Suraiya's research focuses on the cognitive processes contributing to social categorization, stereotyping, and prejudice. This includes a focus on how we categorize others into social groups (e.g. when will we attend to dimensions like race vs. gender as a function of our motivations) and the implications of this categorization process for behavior. Suraiya is also interested in how people weigh self-interest with group-interest, and how the presence of self-other trade-offs can influence typically seen patterns of intergroup bias in decision-making.
Leif's primary research interests broadly cover interpersonal understanding (e.g., empathy) and how power influences relationship dynamics. His primary research focuses on how empathy is perceived and what motivates empathy in different contexts. Leif is also interested in how we come to understand something as reasonable, interpret different political and religious documents, and humanize other peoples' experiences.
Reem’s primary research interest is moral judgment. More specifically, Reem is interested in how certain qualities about the actor (e.g., their intentionality, competence, usefulness to us, etc.) can influence our moral judgments of them. With Dr. Plaks, Reem is exploring these questions within the context of human-robot interaction.
Aidan is broadly interested in social cognition. His research largely focuses on motivation and exertion. He is currently investigating the effects of effort on meaning in life and trait-level differences in the meaning people ascribe to their efforts.
Hannah's research interests encompass the cognitive and neural processes underlying decision making. Hannah is interested in how endogenous information, such as memory, interpretations of context, attitudes, and perspective taking, influence the choice process.
Greg is a PhD student working with Dr. Michael Inzlicht at the University of Toronto. In his research he takes a multimethod approach to addressing questions about empathy, prosocial effort, and subjective well-being. His MA research, now In Press at Psychological Science, is focused on how people experience empathy in everyday life--including constructs like emotion sharing, perspective taking, and compassion--and how these are related to important outcomes such as subjective well-being and prosocial behaviour. His work further explores whether it may be adaptive or strategic to focus on some aspects of the empathy experience rather than others in certain circumstances, and why some empathy cues are noticed and responded to, while others are missed or ignored. In addition, he is interested in when and why people decide to invest effort for others, given that effort is aversive and often avoided.
Ashley is interested to investigate cross-cultural variations in gender development, primarily in the areas of child and adolescent gender identity, essentialist thinking about gender, and psychosocial outcomes of gender-nonbinary children. Her doctoral research also focuses on how gender-diverse and cisgender children in Thailand conceptualize and reason about gender, and how this might compare to children raised in Western, Education, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies.
Kaitlin's past research investigated whether explicit-implicit attitudinal ambivalence about individuals’ romantic partner and relationship predicted their jealousy and commitment levels. She is interested in what attracts individuals to their partners, strengthens and weakens relationships, and how social comparisons influence how people feel about their relationships.
Siobhan's research interests broadly involve online social interactions and conversation. Specifically, she compares online and in person conversations in their potential to facilitate productive dialogue and the negotiation of differences between pairs. She is also interested in the topic misinformation circulation in virtual spaces, and the ways in which strong attitudes are formed and maintained.
Arasteh is a graduate student in Social/Personality psychology and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto. Her primary research interests focus on exploring emotion regulation in stressful contexts and the impact of emotion/emotion regulation on both psychological and physical health.
Groups are a fundamental component of humans’ social existence, so it should come as no surprise to learn that belonging to a group affects your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. However, these effects are often thought of as biased or irrational, rather than being uniquely suited to people’s life history and development. Rebekah aims to use approaches from computational cognitive science to understand children’s and adults’ basic cognitive architecture, the mechanisms with which it supports preferential learning from groups, and how it may lead to the discounting and derogation of non-group members.
Amy is broadly interested in examining how age-related stigma is adopted and maintained across the lifespan. She aims to investigate factors that impact the internalization and the endorsement of ageism towards older adults. Currently, she's investigating the moderating effects of intergenerational contact and subjective age on younger adults' endorsement of age-related stigma.
Elaine's research focuses on experiences in singlehood, specifically as they relate to well-being. She is particularly interested in the ways that individual differences (e.g., personality, attachment) and demographics (e.g., gender, country) shape well-being across relationship status.
Shernell’s research interests centre around how everyday social interactions become compromised by intergroup anxiety. More specifically, she is interested in the perception of microaggressions, racial anxiety, rumination and the physiological responses associated with these psychological processes. Her current research takes an exploratory psychophysiological approach to examine and measure changes in stress levels during moments of high racial anxiety to see if it leads to rumination.
Broadly, Elia’s research interests include: intergroup relations and culture, beliefs about change (malleability beliefs), and self-regulation. More specifically, Elia is interested in how beliefs about change can impact both the self and intergroup relations. Elia is also interested in social invisibility and whether differing expectations or goals can shape the experience of feeling invisible or mitigate negative outcomes.
Noah is a social psychology student working with Spike Lee. He is interested in how group memberships, morality, personal identity, and extremism interact within the political landscape, how cognitive styles and uncertainty intolerance give rise to rigid partisanship, as well as how authoritarianism manifests across dynamic contexts, both within and beyond the political sphere.
Yachen is interested in how emotions interact with rational cognitive processes. More specifically, Yachen's interests focus on self-transcendent emotions (i.e. awe, elevation) – their physiological correlates, and their effect on social cognition and decision-making. In a related line a research, she is interested in how people update their judgment of other people’s moral characters in light of mixed positive and negative moral information.
Kyle has experience in meditation techniques and is interested in studying interoception as it relates to contemplative practices as well as mental and physical health for his doctoral studies. Kyle completed a MSc in Neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal where he studied the emotional processing of auditory stimuli, such as music and human vocalizations, using magnetoencephalography. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario where he was involved with mindfulness meditation research.
Broadly speaking, Elizabeth is interested in the various routes that people take to acquiring self-knowledge, as well as the causes and consequences of doing so more vs. less effectively. She is also interested in metascience & philosophy of science, and what it means to have good theories of psychological phenomena.
My research broadly focuses on impulsivity. More specifically, I am interested in the measurement of impulsivity and how certain situational factors (e.g., stress, unpredictability, complexity of the situation) can affect this behavior. With Drs. Suzanne Erb and Marc Fournier, I will be experimentally exploring hypotheses that attempt to explain the low correspondence between self-report and behavior measures of this construct.
Mostafa's research focus is on using computational models to study humans’ decision-making and learning. He is fascinated by humans’ and animals’ ability to show flexible and adaptive behavior, even with a limited amount of experience in a world full of uncertainties. How this ability work is the “big question” that he has in my mind. As a half-scientist, half-engineer, this question is appealing to my both sides. Mostafa considers this ability to be one of the finest alchemies of the brain, so the scientist in me wants to find the answer with passion. Moreover, uncovering new findings related to this question can be an essential component in the AI-neuroscience virtuous circle, which his engineer side wants to be a part of.
Mac is interested in social perception in limited contexts (such as at a distance or in online forums) the intersection of person perception, technology, and well-being. For example, how does our online behavior affect perceptions of flourishing or floundering? Mac is also interested more generally in how variations in adherence to cultural norms shape the inferences we make about one another.
Broadly, Victoria is interested in how people perceive others, including how people use physical cues to form impressions, what it means to know and be known by someone, and how impression formation differs in an online context. Victoria is also interested in morbid curiosity, recreational horror, authenticity, and morality.
Jaweria's primary research interests focus on what compels individuals to cooperate and coordinate at the dyadic and group levels, factors influencing such coordination, and how such coordination, or lack thereof, influences wellbeing. She is especially interested in the role of prosocial emotions and its physiological underpinnings. Her past work has investigated physiological sharing at the dyadic level during compassionate contexts.
Jesse's primary research interests include political psychology and environmental psychology, and often, the overlap between these two areas. More specifically, he investigates how to best frame information about the environment and climate change in ways that hold appeal across the political spectrum - such as by considering underlying conservative ideologies (e.g., Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Social Dominance Orientation, etc.) and values.
Models of prosociality towards strangers have been rooted in the inhibition of self-interest for centuries, with a plethora of contemporary experimental work continuing to observe self-inhibiton as central to the production of prosocial behaviour towards strangers. Yet, Anthony's research suggests that prosocial behaviour towards strangers is critically dependent on the upregulation of the other more so than inhibition of the self. This mechanism of other-upregulation held explanatory power beyond prosociality to include the production of antisocial behaviour as well, suggesting this mechanism may support the translation of both prosocial and antisocial motivation into behaviour. Avenues of upcoming exploration include whether such a mechanism provides explanatory power within intergroup contexts.
Alexa's research is broadly related to the social cognitive development of children with specific interests in moral judgment, altruism, prosociality, moral responsibility, and ownership. Alexa's current projects investigate questions such as: "Why do we treat children and adults differently when they commit morally wrong actions?" and "How do children think we develop certain moral traits?"
Steph is from St. Paul, Minnesota and completed her undergraduate degree at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Before coming to the University of Toronto, she managed the Atkinson Behavioral Research Lab at the Rady School of Management, UCSD. Steph is interested in the effects of psychological threat on financial decision-making, attitudes towards scientific technologies, and moral judgment. She also enjoys cats, coffee, and glam rock.
Sarah's research interests include stress and trauma in specific populations. In addition, Sarah's research projects will focus on interventions (i.e., therapeutic horticulture) to support the mental and physical wellbeing of individuals, specifically undergraduate students. In addition, Sarah has worked with frontline officers to improve their stress physiology and performance in high stress situations and will continue to work on projects relating to improving stress responses in first responders.
Natalie is currently a PhD student under the primary supervision of Dr. Emily Impett. Her primary research interest is in close relationships, interpersonal regulation, and well-being. She is particularly interested in the ways that people attempt to regulate the emotions and behaviours of close others (e.g., romantic partners, children) and the benefits and costs of these pursuits for personal and interpersonal outcomes.
Broadly, Angela's research interests include the ways in which emotion and emotion regulation are influenced by socioeconomic and cultural factors, and how that, in turn, influences physical and psychological health. Additionally, she is interested in the ways that beliefs about emotions affect our behaviors, and the role that emotion regulation plays in the contexts of politics and activism.
YI YANG TEOH
Yang is interested in social and moral decision making as well as the role of emotion in the formation of these socio-moral preferences. Yang's current work applies computational modelling to prosocial decision-making and emotion to understand the underlying processes that guide people’s choices.
DANIEL J. WILSON
Daniel's current research focus is to develop tools to better measure and predict the intention-behavior gap. His earlier work combines behavioral experimentation with neuro-imaging and computational modeling in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of our decision making processes–and how these processes may sometimes err. Other general areas of interest include understanding the disconnect between our current world and that for which our brain evolved, cognitive science applied to public policy, and the effects of online advertising on well-being.
Yitong is primarily interested in emotion regulation, well-being, and social relationships. Specifically, she studies individuals’ regulation processes in pursuing personal and social goals, especially processes shaped by their beliefs, values, and dispositions, and situated in regulation contexts of varying characteristics.
Stella is interested in using a narrative approach to understand how shifts in cultural context through processes such as immigration and displacement impact the development of people’s identity, personality, and well-being. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how people narrate key events in their life (e.g., migration journey, engagement with new social structures), how their personal stories relate to broader master narratives, and how narration facilitates the integration of these experiences into their identity. She is excited to collaborate with people from immigrant and refugee communities in the GTA to do this work.
Emily is interested in how psychology backed interventions can counteract day-to-day shortcomings such as procrastination and forgetfulness. Specifically, she is interested in how scheduling can be used to increase goal progress and prevent irrational decision-making. Emily hopes to utilize this research to promote real-world positive behaviour change.