kyle-imgResearch Interests

My work focuses on the intersections between expertise, performance pressure, gender, and creativity. I’m using the context of competitive gaming (Super Smash Bros) to examine how expert performance among Top 100 players is supported by cognitive, social, and physiological factors. With the same game, I’m investigating how emotion regulation and gender affect learning and performance among gaming novices.

My Master’s thesis examined how practice, emotion regulation strategies, and other factors correlate with performance among competitive Smash players. My first-year project examined how different forms of creative cognition (associative, problem-solving, analytic) are affected by different mechanisms of performance pressure (working memory load, anxious mood, arousal).

My work at the University of Chicago also focused on factors affecting performance with influences from educational and social fields. We examined the mechanisms underlying how gender-math stereotypes are passed from parents and teachers to children and how theories of intelligence impact children’s motivation.

Key concepts: High-stakes performance, expertise, gender bias, video games, emotion regulation, cognitive sciences, creativity

Selected Works

Miller, D. I., Nolla, K. M., Eagly, A. H., & Uttal, D. H. (2018). The Development of Children’s GenderScience Stereotypes: A Metaanalysis of 5 Decades of US DrawAScientist Studies. Child development.

Park, D., Schaeffer, M., Nolla, K., Levine, S., & Beilock, S. (2016). “How do generic statements impact performance? Evidence for entity beliefs.” Developmental Science.

Nolla, K., Park, D., Ramirez, G., & Beilock, S. “Don’t carry your worry, leave it behind: Effects of expressive writing depend on physical carrying of worry writing.” Poster Presented At: Midwestern Psychological Association, 2013.


One reason I love studying creativity is because I’m an artist myself—I love to write, draw, paint, act, sing, and play piano. However, I spend most of my free time playing video games, or on the weekends, playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends.

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