AcademicsFaculty Information


Associate Professor

Ph.D. in Social Psychology (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Office:Room 417

Office Hours:By appointment


A social psychologist with research interests in psychobiological mechanisms of stress and their implications on health outcomes as well as acculturation and health promotion among immigrants.

Academic Field / Expertise

Psychology, social psychology

Courses to Offer

Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to Social Psychology

Introduction to Cognitive Science


Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by people around us and the surrounding environment. At the same time, our thoughts and feelings have influence on the decision making process of other people. But we generally are not aware of that bidirectional relationship. Under which conditions do we get influenced by others? When do we have positive influences on others and develop good relationships? I look forward to discussing and learning these topics with you.

Summary of the Research Undertaken

I have conducted research on psychological and physiological responses to stress and their implications to health behavior. Recently, I have led research studies aimed at designing programs to promote health and well-being in immigrant communities.

Research Themes

  • Psychobiological mechanisms of stress and emotion
  • Stress and substance use (tobacco, khat)
  • Acculturation and mental health
  • Designing programs to facilitate health behavior
  • Research in the community settings

Details of the Research

When someone says, “I am not good at dealing with stress,” “I can’t quit smoking,” or “I don’t want to see a doctor for a regular check-up,” we tend to think that such individual is weak or irresponsible. It is difficult for us to be fully mindful about their social environment. Using behavioral scientific approach, I am interested in gaining better understanding about the person-environment relationship and how that contributes to a better social world.

List of Papers

(Selected publications)

  • Nakajima, M., Haji, A., Mohamud, S., Ahmed, O., Hodges, J. S., & Pratt, R. (2022). A Culturally Adapted Colorectal Cancer Education Video for the Somali Community in Minnesota: A Pilot Investigation. American Journal of Health Promotion : AJHP, 36 (3), 514-517.
  • Nakajima, M., Lemieux, A. M., Fiecas, M., Chatterjee, S., Sarker, H., Saleheen, N., Ertin, E., Kumar, S., & al'Absi, M. (2020). Using novel mobile sensors to assess stress and smoking lapse. International journal of psychophysiology, 158, 411-418
  • Nakajima, M., Chen, W. J., & Fleming, R. (2017). Effects of unrecognized physiological residual arousal on emotional experience. Journal of Applied Behavior Research, 7 (22),
  • al'Absi, M., Nakajima, M., Allen, S., Lemieux, A., & Hatsukami, D. (2015). Sex differences in hormonal responses to stress and smoking relapse: A prospective examination. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 17 (4), 382-9.
  • Nakajima, M., al'Absi, M., Dokam, A., Alsoofi, M., Khalil, N. S., & Al Habori, M. (2013). Gender differences in patterns and correlates of khat and tobacco use. Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 15 (6), 1130-5.

Books and Other Publications

  • Nakajima, M., & al'Absi, M. (2016). Addiction, pain, and stress response: psychological and clinical implications. In M.A. Flaten and M. al’Absi (Eds), Neuroscience of pain, stress, and emotion. Elsevier.

Key Words of the Research

Stress, Emotion, Tobacco use, Khat use, Behavioral change, Acculturation, Research in community settings

Related SDGs
  • すべての人に健康と福祉を
  • 人や国の不平等をなくそう
  • パートナーシップで目標を達成しよう