News, stories and features

UBC welcomes therapy dogs for some student snuggle time
Join us for Doggy De-stress at UBC! Take a moment to de-stress by hanging out with some therapy dogs. September 20, 2016 | 10:30-noon | AMS Nest, Lev Bukhman Lounge (Level 4) Studies have shown that therapy-dog visits alleviate stress and improve health and well-being. Dogs are popular visitors in hospitals, senior centres, airports–and now universities. Many universities bring in therapy dogs to […]

New research: THC makes rats lazy, less willing to try cognitively demanding tasks
New research from the Department of Psychology at UBC suggests there may be some truth to the belief that marijuana use causes laziness— at least in rats. The study, published today in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, makes rats less willing to try a cognitively […]

Portrait of a PhD: Ashley Whillans and the benefits and barriers of buying happier time
How do our choices about time and money relate to happiness? Looking for answers in her doctoral work, UBC Psychology PhD student Ashley Whillans works with the White House Social Behavioral Sciences Team in Washington, DC to explore how time incentives influence job performance and satisfaction. She further collaborates with start-up companies like MyBestHelper and YouEarnedIt to explore the impacts of the sharing economy and […]

Faculty in Focus: Lillian May brings her love of teaching to the classroom
Lillian May, one of the new Lecturers in the Department of Psychology, didn’t intend to become a full-time teacher. After teaching just one class, she has never looked back. “Teaching is one of my great joys,” say May. “I love getting to know my amazing students, inspire them, and build on my own knowledge.” Since 2009 […]

August Lab of the Month: Dr. Jason Snyder’s lab explores the behavioural function of new neurons
  Through the lens of adult neurogenesis, Dr. Jason Snyder’s lab explores how the brain stores information and uses it to guide future behaviour. The lab investigates the role of neurogenesis in both the memory and mood related functions of the hippocampus, including the possibility that memory-related functions may be dependent on emotional factors such […]

Q&A with Dr. Sheila Woody: Why people hoard and how to provide compassionate help
Hoarding has been the subject of popular reality TV shows, but it’s a serious disorder that threatens people’s safety and can even land them on the streets. UBC psychologist Sheila Woody offers insight into why people hoard, and how we can find compassionate ways to help them and their loved ones cope. Why study hoarding? […]

UBC Psychology researchers receive CIHR support to advance their research
UBC Psychology professors Liisa Galea, Jason Snyder and Catharine Winstanley are among UBC’s health researchers who have received Project Grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). From exploring new drug treatment for cognitive impairments caused by traumatic brain injury – to decision making in the adult brain – to how pregnancy affects the aging brain, the following […]

New UBC MOOCs bring free psychology courses to students across the globe
Beginning this fall, UBC Psychology Instructor Steven Barnes will be delivering his award-winning instruction to students from over 150 countries. With a self-described eclectic approach to teaching, Barnes explores new ways of sharing knowledge by bridging storytelling and technology. For example, to help students learn science he developed chalkboard-based stop-motion animations and videos to animate […]

The surprising psychological benefits— and risks— of Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go fever has officially taken over. Nintendo’s new augmented reality smartphone game is enticing millions of players to get outside and walk around in search of characters, and is reportedly helping people with depression and social anxiety. Two UBC psychology professors, Luke Clark and Amori Mikami, explain why the game has become so popular, […]

Faculty in Focus: Teaching is a learning journey for Kyle Danielson
A recent PhD graduate in developmental psychology, Kyle Danielson brings passion and experience to his teaching. For Danielson, one of the new Lecturers in UBC’s Department of Psychology, teaching has always been the most important part of his career – and something he has wanted to do since childhood. He teaches psychology undergraduate courses at UBC and […]

Why is Pokémon Go so compelling? A former UBC Psychology post-doctoral fellow weighs in
What makes us want to “catch them all”? Brothers Craig and Ryan Chapman, two UBC alumni and augmented reality experts, give us their perspectives on why Pokémon Go is so compelling. Dr. Craig Chapman completed both his BSc in Cognitive Science and a Killam Post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology, UBC. He’s now an […]

New UBC Psychology research: Reducing racial bias possible in older children
Research has shown children have racial biases from an early age, but a new study has found that it is possible to combat prejudice in older kids. The study— the first of its kind to examine developmental differences in the capacity to reduce racial prejudice in children— found that telling stories that depict black individuals contributing […]

UBC Psychology researchers want to learn whether Lower Mainland drivers are happy with their commute
The Pattullo Bridge is one of the busiest crossings in the Lower Mainland. The bridge, one of the oldest in the Lower Mainland, serves as a connection between Surrey, New Westminster and Burnaby. Since April 2016, commuters using the bridge have experienced significant congestion and delays in the area due to the Pattullo Bridge rehabilitation project. UBC Psychology professor and happiness expert Elizabeth Dunn’s Social […]

July Lab of the Month: Dr. Elizabeth Dunn’s Happy Lab will make you smile
Can we live happily ever? Is there an art to being happy? These are just some of the big questions that Professor Elizabeth Dunn answers in our July Lab of the Month feature. Dunn, co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, has been exploring the science of happiness for over 15 years. Individuals, […]

Faculty in Focus: Benjamin Cheung wants students to live and use psychology; not just learn it
We sit down with Dr. Benjamin Cheung, one of the new Lecturers in the Department of Psychology. For Cheung, UBC Psychology is home; he received his PhD, his MA in Social Psychology, and his BA in Psychology and in Asian Language and Culture (Korean) at UBC. He has held many teaching fellowships and assistantships in the department […]

Faculty Q&A: Dr. Joelle LeMoult balances curiosity and compassion
The Department of Psychology welcomes another new faculty member, Dr. Joelle LeMoult, as Assistant Professor in the clinical area. Dr. LeMoult comes to UBC from Stanford University, where she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychology. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami in 2012. In addition to planting new […]

UBC Psychology researchers and graduate students benefit from national research grants
We are pleased to announce that Kiley Hamlin, Alan Kingstone, and Darko Odic have been awarded Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants. Kiley Hamlin was awarded $47,000 towards her research project understanding humans’ understanding of agency: studies with preverbal. Alan Kingstone was awarded $110,000 towards his research on components of […]

Faculty Q&A: Dr. Kristin Laurin explores why we do what we do
Join us in welcoming Dr. Kristin Laurin as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Laurin comes to UBC from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour since 2012. She earned her PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Waterloo. Laurin’s research involves some of the […]

Daniel Tobiansky is the recipient of the Bluma Tischler Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Join us in congratulating Dr. Daniel Tobiansky who received the Bluma Tischler Post-Doctoral Fellowship from UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. This prestigious fellowship award grants $20,400 for one year to MD or PhD graduates carrying out research on the biochemical or genetic aspects of intellectual developmental disorders or other neurological disorders. Tobiansky, a Postdoctoral Fellow in […]

New research: Mouse study reveals a new way stress hormones affect our immune system
Dr. Kiran Soma, Professor of Psychology at UBC, studies the relationships among the brain, behaviour, hormones, and immune function. He recently published his 100th paper entitled “Lymphoid organs of neonatal and adult mice preferentially produce active glucocorticoids from metabolites, not precursors” in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. This new research, which he co-authored with […]

Faculty Q&A with Catherine Rawn: a course with a hashtag
To create a course about the psychology of social media it was only natural that Dr. Catherine Rawn, Senior Instructor in UBC’s Department of Psychology, turned to social media to source ideas and develop content. The result is Psychology of Self in Social Media (PSYC 325). Rawn, an early adopter of social media, started chronicling […]

Are you talking to me? New research shows attention shapes social behaviours
New research out of the Department of Psychology is the first to show that covert attention, such as paying attention out of the corner of your eye, is critical to guiding appropriate looking behaviour when we’re around other people. The paper “Camouflaged attention: Covert attention is critical to social communication in natural settings” was published […]

UBC Psychology graduate Robin Richardson earns Governor General’s Silver Medal
Join us in congratulating psychology graduate Robin Richardson, who earned the Governor General’s Silver Medal in Arts. The Medals are the most prestigious award students in Canadian schools can receive. Robin graduated with an Honours in Psychology and was presented with the award at UBC’s May 2016 convocation ceremonies for psychology. She has been the recipient of […]

Lab of the Month: Infants and Moral Development with Dr. Kiley Hamlin
Have you ever felt judged by a baby staring at you or wondered what that baby was thinking about? Most people would simply shrug their shoulders and assume babies’ minds are about as blank as their vacant expressions. But that is not the case for researchers like Dr. Kiley Hamlin, Director of the UBC Centre […]

Portrait of a PhD Student: Boaz Y. Saffer
Meet Boaz Saffer, a clinical psychology PhD student in UBC’s Department of Psychology. Boaz researches the ‘neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie suicide ideation and suicide attempts’ under the supervision of Dr. E. David Klonksy in the Personality, Emotion, and Behaviour Lab (PEBL). In this Q and A, he shares his research, why he chose the clinical […]

UBC Psychology graduate Lauren Wylie takes student engagement to the next level
Lauren Wylie wanted her final year as a psychology major to count. To make the most of her student experience, she answered a call for student leaders in the inaugural Student Engagement Program in UBC’s Department of Psychology. She immersed herself in the psychology community by becoming a directed studies student leader. This involved liaising […]

Q & A: Catherine Rawn on using peer assessments to encourage peer-based learning
UBC Psychology Senior Instructor Catherine Rawn recently sat down with Arts ISIT to share her ideas on the pedagogy and the value of implementing peer assessments in her courses–and the TLEF project she collaborated on with Professor Peter Graf. Back Story A few years ago I began experimenting with peer assessments in my introductory PSYC […]

We got C. elegans: Lab of the Month with Dr. Catharine Rankin
When examining the small, round body of a one millimeter long worm known as the Caenorhabditis elegans, one has to wonder, what can humans learn from these simple creatures? The brilliance of using C. elegans in research is based on that fact alone, its simplicity. With the human brain containing billions of neurons and every […]

Earth Day Q&A with Dr. Jiaying Zhao: Convenience, real-time feedback makes us more environmentally aware
Earth Day is April 22, an annual reminder to reflect on the impact of our actions and to consider how we can lighten our footprint on our earth. Despite an increasing awareness of how our actions impact our environment, adopting sustainable behaviours is not always easy. Jiaying Zhao, assistant professor in Cognitive Science at the […]

Community-university conference: new perspectives on learning in the Downtown Eastside
Join the Health and Adult Development Lab for a unique conference showcasing psychology students’ research in the Downtown Eastside. Jennifer Lay, Dr. Christiane Hoppmann, and the Health and Adult Development Lab invite you to learn about their latest findings on social engagement/disengagement and technology use among culturally diverse seniors. Through a partnership with the UBC […]

New research: The popular painkiller acetaminophen may hamper your ability to notice errors
It’s been known for more than a century that acetaminophen is an effective painkiller, but a new study shows it could also be impeding error-detection in the brain. The research, authored by a team including Dan Randles, a University of Toronto postdoctoral fellow, and Todd Handy and Steven Heine from the University of British Columbia, is […]

Recognizing excellence in teaching: Steven Barnes awarded a UBC Killam Teaching Prize
UBC Psychology is pleased to announce that Dr. Steven Barnes, Instructor I for the Department of Psychology and Vantage College, has been awarded a UBC Killam Teaching Prize. The Prize, awarded each year, recognizes distinguished teaching at all levels of instruction. Prizewinners are selected by an adjudicating committee chaired by the Faculty of Arts’ Associate […]

UBC Human Resources features Prof. David Klonsky as a Thriving Faculty
This month’s Thriving Faculty feature is E. David Klonsky, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. Thriving Faculty is a monthly column that highlights UBC faculty who exemplify the integration of health and wellbeing into their classrooms, research, departments and communities. More. What are central challenges you face in your role as Faculty? Oh my […]

PhD student Ashley Whillans awarded UBC Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Prize
Congratulations goes out to UBC Psychology PhD student Ashley Whillans, recipient of a 2015 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Prize. UBC annually awards teaching prizes to UBC teaching assistants in recognition of the valuable role that they play in undergraduate programs. The prize includes a certificate and $1,000. Successful candidates will have met criteria that result […]

Congratulations to the PURC award winners
On April 1 and 2, the psychology community came together to celebrate undergraduate student research at the 18th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) . PURC is an opportunity for our undergraduate researchers to showcase their work, gain experience in presenting at conferences, and contribute to the scientific community. With the opportunity to share research […]

A royal welcome: Her Excellency Sharon Johnston visits the Living Lab
The Living Lab at Science World is usually a hub for children who visit the lab to explore and take part in psychology research. Recently the Living Lab had an exciting new participant, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston. Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston were in Vancouver […]

“Lab of the Month”: Q & A with Dr. Jeremy Biesanz on Quantitative Methods
An extremely integral field of psychology, yet somewhat less known, Quantitative Methods is the study of research methods and techniques used to analyze and collect data. The advancements of this field in psychology are essential for the publication of all research and findings in disciplines across the board. This month we feature a Q & […]

Outstanding Psychology Students Attend Special Dean’s Reception
In recognition of student contributions, UBC’s Dean of Arts hosts an annual Dean’s Reception for Graduating Student Leaders. Each year, outstanding students who are nearing the completion of their undergraduate degree are nominated by their department to attend the reception. This year the reception was on March 22 and it celebrated and honoured Arts undergraduate […]

2015/16 UBC Psi Chi Undergraduate Award Winners
The department is pleased to share the winners of UBC Psi Chi’s annual awards! Since September 2011, UBC Psi Chi (our local chapter of the international honours society) has awarded $9,750 in undergraduate travel awards and other awards recognizing outstanding individual achievements. Please join us in congratulating the following students on their outstanding work: Eich […]

New behavioural sustainability project charts your building’s electricity consumption in real-time
  UBC’s Behavioural Sustainability Lab has launched a real-time energy display project in 15 academic and residential buildings on UBC’s campus. The displays will show real-time electricity consumption in each participating building and compare it with the nearby buildings. To up the environmental ante, the student residences will be competing with each other to lower […]

The right stuff: Dr. Peter Suedfeld’s latest research gets a boost from the Canadian Space Agency
UBC Psychology Professor Emeritus Peter Suedfeld has spent his career exploring human resiliency to understand how we cope with the world around us. He is one of the pioneering researchers in the field of Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) and in his field research he has studied the reactions and adaptation of crews in the […]

History in the making: UBC Psychology students aim to right a wrong
A new student award recognizes and honours Mary Whiton Calkins as one of the founders of psychology. Imagine this: You’ve successfully completed all of the requirements for a PhD degree, including passing your doctoral exam. Your professors claim that your defense was ”the most brilliant examination for the PhD that we have had at Harvard”. […]

Lab of the Month: Expression of Emotions with Dr. Jessica Tracy
Our March lab of the month features Dr. Jessica Tracy, her lab, and the extensive research the lab it has yielded. From addictions to social interactions, Dr. Tracy’s research highlights the roles of pride and shame in our lives. There may only be six basic emotions, but there is nothing basic about Jessica Tracy’s Emotion […]

The Perks of Going to PURC
As the 18th annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC) approaches, an interview with Dr. Michael Souza, Senior Instructor and Associate Head of Undergraduate Affairs in the Department of Psychology at UBC, gives a more detailed account of the event. By sharing his insight and description of the benefits of participating in or attending the conference, Dr. […]

Friends matter: Babies use group size to determine social dominance
A new study out of UBC Psychology finds that infants as young as six months figure out that a person with more friends will be more dominant than someone with fewer companions. In this Q&A, Anthea Pun, the study’s lead author and a graduate student, discusses her research and explores how social dominance asserts itself […]

New animated teaching tool developed: Animating Hebb’s Three Postulates: from Brain to Soma
UBC Biology student Soma Barsen has developed a hand-drawn animated video to communicate some very complex behavioural neuroscience concepts. Barsen developed this as part of a Directed Studies course under the supervision of UBC Psychology Instructor Dr. Steven J. Barnes.  The video was edited by UBC Film student, Linnea Ritland. The video, “Animating Hebb’s Three Postulates: […]

Dr. Liisa Galea and the next 100 years of neuroscience
As part of a special feature UBC asked researchers across a range of disciplines at UBC to transport themselves into the year 2115 and imagine what they might be teaching and researching. Here’s what UBC Psychology Professor Liisa Galea had to say. Q: If you could transport yourself to the future, what would you be […]

2015 Knox Teaching Award recipients announced
Each year, the Department of Psychology honours two outstanding individuals in the department who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the education of students. We are thrilled to announce the 2015 Knox Teaching Award is awarded to our department head and professor Geoffrey Hall (Faculty Award) and to our sessional instructor Linda Scratchley (Sessional Award). […]

New research: Kids tune in to smiles, not frowns
Striving to get your kids’ attention? Try cracking a smile. Children are more attuned to happy faces than angry faces—while young adults are more attuned to angry expressions. That’s the surprising finding of a new research study from UBC’s Department of Psychology. The results challenge a common assumption that children would show the same pattern […]

Lab of the Month: Dr. Paul Hewitt’s pursuit of understanding perfectionism
Dr. Paul Hewitt, professor and clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychology, has been researching and treating perfectionism for over 25 years. He is the Principal Investigator of the Perfectionism & Psychopathology Laboratory. This clinical lab investigates perfectionism, defined as a transdiagnostic personality vulnerability factor, as well as its association with psychological and physical health […]

Dr. Kiley Hamlin Awarded 2015 UBC Killam Research Prize
Congratulations to UBC Psychology Professor Dr. Kiley Hamlin who received a 2015 UBC Faculty Research Award. Dr. Hamlin is the recipient of the UBC Killam Research Prize in the Arts and Humanities Junior Category, which recognizes outstanding research and scholarly contributions at UBC. Each spring, the Office of the Vice President Research & International hosts an […]

An International Service Learning course is applying psychology to global development
UBC Arts students interested in taking their academic learning beyond the classroom are invited to apply to an International Service Learning course, PSYCH 417A: Psychology and Developing Societies. This course is designed for Psychology Majors and includes three-month placements during Summer 2016 in Uganda or Kenya. Psychology 417A is a three-credit course that will introduce […]

Q&A with Prof. E. David Klonsky: Insights into Suicide
E. David Klonsky is clinical psychologist and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. Director of the Personality, Emotion, and Behaviour Lab (PEBL), his research focuses on understanding and preventing suicide. In advance of Suicide Awareness Day at UBC (January 27), we sit down with Dr. Klonsky to learn more about his research, to […]

Flashing lights and music turn rats into problem gamblers
New research by UBC Psychology Professor Catharine Winstanley and PhD candidate Michael Barrus shows that adding flashing lights and music to gambling encourages risky decision-making—even if you’re a rat. In research published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists at UBC discovered rats behaved like problem gamblers when sound and light cues were added to a […]

Student Q&A: UBC Psychology student leader and Wesbrook Scholar Robin Richardson
Robin Richardson is not your typical psychology student. Not only is Robin a 4th year Honours student, she’s a budding researcher and academic in the Department of Psychology at UBC. She is currently studying pharmacological treatments for postpartum depression in Dr. Liisa Galea’s lab, as well as executive functions and suicidal behaviour in Dr. David […]

Tomorrow’s researchers today: children take part in psychology research
It’s not unusual to hear the sounds of children’s voices or laughter echoing in the halls of the Kenny building; kids visit daily to take part in a number of developmental studies in our research labs. When looking at UBC Psychology’s Douglas T. Kenny building, a rigid concrete structure where many devoted students and distinguished […]

Prof. Jiaying Zhao’s research inspires a new product to change water-use habits
UBC’s Behavioural Sustainability Lab has partnered with Nascent Objects, a Silicon Valley company, to develop a new water conservation product called Droppler. Droppler is a modular device that uses sound recognition to track water consumption and translates the consumption into an instant visual signal in real-time. When Droppler detects sounds of running water from the […]

Dr. Kiley Hamlin Receives 2015 APS Rising Star Award
UBC Psychology’s Dr. Kiley Hamlin is the recipient of a 2015 Association for Psychological Science (APS) Rising Star Award in recognition of the exceptional work she achieved early in her research career. Dr. Hamlin is among awardees from esteemed institutions located across the globe including the University of Oxford, Harvard University, and Yale University. The […]

Lab of the Month: Social and Motivational Factors on Healthy Aging With Dr. Christiane Hoppmann
In order to promote healthy aging, is essential that critical factors such as motivators, facilitators, and obstacles to social engagement, healthy lifestyles, and well-being are understood. Striving to achieve this goal, the Health and Development Lab at UBC aims to: A) Tackle the social and motivational resources that allow older adults to optimize their own health […]

Q & A with Prof Ara Norenzayan: Merry Christmakwanzika!
At this time of year, many Canadian households are setting up Christmas trees, lighting menorahs, celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad, or marking the solstice. And an increasing number of families are observing more than one religious holiday. As UBC Psychology Professor Ara Norenzayan explains, interfaith families are a part of a diverse society. They […]

Lab of the Month: Bridging Sustainability and Psychology with Dr. Jiaying Zhao
From this summer’s unprecedented Vancouver drought and corresponding water regulations to the emotionally-charged environmental arguments constantly being spit from the mouths of politicians, sustainability is a deservedly hot topic these days. Rarely talked about, however, is a psychological angle to our mounting environmental woes and confusions – the study of all this thinking that we […]

Meet the PSA – Your Student Executive Team
The Psychology Students’ Association (PSA) of UBC is a student-run organization that seeks to enhance the personal, professional and academic success of Arts and Science undergraduate students who are interested in psychology. The Psychology Students’ Association provides students with academic resources by connecting students to various psychology related events and opportunities. In addition, PSA works to […]

Kiran Soma named Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
UBC Psychology Professor Kiran Soma has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. Dr. Soma has been awarded the distinction of Fellow for his distinguished contributions to the field of behavioural neuroscience, particularly the roles of local steroid synthesis in brain and […]

Dr. Janet Werker honoured for research into children’s language acquisition
Dr. Janet Werker, UBC Psychology Professor and Canada Research Chair, is the recipient of the 2015 SSHRC Gold Medal, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) highest research honour. Psychology students may know Professor Werker from their undergraduate Infancy classes, but she has also been internationally recognized for her research investigating language acquisition in […]

UBC has the best psychology program in Canada: new Maclean’s rankings
For the first time ever, Maclean’s has ranked the best universities in 10 program areas—including psychology—and UBC Psychology ranks number one in Canada. Psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at UBC, with over 1800 students working toward their BA degree and over 150 studying for their BSc degree. Maclean’s used hard data provided by the academic […]

UBC Psychology prof. Stan Floresco in awe at Neuroscience 2015
On October 17-21, more than 30,000 people from over 80 countries congregated at the 2015 Society for Neuroscience (SfN) 45th meeting. This annual meeting is considered the premier venue for neuroscientists to present emerging science, learn from experts, forge collaborations with peers, explore new tools and technologies, and advance careers. At this meeting, Dr. Stan […]

New research: Genetic variation explains why potential autism treatment doesn’t always work
A newly identified genetic variation may explain why a promising autism treatment therapy—oxytocin nasal spray—doesn’t work for everyone. In research published today in Translational Psychiatry, UBC Psychology professor Frances Chen and colleagues from the University of Freiburg pinpointed a genetic variant that is associated with sensitivity to oxytocin. Often dubbed the “love hormone,” oxytocin has […]

Lab of the Month: Seeing is believing for Dr. James Enns and His Vision Lab
Dr. James Enns is a Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Psychology at UBC. His core areas of expertise include Cognitive Science and Developmental Psychology. In this Q and A, Dr. Enns shares the research taking place in his lab and as well as what the lab does for fun. What’s the lab’s main […]

Dr. Amori Mikami’s new parent support group will help children with ADHD cope and build friendships
Alex bounces a ball by himself while his classmates play an exciting game of kickball. Alex’s classmates didn’t want him to join their game, because Alex forgets the rules, doesn’t notice when others are upset, and he tells others what to do. Alex has Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It’s no secret that childhood friendships can […]

Alumni profile: For Jennifer Ferris, BA Psychology 2013, curiosity is key
When UBC Psychology alumna Jennifer Ferris talks about her research, her face becomes animated and her eyes cast that certain light of a person with a desire to discover. Ferris, an MSc candidate in UBC’s Graduate Program of Neuroscience, completed her undergraduate degree at UBC with Honours in Psychology. You’ll now find her performing research under […]

Professor Emeritus Dr. Ken Craig receives honorary degree from Dalhousie University
Earlier this month, one of the select few recipients of the honorary degree from Dalhousie University is UBC Psychology’s very own Dr. Kenneth D. Craig. Recognized for a lifetime of achievement and groundbreaking research on the perception and expression of pain, Dr. Craig was presented with the honorary degree on Monday, October 5th during the fall graduation […]

New research: babies need free tongue movement to decipher speech sound
Inhibiting infants’ tongue movements impedes their ability to distinguish between speech sounds, researchers with the Department of Psychology at UBC have found. The study is the first to discover a direct link between infants’ oral-motor movements and auditory speech perception. In the study, published October 12, 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, […]

Lab of the Month: Dr. Todd Handy’s Attentional Neuroscience Lab
A place of collaboration, comfort and contribution Up on the third floor of UBC Psychology’s Kenny building, Dr. Todd Handy sits in a big computer chair on wheels in the middle of his main lab room, enthusiastically tossing ideas back-and-forth with Ph.D. students Jennifer Yip and Simon Ho and senior undergraduate student Kyle Gooderham. The four […]

1915-2015: A Century of Psychology at UBC
On September 30, 2015, exactly 100 years after welcoming its first class of students, UBC launched a year of Centennial celebrations. The year 2015 also marks a historical time for psychology at the university; it’s the 100th anniversary of when the first psychology class was offered. Now psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at UBC, with over 1800 […]

UBC Psychology prof. Luke Clark receives Scientific Achievement Award for his gambling research
Dr. Luke Clark is the recipient of the 2015 Scientific Achievement Award from the National Center for Responsible Gambling (NCRG). Dr. Clark is being recognized today for his contributions to the field of research on gambling disorder at the 16th annual NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction. “Dr. Clark has not only made a remarkable impact […]

Prof. Elizabeth Dunn admitted to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists
Join us in congratulating UBC Psychology Professor Elizabeth Dunn, who has been admitted to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Dunn is among the Canadians recognized as an emerging leader in her field of research. By accepting membership, Dunn joins the first and only national community of scholars, artists and scientists that […]

UBC Psychology graduate students receive SSHRC Talent Program Awards
Hearty congratulations to UBC Psychology graduate students Katarina Block, Xiaolei Deng, Mary Rui Jia, and Thomas Wiens, who are recipients of the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Talent Program Awards for 2015/16! The Talent program support students and postdoctoral fellows in order to develop the next generation of researchers and leaders across society, both within […]

Back-to-school Q & A: David King wants students to think beyond exams and grades
Dr. David King’s diverse teaching experience at the university level spans courses in research methods, health, gender, abnormal, personality, and social psychology. His goal is to stimulate intellectual curiosity and develop critical thinking in students. Fourth-year Psychology major Stella Domnich sat down with King to get his ideas on teaching and beyond. In this interview, King shares his tips for […]

Strengthening and building student engagement
  A new program is helping Psychology students find their community and prepare for their future Psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at UBC, with over 1800 students working toward their BA degree and over 150 studying for their BSc degree. Armed with a mission to create a sense of belonging within this large cohort, Dr. […]

UBC Psychology Professor Elizabeth Dunn a SSHRC Impact Award Finalist
Congratulations to UBC Psychology Professor Elizabeth Dunn! She’s a finalist for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Connection Award, which recognizes an outstanding SSHRC-funded initiative to facilitate the flow and exchange of research knowledge within and/or beyond the academic community. The Impact Awards recognize the highest achievements from outstanding researchers, students and research partners […]

Dr. Catherine Rawn says student chitchat can actually be a good thing
Talking in class is often frowned upon, but what if student chatter is actually beneficial? Catherine Rawn, a senior instructor at UBC’s department of psychology, and Gillian Sandstrom, a recent PhD graduate, explore the topic in their latest paper “Embrace Chattering Students: They May Be Building Community and Interest in Your Class.” The paper examines […]

Postdoctoral student Desiree Seib receives NARSAD grant
Desiree Seib is a postdoctoral fellow supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), currently working in Dr. Jason Snyder’s lab. During her postdoctoral studies, she has been addressing the role of neurogenesis in pattern separation and depressive-like behaviors. Recently, she received the NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, which provides support for the most promising young scientists conducting neurobiological research. Please join us […]

UBC Psychology research a feature story in UBC’s 2014/15 Annual Report
MAP TO HAPPINESS Is the state of ‘happiness’ situational, locational or a meld of something in between? When you’re in what behavioural scientists such as Dr. Jiaying Zhao calls an ‘immediate affective experience’, how much of it is caused by what’s within you – your internal mental state? How much is triggered by what’s around […]

Student Spotlight: Psychology student Katie Sanford in Swaziland
We got in touch with Katie Sanford, a third-year Psychology student from Bellingham, WA, to talk about her experiences traveling to Africa while participating in an International Service Learning course. This course, Psychology and Developing Societies, empowers students to act as agents of social change. Students complete a three-month placement with a non-profit organization in Africa, […]

UBC Psychology prof. Darko Odic receives CFI funding to build research centre
Dr. Darko Odic, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, recently received funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to build a world-class Centre for Cognitive Development at UBC. The Centre will investigate how human minds reason and talk about number and quantity, how these abilities develop from preschool onward, and how they relate to higher cognitive […]

UBC Arts student Audrey Tong receives new scholarship founded by Dr. Catherine Rawn
Audrey Tong is an incoming fifth-year University of British Columbia student majoring in Honours Political Science with International Relations, a scholarship recipient, and a successful Co-Op student. Dr. Catherine Rawn is a Senior Instructor in the University of British Columbia Psychology Department, and a recent recipient of the Killam Teaching Prize and the Knox Master […]

Faculty Q&A: a conversation with Dr. Kenneth Craig
UBC Psychology Emeritus Professor Kenneth Craig is a world-renowned pain expert whose pioneering work has revolutionized pain research among highly vulnerable populations who cannot verbally communicate for themselves. On July 1, 2015, Dr. Craig was appointed as an Officer into the Order of Canada. This honour recognizes a distinguished career filled with outstanding achievement, dedication […]

UBC Psychology researchers receive CIHR Funding for health research
UBC Psychology professors Liisa Galea and Sheila Woody are among UBC’s health researchers who have received a total of $73.6 million in grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Drs. Galea and Woody both received CIHR Open Operating Grants; awards that have been established to support research and knowledge translation projects across the full spectrum of health. The CIHR awards invest over $600 […]

New research by UBC Psychology’s Michael Muthukrishna suggests conformity can actually be a good thing
Like to go your own way? Most of us actually prefer to follow the pack, according to UBC research. That’s one of the outcomes from a study published in Evolution and Human Behavior that examines how mathematical models predict human behaviour. The research tested theories about when people should rely on “social information” – information […]

Dr. Eric Eich and the crusade for open science
UBC Psychology Professor Eric Eich has been with the University of British Columbia since 1983. During his time at UBC, Dr. Eich has served as Psychology Department Head, was named a Distinguished University Scholar, and received the Killam Research Prize and the Knox Master Teacher award, as well as many other honours. He also served […]

UBC Psychology lab gets high tech about social health
Have you ever been curious about how your friendships might affect your hormone levels and overall wellbeing? What about the ways in which those same hormones influence the way you behave in a romantic relationship? If questions such as these grab your attention, you may be interested in the research being conducted at Dr. Frances […]

Kindness may help socially anxious people relax, says new research by Dr. Lynn Alden
A new study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion by UBC Clinical Psychology professor Dr. Lynn Alden and SFU SSHRC post-doctoral fellow Jennifer Trew suggests that performing acts of kindness might help lessen social anxiety. For this study, Alden and Trew recruited 115 undergraduate students who reported experiencing high levels of social anxiety, and these […]

UBC Psychology Professor Emeritus Dr. Kenneth Craig appointed into the Order of Canada
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kenneth Craig, who was appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada. On July 1, 2015, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced the new appointments to the Order of Canada in recognition of “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the […]

Faculty Q & A: Dr. Liisa Galea on women and sexism in science (with bonus hashtags)
On May 26, 2015, YWCA Metro Vancouver announced the winners of its 32nd annual Women of Distinction Awards. Among them was UBC Psychology professor Dr. Liisa Galea, recipient of the Technology, Science and Research award. Dr. Galea (@LiisaGalea) is one of the few researchers in the world to study the female brain. Her research centres […]

New research by Prof. Rebecca Todd: PTSD soldiers more likely to see a world full of threat
Soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may see a world more full of threat than those not suffering from the affliction, according to a study led by UBC Psychology and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. The findings underline how PTSD – a trauma-related mental disorder linked to higher levels of emotional arousal […]

Six UBC Psychology professors awarded NSERC funding
Scientists across an array of faculties at University of British Columbia will receive a combined total of $32.7 million in grants, fellowships and scholarships, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced today. The awards include the NSERC’s flagship Discovery Grants and Equipment Grants. UBC Psychology’s six grant recipients include Janet Werker, […]

Wandering, but not lost: new UBC meta-analysis unveils the complex neural correlates of mind-wandering
Good news for chronic daydreamers: findings from a recent meta-analysis by UBC Psychology researchers Kieran Fox and Dr. Kalina Christoff suggest that mind-wandering may involve many more brain areas than previously thought. It has been generally accepted that a system of brain regions known as the ‘default mode network’ are the principal areas activated during […]

Father’s Day special: Dr. Andrew Baron on science, gender, and parenting
Professor Andrew Baron, father and child psychologist, is director of both the UBC Social Cognitive Development Lab and the Living Lab at Science World. Under his direction, these labs explore the development of social cognition in young children. In anticipation of Father’s Day, we asked Dr. Baron a few questions about fatherhood, gender roles, and […]

Betting the bank: Centre for Gambling Research at UBC pays off
Just. One. More. Time. And then again and again…and sometimes with devastating consequences. What causes a gambling addict to make the impulsive decisions that can potentially ruin their lives? That’s a question for Dr. Luke Clark, the inaugural director of UBC’s Centre for Gambling Research, who studies what happens in our brains when we gamble. […]

UBC Psychology’s Dr. Catherine Rawn receives the Killam Teaching Prize
Awarding Excellence On Friday, May 22nd, UBC Psychology professor Dr. Catherine Rawn crossed the Chan Centre stage in order to accept her Killam Teaching Prize. The Prize, awarded each year by an adjudicating committee chaired by the Associate Dean, recognizes distinguished teaching at all levels of instruction. If Dr. Rawn’s teaching style is distinguished – […]

UBC Psychology professors receive distinguished Canadian Psychological Association awards at annual conference
On behalf of the Department of Psychology, we extend our hearty congratulations to Emeritus Professors Dr. Peter Suedfeld and Dr. Robert Hare, recipients of two distinguished Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) awards. Dr. Peter Suedfeld has won this year’s CPA Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology. Dr. Suedfeld has spent his career […]

Join UBC Psychology researchers at the Museum of Vancouver’s “The Happy Show”
Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show is a thought-provoking and engaging exhibition that inspires happiness. It transcends the boundary between art and design. It takes over museum galleries and in-between spaces – stairwells, hallways, and restrooms – in order to ask: what makes us happy? UBC Psychology researchers Aaron Weidman and Ashley Whillans are taking part […]

Staring Pain in the Face: Software “Reads” Kids’ Expressions to Measure Pain Levels
Media Release Accurately assessing pain in children in a clinical setting can be difficult. A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has demonstrated the validity of a new method for measuring pediatric pain levels using novel facial pattern recognition software. The study, co-authored by UBC Psychology professor emeritus […]

UBC Psychology prof. Liisa Galea a 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award recipient
On May 26, YWCA Metro Vancouver announced the winners of its 32nd annual Women of Distinction Awards. Each year, these awards honour inspiring women and their achievements. Among them was UBC Psychology professor Liisa Galea, recipient of the Technology, Science and Research award. Please join us in congratulating Liisa on this well-deserved honour! Read more […]

UBC Psychology professor Amori Mikami explores what shapes our online behaviour
In a recent interview posted by UBC ArtsWIRE, clinical psychology professor Amori Mikami offers some compelling insights into modern-day internet phenomena such as online bullying and compulsive over-sharing. She suggests that we shouldn’t be too quick to characterize online bullies as a new breed: ” I’ve done a couple of different studies now, where I’ve looked […]

Portrait of a graduate: Meet Sarah Cheung, BSc ‘15 (Psychology)
Sarah Cheung graduates today with a B.Sc. in Psychology. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy when she was nine months old and was a Torchbearer for the 2010 Paralympics. Sarah recently sat down with UBC Access and Diversity to reflect on her time at UBC and to discuss what the future holds […]

New article featuring UBC Psychology professor James Enns’ research
A recent article on the Psychonomic Society’s website features exciting new findings by UBC Psychology’s’ Dr. James Enns and Allison Brennan: social interaction may help team performance. Their research also explores the factors that mediate this effect, contrasting two commonly used ideas about how people function in groups or teams: “Put two heads together and they are better than one. […]

UBC Psychology graduate Ryan Tomm is making science cool with Aboriginal teens
Understanding the brain Growing up, Ryan Tomm didn’t know he would be a scientist one day. It was a series of decisions that led him on his eventual path to study and do research at UBC. His research explores the effects of aging on decision-making, executive functions and cognitive flexibility. “I was a First Nations […]

UBC Psychology professor Janet Werker’s Psychology Today interview is an essential read
In a recent Psychology Today interview with François Grosjean, Dr. Janet Werker discusses her research on the ways in which bilingual infants are able to separate and discriminate between different languages. She says, “bilingual infants are able to use the existence of different kinds of phonemes to help situate the speech they are hearing within […]

Supportive families and schools critical in protecting transgender youth health
A new national study shows that while Canada’s transgender youth face significant physical and mental health issues, strong family, school and community connections are helping many of them navigate these challenges. The study is the first and largest of its kind in Canada, with 923 individuals participating between the ages 14-25. Among the study’s contributors […]

New research by UBC Psychology professor Rebecca Todd
Your genes may influence how sensitive you are to emotional information, according to new research by a UBC neuroscientist and psychology professor Rebecca Todd. The study, recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that carriers of a certain genetic variation perceived positive and negative images more vividly, and had heightened activity in certain brain […]

Faculty Q and A: Professor Delroy Paulhus on the dark side of our personalities
UBC Psychology professor Delroy Paulhus first introduced the concept of the ‘Dark Triad’ in 2002. They are a family of socially aversive personality traits that includes Machiavellianism (strategic manipulation), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (impulsive thrill-seeking). Together, these traits capture the sinister side of otherwise normal individuals. Along with Dan Jones, Dr. Paulhus created the […]

UBC Psychology faculty receive 2015 Dean of Arts Faculty Research Award and Killam Teaching Prize
Join us in congratulating prof. Liisa Galea, recipient of the 2015 Dean of Arts Faculty Research Award. This award allows research faculty one semester to concentrate entirely on research without teaching or administrative duties. This research can be associated with starting a new research program, conducting intensive research, or completing an existing project. Liisa Galea is […]

‘Chemo brain’ is real: New study co-authored by UBC Psychology and UBC Medicine scientists
UBC research shows that chemotherapy can lead to excessive mind wandering and an inability to concentrate. Dubbed ‘chemo-brain,’ the negative cognitive effects of the cancer treatment have long been suspected, but the UBC study is the first to explain why patients have difficulty paying attention. Breast cancer survivors were asked to complete a set of […]

Just in time for Earth Day: New UBC Psychology environmental behaviour research
Thinking “time is money” can be a barrier for people to act in environmentally friendly ways, even for tasks like recycling that take mere seconds, according to research by UBC Psychology’s Ashley Whillans and Elizabeth Dunn As Earth Day approaches on April 22, this dynamic has led to an unsettling outcome. “Putting a price tag […]

Q&A with PhD candidate Alyssa Croft: Why more men should take on female-dominated roles
Did you know that more women volunteer than men? Or that more women work in so-called communal roles – jobs that are more focused on caring for others – than their male counterparts? Nowadays, we don’t think twice about seeing a female police officer, but a male hairdresser’s sexuality is often called into question. UBC […]

UBC Psychology professors among UBC’s Canada Research Chair renewals
On April 10, 2015, UBC research received $23.2 million in support of 23 Canada Research Chairs working in medicine, psychology, engineering, biology and more. Please join us in congratulating UBC Psychology professors Toni Schmader and Janet Werker, whose Canada Research Chair appointments were renewed. Dr. Toni Schmader, Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology, seeks to understand how […]

Profs Christiane Hoppmann and Catharine Winstanley awarded UBC Killam Research Prizes
Congratulations to UBC Psychology professors Christiane Hoppmann and Catharine Winstanley who were awarded the 2014/15 UBC Killam Research Prize, a university-wide award recognizing outstanding research and scholarly contributions at UBC. UBC honoured the recipients of the 2014 Faculty Research Awards at a reception at the Chan Centre on March 31, 2015. Winners of these peer-nominated […]

17th Annual PURC Award Winners
On March 27 and 28, a record 70 presenters shared their outstanding psychology research at the 17th annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC). Join us in congratulating the winners of ‘Best Poster’ and ‘Best Oral Presentation’ at PURC this past weekend. Winners receive $100, courtesy of the Department of Psychology. BEST POSTER AWARDS (3) From […]

Announcement: 2014/15 UBC Psi Chi Undergraduate Award Winners
The department is pleased to share the winners of UBC Psi Chi’s annual awards! Since September 2011, UBC Psi Chi (our local chapter of the international honours society) has awarded $8,050 in undergraduate travel awards and other awards recognizing outstanding individual achievements. More Please join us in congratulating the following students on their outstanding work: […]

2015 Quinn Memorial Lecture: speaker and date announced
Each year the Quinn Memorial Lecture brings together the UBC Psychology community and friends for an evening of dialogue. We’re excited to announce that Dr. Susan Carey, Professor  of Psychology at Harvard University, will be joining us on September 17, 2015. Title and abstract Concept Acquisition: Beyond Logical Construction and the Building Blocks Model Only […]

Q & A with prof Elizabeth Dunn: a “Yes” vote in the transit plebiscite is a vote for happiness
UBC psychologist and researcher Elizabeth Dunn, co-author of Happy Money, says there’s more at stake in the Metro Vancouver transit referendum than shorter commute times and climate change. The way you vote could also impact your happiness level. How does commuting affect a person’s overall happiness? If you look at how happy people feel during […]

UBC Psychology prof. Liisa Galea a 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award Nominee
Recently the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Award nominees were announced. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Liisa Galea, who was nominated in the category of Technology, Science & Research. Recognized nationally, the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards honours individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community. Below […]

UBC Psychology Professor Eric Eich appointed as the new Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs
In December 2014, the UBC Board of Governors accepted President Arvind Gupta’s recommendation to appoint Prof. Eric Eich as Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Academic Affairs, for a five-year term commencing in July 2015. Eric has a significant record of service to both the university and the psychology community, serving as the Head of Psychology, as […]

UBC Psychology Prof. Stanley Coren on the impact of setting our clocks one hour ahead
As we spring forward, is Daylight Saving Time worth it? UBC  Psychology Professor Emeritus and sleep expert Stanley Coren is the former director of the Human Neuropsychology and Perception Laboratory and author of the 1996 book Sleep Thieves. In this Q and A, Coren discusses the risks and benefits of setting our clocks one hour […]

UBC Psychology faculty awarded UBC’s 2015 Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund
Please join us in congratulating our faculty who have received UBC’s 2015 Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) towards their work in supporting and encouraging innovation in a teaching and learning environment. Professors Peter Graf and Catherine Rawn, have received funding towards their project ‘Fostering Peer Learning & Assessment Skill’. This project will create and […]

UBC Psychology prof. Catherine Rawn is using social media to build a course
UBC Psychology Senior Instructor Catherine Rawn is developing a course called the Psychology of Social Media, which she will teach as Psyc 325 in January 2016. This course is currently listed as a developmental course, but will emphasize themes of social and personality psychology. She has already begun brainstorming and you’re invited to participate in […]

UBC Psychology researchers are among UBC’s Canada Research Chairs
Call them catalysts, magnets, even disruptors; the federal Canada Research Chair (CRC) program is specifically designed to “attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds.” Backed by CRC funding, these gifted professors, eminent academics and researchers — the Chairs — ‘set up shop’ in Canadian universities, freed to focus on research […]

How to rev up a sputtering relationship
Is your relationship going stale? UBC Psychology researcher Heather Morton explains the research behind flagging libidos, and offers tips on reigniting the flames of passion. Why did you want to study partner novelty? If you Google “How to enhance sexual desire” or “How to spice up your relationship,” you will find a large number of […]

New research: Caring youth-parent relations can be vital to preventing adolescent suicide attempts
Positive relations between youth and their parents can be key to preventing adolescent suicide attempts, according to research from UBC Psychology. Suicide is the third-leading cause of adolescent death worldwide, and is responsible for a quarter of all adolescent deaths in Canada. The research examines the link between parental bonding – a term describing the quality […]

Pick a card, any card: UBC Psychology prof Ron Rensink co-authors a study that shows how magicians sway decision-making
Magicians have astonished audiences for centuries by subtly, yet powerfully, influencing their decisions. But there has been little systematic study of the psychological factors that make magic tricks work. Now, a team of Canadian researchers has combined the art of conjuring and the science of psychology to demonstrate how certain contextual factors can sway the […]

UBC Psychology prof. Jiaying Zhao is exploring how your environment affects your happiness
A force of nature Surrounded by forest and ocean, UBC’s Vancouver campus has no shortage of breathtaking vistas. It was one of these vistas that a sparked an emotional reaction in Dr. Jiaying Zhao, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at UBC. When tears sprung to her eyes she realized what she felt was […]

17th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Conference Application: Feb 13, 2015
In preparation for the 17th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Conference in March 2015, the Psychology Students’ Association of UBC (PSA) is now accepting applications for oral and poster presentations. Anyone who has conducted any form of psychology research (with a faculty supervisor) during the 2014-2015 academic year is encouraged to apply. This is a great opportunity […]

Psychology student awarded UBC’s Premier Undergraduate Award
Join us in congratulating UBC Psychology student Colin Xu, who was recently awarded one of UBC’s most prestigious Premier Undergraduate Awards – Amy E. Sauder Scholarship and Jean Craig Smith Scholarship. The Premier Undergraduate Scholarships and Wesbrook Scholars are the University’s most prestigious designations, given to senior students with outstanding academic performance, leadership, and involvement in student […]

UBC Psychology in the news: Checking your email less can help reduce stress
A new study by PhD candidate Kostadin Kushlev and Professor Elizabeth Dunn in the Department of Psychology suggests that easing up on email checking can help reduce psychological stress. Read first-hand about their research in this article they co-wrote in the New York Times. Stop Checking Email So Often Is email overload bad for you? […]

Dr. Catharine Winstanley’s Synapse of Discovery
UBC Psychology Professor Catharine Winstanley’s one-of-a-kind approach to gambling addiction is a highlight of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, a major research and clinical facility at UBC. Dr. Winstanley would like to eliminate the stigma around mental illness and hopes for the day when it can be proven unequivocally that it is a […]

UBC Psychology Prof. Andrew Baron’s Path to Research
To better understand their research, UBC researchers were asked some questions about the path to their discovery. Dr. Andrew Baron‘s answers are explored in this Path to Research special feature. Genesis of the Project Idea Professor Andrew Baron knew he had to visit Vancouver’s Science World the day before his job interview at UBC. Not […]

Ideas that shape our future: Michael Muthukrishna a SSHRC Storyteller Finalist
UBC Psychology doctoral student Michael Muthukrishna is spreading the word about the Database of Religious History, a world-changing research project at UBC. And he’s doing it in an unusual way. Michael rose to the challenge of communicating the impact of SSHRC-funded research by compressing this complex research project into a compelling three-minute video. He then submitted it […]

Meet the author: a conversation with Ingrid Söchting
Dr. Ingrid Söchting, a recognized expert in the field of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), joined the Department of Psychology in September 2014 as Director of the UBC Psychology Clinic. Söchting has been instrumental in developing CBT group programs for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder, as well […]

ICYMI: UBC Psychology Prof. Andrew Baron cautions against gender-specific toys
In this Q and A, UBC developmental psychologist Andrew Baron discusses the pitfalls of gender-specific toys and offers advice on the toys and activities that can spark the imagination. What kinds of toys should parents avoid giving children? Parents, friends and relatives can inadvertently give toys that reinforce gender stereotypes about play, and what types […]

Season’s Greetings from the Department of Psychology at UBC
Wishing our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends a joyful holiday season and the very best in 2015!   UBC Psychology holiday hours: Our administration office will be closed December 25, 2014 through January 1, 2015, with limited service December 22-24 and January 2. Our advising office will be closed December 19, 2014 through January […]

Apply to lead a Student Directed Seminar: January 9, 2015
Interested in leading a Student Directed Seminar (SDS) in the 2015/16 academic year? SDS’s allow senior undergraduate students to either participate in or initiate and coordinate small, collaborative, group learning experiences. Examples of previous courses include topics on ADHD and Alzheimers. Learn more. About You’ll have the chance to create a 400-level seminar with the […]

A research rebuttal: mind-wandering over matter
Kieran Fox and Kalina Christoff, cognitive neuroscientists in UBC’s Department of Psychology, have recently published a paper ‘Is thinking really aversive? A commentary on Wilson et al.’s Just think: the challenges of the disengaged mind‘ in the journal Frontiers. This opinion piece is a response to a controversial study published in the journal Science. The […]

Gift giving 101: a holiday Q & A with prof. Elizabeth Dunn
Christmas. A time of giving. But what exactly should you give? UBC Psychology professor and happiness expert Elizabeth Dunn offers some advice on the holiday ritual of gift giving. What are the psychological benefits of giving – for the giver and the receiver? Is it better to give than to receive? It’s important to remember […]

UBC Psychology study in Altmetric’s Top 100 for 2014
The study ‘Trolls just want to have fun’ is co-authored by UBC Psychology professor Del Paulhus and is featured in Altmetric’s Top 100 research papers for 2014. The study’s first author, Erin Buckels, was a UBC Psychology MA student at the time, and the second author, Paul Trapnell, is a former PhD student. The researchers […]

Checking your email less can help reduce stress: New study by PhD candidate Kostadin Kushlev
Check less to reduce email stress Is your inbox burning you out? Then take heart – research from UBC’s Department of Psychology suggests that easing up on email checking can help reduce psychological stress. Some of the study’s 124 adults — including students, financial analysts medical professionals and others — were instructed to limit checking […]

Psychology Prof Elizabeth Dunn shares her research at TEDxColoradoSprings
On October 11, 2014, UBC Psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn presented her research at TEDxColoradoSprings, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Dr. Dunn is the author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, co-authored with Mike Norton at Harvard Business School. Dr. Dunn conducts original research on self-knowledge and happiness, with a current focus on […]

Eric Eich to deliver Frederick Howell Lewis Distinguished Lecture in 2015
UBC Psychology professor Eric Eich will deliver the 2015 Frederick Howell Lewis Distinguished Lecture at the next American Psychological Association (APA) meeting in Toronto. The lecture is on “Building a Better Psychological Science” and it is sponsored by Psi Chi, in association with APA. Previous Howell Lewis Lecturers include John Cacioppo, Elizabeth Loftus, Steven Pinker, […]

Psychology, Food and Friendship: Faculty Q & A
Professors Frances Chen, Jiaying Zhao and Rebecca Todd are scientists in the Department of Psychology at UBC. In this Q & A they reflect on their research, their ideas, their mutual love of food and the friendship they have formed in their first year at UBC. Q: How did you get started in your career […]

The Centre for Gambling Research at UBC officially opens
Probing the psychology of gambling, helping problem gamblers and enhancing gaming policy are key goals for the new Centre for Gambling Research at UBC, which opens today. The Centre – one of only a handful of such research hubs globally – is headed by leading gambling psychologist Luke Clark who joined UBC this year from […]

CBT group therapy pioneer named new director of the UBC Psychology Clinic
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ingrid Söchting as the new Clinic Director of the UBC Psychology Clinic. Söchting, who joined the Department of Psychology in September 2014, will lead the operational activities of the clinic. Prior to this, Söchting was chief psychologist in an outpatient mental health interdisciplinary program at Vancouver Coastal Health for […]

Boo! Why we love the trick, and not just the treat, of Halloween
UBC Psychology prof Sheila Woody talks about our fascination with being spooked. Why do we enjoy scaring others, and ourselves? There are different elements that come with being afraid. There’s a cognitive part that has us on edge, or uncertain about what’s going to happen next. There’s the physical part where we experience arousal from […]

UBC Psychology professor Kiley Hamlin shares research on early moral cognition with the Dalai Lama
Prof. Kiley Hamlin took part in the sold-out event Educating the Heart in the Early Years: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on October 22, 2014 at UBC’s Chan Centre for Performing Arts. Revered worldwide for his compassion, quick wit and intelligence, the Dalai Lama is one of UBC’s most distinguished Honorary Doctorates. This unique […]

Dr. Jiaying Zhao named Tier II Canada Research Chair
UBC Psychology professor Jiaying Zhao is named a Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Sustainability. Please join us in congratulating her on this accomplishment! Dr. Zhao is using this funding towards building the Behavioral Sustainability Lab in the Department of Psychology at UBC. Chairholders are leading researchers in their areas and improve Canada’s depth of knowledge […]

New research: children as young as five can be critical of adults who make overly-confident claims
Research from the Psychology departments at Concordia and UBC reveals that children as young as five can gauge when adults are overconfident. From the words for colours to how to tie a shoelace, kids have lots to learn — and for the most part, they depend on others to teach it to them. But whether […]

Chalk it up to experience: Steven Barnes’ stop-motion animations bring blackboard to life
A blackboard and chalk may not sound like cutting edge technology, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about the way UBC psychology instructor Steven Barnes employs the classic tools of the teaching trade. With the help of research assistant Chandra Jade, the tenure-track instructor is developing a series of 10 stop-motion animations for his third-year Brain and […]

Prof. Ara Norenzayan awarded James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowship
Please join us in congratulating UBC Psychology Professor Ara Norenzayan, recipient of a 2014–2015 James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellowship. The Fellowships allow recipients to extend their sabbatical periods from one semester to a full year. During his sabbatical, Norenzayan will investigate how the field of psychology can tackle religious diversity, including secular alternatives to religion. […]

UBC Psychology prof. receives inaugural award for her scientific work in gambling research
Dr. Catharine Winstanley was named a first-time recipient of the 2014 Scientific Achievement Award from the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG). She received this award in recognition of her invaluable contributions to the field of research for gambling disorder and responsible gaming. Join us in congratulating her on this honour! Dr. Winstanley is an Associate Professor in […]

New research: Chemical signals in the brain help guide risky decisions
A gambler’s decision to stay or fold in a game of cards could be influenced by a chemical in the brain, suggests new research from Stan Floresco, professor in UBC’s Dept. of Psychology. The rise and fall of dopamine plays a key role in decisions involving risk and reward, from a baseball player trying to […]

2014/2015 Department Colloquia: confirmed speakers
Join us for a series of intriguing talks and scientific inspiration. Annually the Department of Psychology hosts a Colloquia Series throughout the academic year. This exciting program brings us together outside of the classroom to have conversations with our faculty and students and the speakers we’ve invited to our campus to share their ideas. You’ll […]

UBC Psychology Professor Elizabeth Dunn a SSHRC Impact Connection Award finalist
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) announced the top three finalists for 2014 Impact Awards in the Talent, Insight, Connection and Partnership award categories. Congratulations, high fives and happy faces to Elizabeth Dunn, who is a finalist for the Connection Award! The Connection Award recognizes an outstanding SSHRC-funded initiative to facilitate the flow […]

UBC Psychology’s Sunaina Assanand’s five dos and don’ts for new students
As a senior instructor in UBC’s Dept. of Psychology, Sunaina Assanand has logged countless hours in classrooms. Lecturing to an average class size of 200 to 250 students, she’s also seen her fair share of classroom antics. To better help first-year university students achieve success, Assanand, now an associate dean in the Faculty of Arts, […]

UBC Psychology Imagine Day Orientation Presentation
Join us for a series of UBC Psychology information sessions and get connected to the psychology community. During these sessions, you will learn more about curricular and extracurricular opportunities available to psychology students, the Psychology Department’s BSc Program, the Psychology Department’s Honours Program, and upcoming events for psychology students. We will begin with a general […]

Catherine Rawn awarded 2014 Knox Master Teacher Award
Please join us in congratulating Catherine Rawn, recipient of the 2014 Robert E. Knox Master Teacher Award from the Department of Psychology. Catherine, a Senior Instructor in our Learning Enhancement area, received this award for her commitment to teaching excellence. This award recognizes our dedicated professors with significant career achievements in teaching. We are proud […]

UBC Psychology MA student Jennifer Lay is a Vanier Scholar
Congratulations to UBC Psychology MA student Jennifer Lay, recipient of a 2014 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship! Jennifer is one of thirty-two UBC doctoral students awarded $50,000 a year for three years. This award allows Jennifer to continue her research in ‘Overcoming barriers to social engagement: Exploring associations between self-esteem, social self-efficacy, everyday helping behaviour, and […]

New research on eye-tracking devices sheds light on the implications of wearable technologies
Wearers of smart glasses such as Google Glass can easily forget they’re recording what they see and despite the best of intentions, can violate other people’s privacy. That’s the suggestion of new research out of the Brain and Attention Lab in the University of British Columbia’s Dept. of Psychology. For a study just published in the […]

Professor Emeritus Stanley Coren featured in the UBC Annual Report
The Audience Sits Up, Rolls Over Popular author, lecturer, blogger, broadcast celebrity, academic researcher and canine expert; Professor Emeritus Stanley Coren received the Maxwell Medal of Excellence from the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA). The author of some 400 research papers and articles on a wide range of psychological areas and 19 books for […]

Q and A with Luke Clark, leading gambling psychologist
Dr. Luke Clark, a global expert in the field of gambling research, joins the Department of Psychology as the inaugural director of the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC. Clark, who led the UK’s largest study of pathological gamblers, will lead the academic and operational activities of the Centre beginning July 1, 2014. We sit […]

UBC Psychology research a feature story in UBC’s 2013/14 Annual Report
On the UBC Vancouver campus, the walls do ‘speak’ and apparently, some far more persuasively than others. To assist the UBC Campus Sustainability Sort it Out program and to underline the campus as a ‘living lab’, the UBC Department of Psychology monitored the recycling outcomes at two popular eating areas in two very differently designed […]

Jason Snyder receives 2014 MSFHR Scholar Award
Join us in congratulating Assistant Prof. Jason Snyder on his recent Scholar award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. The award goes towards his project: functions for new neurons in remembering stressful experiences and repairing the adult brain. He is among thirty-two exceptional BC health researchers named recipients of Scholar awards through MSFHR’s […]

Canada’s Most Versatile Psychologist: Dr. Peter Suedfeld
At the 75th Annual CPA Convention in Vancouver, Dr. John Connors gave a fascinating talk on UBC Psychology Professor Emeritus Peter Suedfeld’s background, history and groundbreaking research in the field of REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy).

UBC Psychology welcomes new Department Head
Dr. Geoffrey Hall begins his five-year term as Department Head on July 1. Hall is the Director of the Language Development Centre and a part of the Early Development Research Group, a group of five research centers interested in the development of language, learning, and social understanding in children. He succeeds Dr. Alan Kingstone, who […]

UBC Psychology faculty receive new NSERC grants
Six UBC Psychology professors involved in research ranging from understanding our lifespan memory development; to components of human selective attention are receiving new funding through the Discovery Grants program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Peter Graf (Discovery grant) Prospective memory across the adult lifespan Todd Handy (Discovery grant) The […]

Job interviews reward narcissists, punish applicants from modest cultures
A study by UBC Psychology Prof. Del Paulhus finds that narcissistic applicants are more successful in job interviews than equally qualified candidates who act more modestly. The findings suggest that applicants from cultures that place greater emphasis on humility, including some Asian cultures, may have a harder time landing a job in North America. “A […]

Dr. Peter Suedfeld a Featured Fellow in Canadian Geographic
UBC Psychology Professor Emeritus Peter Suedfeld is a Featured Fellow in the June 2014 Canadian Geographic! Dr. Suedfeld has journeyed to places such as Antarctica to study the effects of isolation on people. Read the full profile here.  

UBC Psychology student awards announced
Each year, UBC Psychology students are recognized for their department contributions and overall academic achievements. Please join us in congratulating our exceptional undergraduate and graduate students who received the following awards: Undergraduate award recipients Jean Bolocan Prize (outstanding BA student in final year of study) Sandy Yee Eric Eich Award (outstanding BA student in final […]

Dads who do chores bolster daughters’ aspirations
Fathers who help with household chores are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less traditional, and potentially higher paying, careers. So finds a new study that suggests how parents share dishes, laundry and other domestic duties plays a key role in shaping the gender attitudes and aspirations of their children, especially daughters. While […]

PhD student Benjamin Cheung awarded UBC Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
Hearty congratulations goes out to UBC Psychology PhD student Benjamin Cheung, recipient of a 2014 UBC Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award! UBC annually awards teaching prizes to UBC teaching assistants in recognition of the valuable role that they play in undergraduate programs.   Photos courtesy of UBC Ceremonies and Events

A former UBC Psychology Professor’s Honorary Degree acceptance speech
Ten years ago Nobel Laureate and former UBC Psychology professor Daniel Kahneman received an honorary UBC degree alongside his wife Anne Treisman, also a former UBC Psychology professor and a 2011 National Medical of Science Laureate. In 2002, Kahneman earned the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for integrating psychological research into economics, particularly concerning human […]

Sisters’ achievements a combination nature and nurture
Twin sisters Negah and Pegah Mortazavi are in synch in all aspects of their lives. They joined UBC with matching entrance scholarships to pursue their honours degrees in psychology. Their enthusiasm and energy mirrors one another and they share a close bond. The scientist in them attributes this to culture, genes and environment. “Very early […]

Dr. Sunaina Assanand Awarded UBC Killam Teaching Prize
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sunaina Assanand, who received the 2013/2014 UBC Killam Teaching Prize. UBC Killam Teaching Prizes are awarded annually in the Faculty of Arts and they recognize distinguished teaching at all levels of instruction. Dr. Assanand was selected for this award in recognition of her reputation of being an outstanding teacher who […]

UBC Psychology Professor Liisa Galea on ‘baby brain’ and other ways that motherhood changes a woman’s brain chemistry
Motherhood permanently alters the brain, exposing moms to different health risks than women without children, says UBC neuroscientist Liisa Galea. Galea says understanding the long-term effects of motherhood will improve medical care and treatment for mothers. Read the Q and A with Liisa Galea at UBC News.

Benjamin Cheung receives Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
Congratulations goes out to UBC Psychology MA student Benjamin Cheung, recipient of the 2013/14 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award! UBC annually awards teaching prizes to UBC teaching assistants in recognition of the valuable role that they play in undergraduate programs. With over 2000 Teaching Assistants working at UBC, winning this award is a remarkable achievement. The […]

Dr. Janet Werker Elected as 2014 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its 2014 class of new members, which includes winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. Please join us in congratulating her on this accomplishment. Dr. Werker’s […]

The new pulse of digital music
UBC Psychology major Diana Brownie is transforming music and dance in UBC’s Laptop Orchestra. The third-year Psychology student says the ensemble’s motion technology helps non-musical collaborators feel more part of the show. “As a dancer, the music typically dictates your movements,” Brownie says. “But with this, your dancing create the sounds – so it’s been […]

Canada Fund for Innovation awards UBC $2.2M to boost research
Congratulations to UBC Psychology researchers Frances Chen and Kiran Soma who received Canada Fund for Innovation awards to fund their research!

UBC Psychology doctoral student Michael Muthukrishna is a SSHRC Storytellers finalist
UBC Psychology’s Michael Muthukrishna created this video to explain Psychohistory and was selected as a Top 25 Storyteller. The top entries demonstrated the impact of SSHRC research and addressed key societal issues highlighting how research in the social sciences and humanities helps us understand and improve the world around us.

CPA Clinical Section Educational Activity Student grant awarded
Congratulations to our graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program who successfully received a Canadian Psychological Association Clinical Section Educational Activity Student Grant! The grant is subsidizing registration fees for UBC and SFU clinical psychology graduate students for a workshop on Psychological Treatment of Addiction and Concurrent Disorders on May 9, 2014. Registration is open […]

UBC psychology professor Joseph Henrich renewed as Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Co-evolution
Research ranging from Latin poetry to neuroethics at the University of British Columbia has received an $8.5 million boost in federal funding for eight professors appointed or renewed as Canada Research Chairs. The UBC contingent is among the 102 new and renewed chairs announced Friday by Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology, […]

Using new media in the classroom to engage and interact with students
It’s not surprising that an artist would use stop-motion animation as an educational tool. Although he teaches science, Steven Barnes is an active artist and he strives to combine art and science in his work. Explaining content using different forms of digital media is new for science education and this exciting new project brings Barnes’ background as […]

The power of the crowd
In the age of Kickstarter, tech-savvy scientists explore new ways to engage the public in their research. When Docky Duncan started crowdfunding for his quirky research project, he didn’t think he was doing anything out of the ordinary. “If a local rock band can be successful at crowdfunding, we figured a bunch of scientists should […]

Head games: How the mind works when gambling
Tiny ‘rat casino’ offers insight into brain and possible treatments for compulsive gambling UBC Psychology Prof. Catharine Winstanley’s work on gambling addictions will be a highlight of the new Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, a major new research and clinical facility that recently opened at UBC. In 2009, Winstanley’s Laboratory of Molecular and Behavioural Neuroscience […]

2013 Undergraduate Student of the Year Honourable Mention
UBC Psychogy student Eva Kwan received an honourable mention for the Arts Co-op Student of the Year Award! Eva was recognized for her work at the Canadian Space Agency’s Operational Space Medicine Programme, where she supported Commander Chris Hadfield with his mission to space. “She made a huge difference in the success of my spaceflight […]

Spring forward? Is Daylight Saving Time worth it?
Daylight Savings Time causes an initial hazard, but there is “a life-saving benefit,” says UBC Psychology Professor Stanley Coren.

Gambling research pioneer to lead new centre at UBC
Leading gambling psychologist Luke Clark will join the University of British Columbia’s Dept. of Psychology as inaugural director of the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC to advance research and understanding of problem gambling behaviours. Clark, who led the UK’s largest study of pathological gamblers, will lead the academic and operational activities of the Centre beginning July 1, 2014. […]