Luna Munoz

Changing jobs - you will find me at Durham University

Favourite Thing: I love to play with numbers. Right now, I am looking at numbers to tell me whether putting people into groups with their friends changes the number of crashes they have in a driving simulation. I also like to combine my interest in understanding how the body reacts to stress and how this relates to behaviour



Lots of primary schools since we moved a lot! West Islip Junior High School, New York (1988-1989); West Islip High School (1990-1992)


State University of New York (BA Psychology 1993-1996); Penn State University (MSc Psychobiology 1998-2002); University of New Orleans (PhD Applied Developmental Psychology 2002-2005)

Work History:

Taco Bell (from the people who brought you KFC and Pizza Hut!); Tower Records– New York and California Warner Bros. Records in Hollywood; Orebro Universitet in Sweden as a postdoc; University of Central Lancashire, Lecturer


Durham University

Current Job:


Me and my work

I am a developmental psychologist who studies how some children become cold and hurtful people

At university, I studied biopsychology and developmental psychology so that I could now study the development of antisocial behaviour and how to prevent it.  I’m also interested in the personality of children and how certain environments might be bad for some children. 

Because I grew up poor, living in a trailer for a while (not a trailer park that you see on TV that gets hit by tornadoes, but still a trailer in the USA), I am interested in why some environments might bring up well-behaving and poorly-behaving children [I was a little of both ;=)  ].  My interest comes from my experience; I take my experience and, with a pinch of skepticism and a dash of query, I see whether my thoughts about how things work hold water.

My Typical Day

I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and try not to get wet on my way to and from work!

I get in and try to remember to bring myself water to drink while sitting at my computer.  I read emails and update my calendar to make sure I get all my work done for the day and the next week.  I then write papers about my science, email other scientists about what we should do together (I like collaborating), and fiddle with numbers.  I might grade some papers or lecturing since I work in a university.myimage1 Finally, I check on the volunteers who help in my lab.  Then, a bike ride home and hopefully it’s not raining! 

What I'd do with the money

Driving simulation at schools to show the effect of peers

Thanks to the students for getting me to think about the prize money and how it should be spent!! It only took 5 days for me to come up with this 🙂

Einstein is quoted as saying “The only source of knowledge is experience”

There is a lot of misinformation about the science of psychology; yes, psychology is a science or a search for knowledge.  I would like to use the money to go to schools around where I work now in the northwest of England and around my new job in the northeast of England to give students an experience of psychology as a science.  What better way to do this than to bring my driving simulation equipment to show students the experiments I’ve been doing on peer influence.

The only source of knowledge is experience – Thinkexist Quotations
Albert Einstein The only source of knowledge is exper

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

smiley bendy & loud

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Pretty Girls Make Graves

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Drove from one end to the US to the other….twice.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

(1)Money (2)My own island in the caribbean with houses built on it for my family (3)To be a chef in my own restaurant

What did you want to be after you left school?

A psychologist or hairdresser or a bit of both

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

At school? no

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I have been able to talk to people (counsellors, school officials, students, judges, and correctional officers) who could use my expertise

Tell us a joke.

I like Ellen DeGeneres’s joke about hunting: She asked a hunter why he had a moose’s head mounted on his wall. And he said “because it’s such a beautiful creature. It’s lovely to behold.” Ellen said “Well, I think my mom is lovely, but I have pictures of her” She later had a think and invited the hunter over to her house. “Come into my dining room – see there’s my mom’s legs on the wall over there: didn’t she have nice legs? Now step into the lounge to check out her attractive head of hair…”.