Cotter (July 7, 2016). WHYY, Philadelphia. http://whyy.org/cms/articulate/roberto-lugo-all-the-worlds-a-stage-hao-yang/

Creating their own Worlds: Arts and Learning. (May, 2016). Blog for The Brookings Institute. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/education-plus-development/2016/06/03/creating-their-own-worlds-arts-and-learning/

Interviewed for Mente &Cervello (Mind/Scientific American, Italian edition) (January 14, 2016).

Featured in Backstage Magazine, (May 14, 2015). “How not to Psych yourself out pre-audition”. http://www.backstage.com/interview/how-not-psych-yourself-out-preaudition/

Featured on “All About Psychology” website (March 3, 2015). http://www.all-about-psychology.com/thalia-goldstein.html

Interviewed on the Leonard Lopate show, WNYC, 93.9. (January 16, 2015). “Inside the Mind of an Actor” http://www.wnyc.org/story/inside-mind-actor/

 “How Actors Create Emotions: A Problematic Psychology” (March, 2014) for The Atlantic Health.http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/how-actors-create-emotions-a-problematic-psychology/284291/ 

“Why we love big fighting robots”. (July 13, 2013). The Culture Blog, Esquire Magazine. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/pacific-rim-robot-movies?click=main_sr

 “Scientific Explanations for Why Spoilers are so Horrible” (March 21, 2013) The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/03/scientific-explanations-for-why-spoilers-are-so-horrible/274227/

“People you should know”: Radio/Podcast (February, 2013) http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pysk/2013/02/04/people-you-should-know

 “Why She Cries at Movies, While He Snores: New research finds men and women feel sympathy for fictional characters for different reasons.” (September, 2012) Pacific Standard Magazine (http://www.psmag.com/culture-society/why-she-cries-at-movies-while-he-snores-46912/) *Picked up by artsjournal.com

 “Using Theater to Teach Social Skills: Researchers document improvements for children with autism” (January, 2012) Harvard Education Letter http://www.hepg.org/hel/article/521