Brian Galla
Associate Professor

Dr. Brian M. Galla is an Assistant Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology in the Department of Health and Human Development, and a Research Scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center. He received his PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from UCLA and completed postdoctoral training in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Galla’s research examines how self-control and mindfulness contribute to positive development from adolescence to young adulthood. He conducts observational studies and randomized experiments in laboratory, school, and community settings that are designed to understand how self-control and mindfulness operate, develop, and can be changed.

Instructional Interests

Dr. Galla teaches courses in the Department of Health and Human Development, including adolescent development, psychological interventions, and research methods.

Scholarly Interests

Dr. Galla’s lab is currently studying how mindfulness develops naturally across adolescence and factors that potentiate or hinder this development. They also conduct studies on innovative approaches to mindfulness training (e.g., through the use of mobile technology and by integrating intervention techniques from social psychology) to address real world problems, including underachievement in STEM and classroom teacher burnout. Dr. Galla’s lab also explores how techniques from motivation science can boost adherence to mindfulness training programs. Finally, they conduct studies to understand and then harness mechanisms of self-control to improve responsible use of technology (and in particular, social media) and learners’ self-regulated learning study choices.

Selected Grants

  • Principal Investigator (with T. Nokes-Malach (Co-PI)), “Using Mindfulness Training to Support Engagement, Learning, and Retention in Undergraduate Physics Courses.” Learning Research and Development Center. Project Period: 07/01/20 – 06/30/22. Amount: $149,644.

  • Principal Investigator (with T. Nokes-Malach (Co-PI) & M. Good (Co-PI)), “Testing and Integrating a Mindfulness Resource in a Large Undergraduate STEM Course.” Discipline-Based Science Education Research Center. Project Period: 06/01/20 – 08/31/21. Amount: $10,000.

  • Principal Investigator (with T. Nokes-Malach (Co-PI)), “Personalizing Undergraduate STEM Learning through Mobile Mindfulness Training.” Office of the Provost. Project Period: 02/01/18 – 04/30/20. Amount: $25,000.

  • Co-Principal Investigator and Co-Faculty Sponsor (with R. N. Baelen (Student Co-PI) & R. Maynard (Co-PI and Co-Faculty Sponsor)), “Developing and Testing the Effectiveness of a Self-Compassion Intervention for Beginning Teachers.” Mind and Life Institute. Project Period: 07/15/17 – 07/14/19. Amount: $25,000.

Featured Publications

  • Tumminia, M. J., Colaianne, B. A., Roeser, R. W., & Galla, B. M. (2020). How is mindfulness linked to negative and positive affect? Rumination as an explanatory process in a prospective longitudinal study of adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Advance online publication.

  • Galla, B. M., Tsukayama, E., Yu, A., Park, D., & Duckworth, A. L. (2020). The mindful adolescent: Developmental changes in nonreactivity to inner experiences and its associations with emotional well-being. Developmental Psychology, 56, 350-363.

  • Abujaradeh, H., Colaianne, B., Roeser, R. W., Tsukayama, E. & Galla, B. M. (2020). Evaluating a short-form Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire in adolescents: Evidence for a four-factor structure and invariance by time, age, and gender. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 44, 20-30.

  • Galla, B. M., Shulman, E. P., Plummer, B. D., Gardner, M., Hutt, S. J., Goyer, J. P., Finn, A. S., D’Mello, S. K., & Duckworth, A. L. (2019). Why high school grades are better predictors of on-time college graduation than are admissions test scores: The roles of self-regulation and cognitive ability. American Educational Research Journal, 56, 2077-2115.

  • Galla, B. M., Amemiya, J., & Wang, M.-T. (2018). Using expectancy-value theory to understand academic self-control. Learning and Instruction, 58, 22-33.
Brian Galla


University of Pittsburgh
5940 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260