News, stories and features

Around the world, worm researchers working together for the collective good
Dr. Catharine Rankin, professor in the department of psychology at UBC, was featured by the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health for her research on Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) worms and her collaboration with other worm researchers around the world. Dr. Rankin was the first researcher to demonstrate worms’ ability to learn and habituate to repeated stimulation in the […]

UBC Arts Faces of Research feature: Dr. Christiane Hoppmann
Before the application of research, before the patent, ethics review, donations or grants, there is a person with a desire to discover. They embark into the unknown, making inquiries, investigating what has been and inquiring into the possibilities by asking why not? Through their research, they uncover new truths that result in our lives, and […]

Dr. Jiaying Zhao joins National Financial Literacy Research Sub-Committee
Dr. Jiaying Zhao, Canada Research Chair and assistant professor in the department of psychology at UBC, has been named one of the new members of the Financial Literacy Sub-Committee by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. The Financial Literacy Research Sub-Committee works to inform the implementation of Canada’s National Strategy for Financial Literacy. Developed in […]

Advancing the health of Canadian men, women, girls, boys and gender diverse people
Dr. Liisa Galea has been named a new member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s Institute Advisory Board for Gender and Health (IGH). Dr. Galea, a neuroscientist and professor in the department of psychology at UBC, specializes in how sex hormones, stress and biological factors influence brain health and disease in both men […]

Faculty Q&A: Total recall with Daniela Palombo
UBC Psychology welcomes a new faculty member, Dr. Daniela Palombo, as assistant professor in the cognitive area. Dr. Palombo joins UBC from Boston University, where she was a post-doctoral research fellow. Through her multi-faceted research, Dr. Palombo works to further our understanding on how we form and retain our memories—and how this differs from person to person. She […]

Students ride to end mental health stigma
Congratulations to the UBC Psychology Students team who sought to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness at Ride Don’t Hide on June 24! The team joined 7,750 individuals from across Canada riding for mental health, raising $1,830,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association. The largest mental health bike ride in Canada, Ride Don’t Hide raises funds […]

Dr. Joelle LeMoult earns 2018 MSFHR Scholar Award
Dr. Joelle LeMoult, assistant professor in the department of psychology, is a recipient of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research’s 2018 Scholar Award. This award will support her research project Predicting Depressive Symptoms During the Transition to High School. This research will focus on the transition period adolescents face in their first year of high […]

UBC Arts Faces of Research feature: Dr. Jiaying Zhao
Before the application of research, before the patent, ethics review, donations or grants, there is a person with a desire to discover. They embark into the unknown, making inquiries, investigating what has been and inquiring into the possibilities by asking why not? Through their research, they uncover new truths that result in our lives, and […]

Dr. Janet Werker explores the power of language with new university-wide course
Psychologist Janet Werker and anthropologist Mark Turin have both dedicated their lives to studying how language works. But until last year, the two renowned scholars had never met, let alone collaborated. That changed last year, when Mark Turin attended a celebration for Janet Werker’s appointment as a UBC Killam Professor. After hearing her speak passionately about her vision for a […]

Dr. Elizabeth Dunn shares insights on happiness
How can you lead a happier and more meaningful life? Psychology Professor Dr. Elizabeth Dunn shares insights from her research. Most happiness researchers, including me, would say that the most important thing you can do to be happy is to work on your social relationships. There’s a classic study suggesting that having good social relationships […]

Video: How scarcity affects cognitive function with Dr. Jiaying Zhao
Why do the poor stay poor? Why are the busy forgetful? How does a lack of resources affect cognitive function? These are the questions addressed by Dr. Jiaying Zhao in a new video made by Austin Lee, a UBC psychology alumnus. Dr. Zhao, Canada Research Chair and assistant professor in the department of psychology at UBC, researches the […]

Babies’ brains are equipped to handle more than one language
UBC Psychology Professor and 2018 Killam Prize winner Dr. Janet Werker sat down with BOLD blog to talk about her research on language acquisition in infancy. Language learning begins much earlier than one might think, and numerous factors play an essential role in that process. Janet Werker has spent years investigating how children acquire language. […]

Dr. Peter Graf and Dr. Catherine Rawn develop online peer assessment workshop
When Dr. Peter Graf was an undergraduate student, the only time he was exposed to the work of his peers was when he went to pick up his graded essay in a box outside his professor’s door. Curious, he picked up a stack papers and sat down to read through them. “I really wanted to […]

Dr. Kiley Hamlin receives new Cascadia Engagement Fund grant
Join us in congratulating Dr. Kiley Hamlin, recipient of the Cascadia Engagement Fund grant, a collaboration between UBC and the University of Washington. This pilot fund has been developed to enable the development of research collaboration between the two universities. The fund will support activities such as intensive workshops on focused topics involving faculty from both […]

Dr. Christine Chambers is putting her research on managing children’s pain into the hands of parents
At an early age, psychology alumnae Dr. Christine Chambers knew she wanted to be a child psychologist when she grew up. After reading a book about a child psychologist, she was hooked. This led her to UBC to study with Dr. Kenneth Craig, one of the world’s leading experts in the psychology of pain. Her […]

‘You are worth it’: UBC graduation feature with Katherine Moore
Katherine Moore never thought university was an option for her. Growing up in Sudbury, Ont., Moore had a difficult childhood, witnessing substance abuse, domestic violence and sexual abuse from a young age. In high school, she said she didn’t do well, routinely skipping classes and landing herself in detention. “I was the ‘bad kid’ at […]

New UBC course coming this fall: Living Language – Science and Society
The first University-wide course in Language Sciences, Living Language: Science and Society, will be offered in September 2018. In this interdisciplinary course, upper year students will examine and apply their subject specific knowledge through the lens of language and the framework of the language sciences, with a focus on themes of real-world importance. The course will be taught […]

Highlights: Spring 2018 graduating class
This spring almost 500 psychology students will cross the stage at the Chan Centre to receive their degrees. With ages ranging from twenty to the mid-fifties, the graduating class came from all over the world with a shared purpose: to earn their psychology degree from UBC. Over the past year, our undergraduate students grew connections and […]

Dr. Benjamin Cheung on how reconciliation includes an Indigenous education
UBC Psychology Lecturer Dr. Benjamin Cheung shares his thoughts on reconciliation through Indigenous education in an op-ed he penned on the UBC Vancouver Aboriginal Portal. In the op-ed, Cheung shares his personal story and also how Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education, a free MOOC in the Faculty of Education, compelled him to introduce Indigenous issues and […]

Contributing to public health: Social Health Lab’s sleep app wins Health Data Challenge
A new sleep tracking app developed by UBC’s Social Health Lab won the Healthy Behaviour Data Challenge for its contribution to public health research. The challenge encourages innovators to create and test new ways of sourcing and using data for public health surveillance. Through their app, the Social Health Lab asks how can the monitoring of health […]

Workers vs. slackers: Discovery of differences shown in the brains of rats
A team of researchers led by Dr. Catharine Winstanley, professor in the department of psychology at UBC, have uncovered a network of regions in the brain that are involved in determining the choice of working harder to get a bigger reward, or putting in a lesser effort and receiving a smaller reward. Understanding how the brain […]

Psychology graduate Katherine Moore faced down her own obstacles to help others
Growing up, Katherine Moore had a hard upbringing and she struggled. There was poverty and drug use in her community—and dysfunction at home. When Moore graduated from high school, university seemed out of reach for her. Despite these challenges, she pursued her degree in psychology and is working towards fulfilling her dream of becoming a […]

Prestigious Killam Prize awarded to Dr. Janet F. Werker
UBC professor Janet Werker, a world-renowned developmental psychologist, was awarded the 2018 Killam Prize in Social Sciences, one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for academic-career achievement. Dr. Janet Werker is a University Killam Professor and Canada Research Chair in UBC’s department of psychology. She is also one of the founders and co-directors of the UBC […]

Recognizing a distinguished career: Dr. Wolfgang Linden receives Senior Investigator Award
Join us in congratulating Dr. Wolfgang Linden, recipient of the Senior Investigator Award from the Health Psychology section of the Canadian Psychological Association. This award recognizes the distinguished contributions of senior psychological clinicians in Canada. Dr. Linden is a clinical psychologist and professor in the department of psychology at UBC. His work focuses on psychological factors in […]

Video: Dr. Jessica Tracy’s book featured on Jeopardy
In a major cultural milestone, Dr. Jessica Tracy’s book ‘Take Pride’ was featured (in a clue and answer) on the the TV game show Jeopardy!

New research network aims to bolster pain research in British Columbia
Researchers from around British Columbia are coming together to expand pain research in the province. Today, Pain BC announced the launch of the BC Pain Research Network, which brings together researchers from across the province and from UBC to connect and collaborate with the aim of improving the lives of the one-in-five British Columbians living […]

Psychology major Katherine Moore receives awards for championing student wellbeing
Join us in congratulating psychology major Katherine Moore, who received the UBC Faculty of Arts ‘Outstanding Leadership in the UBC Community and Beyond‘ award! These awards are given to dedicated student leaders who have made an impact during their time at UBC. Katherine sits on the steering committee of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and is […]

Congratulations to the 2018 PURC award winners
On April 6 and 7, the UBC Psychology community came together to celebrate undergraduate student research at the 20th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC). PURC is an important event for the psychological science community of UBC as it provides a professional environment for undergraduate researchers to showcase their work, gain experience in presenting at conferences, and contribute to […]

The rich cultural history of the Whaler’s Pole
Prominently displayed on the north face of the Douglas T. Kenny building, home of the UBC Department of Psychology, stands a magnificent totem pole. The Whaler’s Pole is steeped in the rich cultural styles and traditions of the Nuu-chah-nulth (nuučaan̓uł, meaning “all along the mountains”). Despite the pole’s current weathered appearance, this innovative work of […]

Real talk with 4 profs: A conversation with Prof. Lawrence Ward
They assign us homework, mark our papers, and give us grades. But there’s a whole lot more to the role (and lives) of our profs at UBC. UBC profs come from a wide variety of backgrounds and perform plenty of other tasks beyond those visible to us. Teaching is a large component of their work, […]

Azim Shariff joins UBC as the Canada 150 Research Chair in Moral Psychology
Dr. Azim Shariff is one of three globally recognized researchers joining the University of British Columbia this year, bringing international talent in the fields of evolutionary genomics, functional genetics and social psychology as Canada 150 Research Chairs. Dr. Shariff joins UBC through the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program. The program was established by the Government […]

The neuroscience of effective studying
Dr. Todd Handy is a professor in the Department of Psychology who specializes in cognitive neuroscience. He’s also the kind of prof you’d like to have a coffee with. We discussed how the “savvy student”, in his terms, can use neuroscience research to optimize their academic performance. According to Dr. Handy, “Bringing neuroscience into learning has really expanded […]

Dr. Peter Suedfeld receives honourary degree from the University of Nîmes
Dr. Peter Suedfeld, professor emeritus of psychology at UBC, was conferred with an honourary doctorate degree from the University of Nîmes. This is the first occasion a ‘doctor honoris causa’ degree has been granted by the University of Nîmes, a French university in the Academy of Montpellier. “I’m honoured to have been the inaugural recipient of the honorary doctorate […]

Nudging the city and residents of Cape Town to save water
By Leila Harris, Jiaying Zhao, and Martine Visser Cape Town could become the world’s first major city to run out of water – what’s been termed Day Zero. Sao Paulo faced similar difficulties in 2015 leading to significant social unrest. On Day Zero – which could be in mid-July if there’s no significant rain – residents of […]

Sit, Stay, Heal: Study finds therapy dogs help stressed university students
Therapy dog sessions for stressed-out students are an increasingly popular offering at North American universities. Now, new UBC Psychology research confirms that some doggy one-on-one time really can do the trick of boosting student wellness. “Therapy dog sessions are becoming more popular on university campuses, but there has been surprisingly little research on how much […]

Why some conservatives are blind to climate change
By Jiaying Zhao, Jennifer Whitman and Rebecca Todd. Imagine this: A young professional couple at a party mentions they’re thinking of buying a home in a popular waterfront neighbourhood that scientists have found is vulnerable to coastal flooding. That flood risk is made extra clear by murals in the neighbourhood marking the predicted water level rise. What’s […]

Dr. Kiley Hamlin earns the SPP Stanton Award
Dr. Kiley Hamlin, an associate professor of psychology at UBC, is the recipient of a 2018 Stanton Award for young scholars. The Society for Philosophy and Psychology’s Stanton Award recognizes budding scholars who are making significant contributions to interdisciplinary research and the philosophy and psychology community as a whole. “I’m thrilled and honoured to win […]

Not enjoying your dinner out? Try putting the phone away
 Smartphones might make people feel more connected, but they likely don’t belong at the dinner table, according to new UBC Psychology research. Researchers looking at the effect of smartphones on face-to-face social interactions found that people who used their devices while out for dinner with friends and family enjoyed themselves less than those who did […]

More than a degree: Chats with Psych Honours Students
The Psych Honours program offers students a place for exploration and innovation Large university classes can be a struggle for some students; it’s not easy to create connections in a crowd of hundreds. More so, psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at UBC with 2,000 students working towards their BA or BSc degrees each year. So, the concern for […]

UBC psychology graduate students are creating a buzz with a new science podcast
‘Brain Buzz’ dives into the minds and ideas of scientists Have you ever had a conversation where a small spark ignites a larger discussion that moves in a new, exciting direction? Having thought-provoking conversations stoked Drake Levere and Kyle Gooderham to launch and host Brain Buzz, a new podcast that is putting science out into […]

Julie Bélanger is taking her psychology degree to international heights
Combining her research skills with a passion for education, alumna Julie Bélanger is working to improve the frameworks of educational systems on an international level. Bélanger received her MA and PhD in Developmental Psychology from UBC in 2006. After graduating, Bélanger continued her pursuit in the area of research. She worked as an analyst at […]

Dr. Kristin Laurin awarded 2018 Janet Taylor Spence Award
Dr. Kristin Laurin, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, was awarded the 2018 APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. Presented by the Association of Psychological Science (APS), this award spotlights creative and promising psychology investigators who are working to drive the future of psychological research. As the director of the […]

Meet the human behind Humans of UBC Psych
A natural curiosity about people led Jenn Lin to study psychology—and create ‘Humans of UBC Psych’. Humans are a social species; our drive to connect is embedded in us. Social connection helps us understand human behaviour. It gives us a sense of belonging. This type of connection is what led Jenn Lin to create Humans of […]

PULSE: A stroke prevention study in the name of love
“We say yes to research because participation adds variety to our lives and teaches us different ways to cope with the aftermath of a stroke.” – Ray and Nancy Banks, Abbotsford Ray and Nancy Banks had just finished breakfast when Ray, 82, started to feel weak. Nancy, 81, and Ray now live in Abbotsford, BC, but they […]

Professor David Klonsky receives 2017 UBC Killam Research Fellowship
Dr. David Klonsky is among UBC researchers who have received 2017 Faculty Research Awards. The Killam Research Fellowships support exceptional scholars in pursuing full-time research during a recognized study leave. Dr. Klonsky, a professor in the Department of Psychology, focuses on understanding and preventing suicide and self-harm. This fellowship allows him to continue his work to advance and […]

Daniel M. Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize awarded to Ara Norenzayan and colleagues
Ara Norenzayan and colleagues have received the Daniel M. Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize for their paper “The Cultural Evolution of Prosocial Religions“, a theory of the origins and rise of prosocial religions and the cultural evolution of these religious beliefs. Awarded by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), the prize recognizes an article […]

UBC psychology researchers awarded CIHR project grants
Psychology researchers are among the 59 UBC researchers who have been awarded more than $42m from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through the latest Project Grant competition. A total of $372m was awarded nationally to support Canadian researchers to study the full spectrum of health issues affecting the lives of Canadians. The psychology researchers receiving […]

Turning trash into treasure: Surplus lab equipment gets a new lease on life
Discarded and surplus laboratory equipment, furniture and supplies from the Department of Psychology have found new lives locally—and in Africa. When the department’s behavioural neuroscience laboratories relocated to the Djavad Mowafagian Centre for Brain Health and UBC Hospital’s Koerner Pavilion, many items not suitable for reuse in the new labs were left behind. Lucille Hoover, a […]

Stressed out? Try smelling your partner’s shirt
The scent of a romantic partner can help lower stress levels, new research from UBC’s department of psychology has found. The study, published this week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found women feel calmer after being exposed to their male partner’s scent. Conversely, being exposed to a stranger’s scent had the opposite effect […]

Dr. Joelle LeMoult named ‘rising star’ by Association for Psychological Science
Dr. Joelle LeMoult, assistant professor in the department of psychology, was named a 2017 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). The Rising Star designation recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued […]

Professor Janet Werker awarded Officer, Order of Canada
Dr. Janet Werker, a psychology professor in the department of psychology at UBC, was named Officer of the Order of Canada. This is one of 125 new appointments announced today by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette. “I’m deeply honoured to receive this recognition from my adopted country and I’m particularly moved that it […]

Investigating the psychological claims in our media world
Psychological claims are frequently used in the media, from bold statements around the psychology of medication use—to nonchalant references to personality types. But how much are these claims and statements backed by science? This is the big question guiding the course PSYC216: Questioning Psychological Science in the Media. At its core, the course cross-examines the […]

New UBC Psychology study finds extroverts better at modern video games
Video games may have a reputation for attracting introverts, but when it comes to augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, extroverts tend to be better players. That’s the key finding of a new University of British Columbia psychology study, the first to look at the impact of players’ personalities, social competence and social anxiety when playing […]

Kyle Gooderham receives 2017 Demetri Papageorgis Teaching Assistant Award
Congratulations to Kyle Gooderham for receiving the 2017 Demetri Papageorgis Teaching Assistant Award for TA Excellence! This award recognizes teaching assistants who make outstanding contributions to student education in our Psychology department. Kyle is a MA Candidate in the Department of Psychology. In the Fall semester, Kyle TA’d PSYC 101 “Introduction to Biological and Cognitive […]

UBC Human Resources features Dr. Benjamin Cheung as a Thriving Faculty
This month’s Thriving Faculty feature is a Q&A with Benjamin Cheung, a lecturer 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 “I have found it helpful to meet with colleagues regularly to decompress, chat […]

Maclean’s 2018 Canadian program rankings: UBC Psychology named 1st for 3rd year in a row
The Department of Psychology ranks first in Maclean’s 2018 rankings for the best 20 psychology programs in Canada. This is the third year Maclean’s magazine has released annual program rankings and the third year UBC Psychology ranks first. Maclean’s annual program rankings evaluates ten program areas based on reputation, research, publications and citations. In their psychology list, […]

Prof. Toni Schmader: A new alliance aims to close the gender gap in STEM
How can we teach children that girls can be as good at math and science as boys are? How do we encourage more women to study computer science and engineering? These are just a couple of the questions that a team of social scientists, STEM experts and industry professionals are uniting to answer. Engendering Success in […]

Times Higher Education: UBC Psychology among the top 10 in the world, 1st in Canada
UBC’s Department of Psychology ranks tenth in the world and first in Canada in the latest prestigious subject rankings released today by Times Higher Education (THE). Following UBC Psychology, the next Canadian psychology department to place was the University of Toronto at 13. 2018 marks the first year Times Higher Education is including psychology as […]

Research excellence: Dr. Kiran Soma receives James McKeen Cattell Fellowship
Dr. Kiran Soma, a professor and neuroscientist in the Department of Psychology, was awarded a 2017-18 James McKeen Cattell Fellowship. This annual fellowship awards recipients with an extended sabbatical period, allowing researchers to advance their one semester research period to a full year. Dr. Soma’s research examines the effects of steroids on behaviour, the brain, […]

Exceptional teaching: 2017 Robert E. Knox Master Teaching Awards
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Darko Odic and Dr. Mark Lam are the recipients of the 2017 Knox Teaching Awards. Each year, the Department of Psychology honours two outstanding individuals in the department who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the education of students. These awards recognize and celebrate psychology faculty whose teaching practice is both exemplary […]

Dr. Kristin Laurin named a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar
As an emerging researcher in the field of psychology, Dr. Kristin Laurin was named a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar in the program’s 2017 cohort. The program brings together early career researchers who are leading exceptional work, and helps to foster their research networks and leadership. Dr. Laurin is an assistant professor in the Department of […]

Our researchers support the report
UBC supports the recommendations made by the Fundamental Science Review—and so do our faculty. For more information on how you can get involved or for a list of resources, visit Canada’s Fundamental Science Review at Our researchers were invited to talk about their research and why the recommendations of the report matter to them. […]

Rick Mercer visits UBC and the Centre for Gambling Research
Rick Mercer of the Rick Mercer Report on CBC immerses himself in cutting edge research — including a visit to the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC. In the segment below, Rick Mercer talks gambling and slot machines with gambling researcher Spencer Murch.

New research demonstrates complexity underlying the ‘simplest form of learning’
For Dr. Catherine Rankin, a leader in the field of habituation research, understanding the way that habituation occurs in a simple organism has implications for a range of brain disorders in humans. C. elegans, the worms researchers in the Rankin lab study to understand learning and brain development, are nematodes that are widely used in neuroscience research for […]

1000 simple words to improve science communication
Inspired by popular web comic XKCD’s Thing Explainer, and motivated by a desire to get complex research ideas into the hands (and newsfeeds) of a broader audience, researchers in Dr. Rebecca Todd’s lab have been blogging about the lab’s publications using the 1000 most commonly used English words. “A lot of scientific writing can be […]

Whales and dolphins have rich ‘human-like’ cultures and societies
Whales and dolphins (Cetaceans) live in tightly-knit social groups, have complex relationships, talk to each other and even have regional dialects – much like human societies. A major new study, published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution, has linked the complexity of Cetacean culture and behaviour to the size of their brains. The research was […]

Meet Mohit Sodhi, a neuro-ophthalmologic researcher and charity co-founder
An owner of many hats, UBC Psychology alumnus Mohit Sodhi is making the most out of his BSc degree in Behavioural Neuroscience. Sodhi received his BSc in Behavioural Neuroscience in 2016, and is currently pursuing his Master’s of Science in Experimental Medicine at UBC. His research focuses on the analysis of prescription drugs, working to […]

October Lab of the Month: Dr. Kristin Laurin studies the interplay between motivation and religion
How does your political and societal understanding of the world shape your goals and motivations? At the MAGIC Lab, Dr. Kristin Laurin explores the complex relationship between motivations and beliefs, connecting the dots between goal pursuits to areas like religious belief systems, political ideologies, moral codes and more. Laurin, assistant professor and director of MAGIC […]

UBC researchers promote the Fundamental Science Review on Parliament Hill
“Based on data from a survey we produced last year, 80 per cent of Canadian Principal Investigators (PIs) have indicated plans to slow their research programs,” says Dr. Liisa Galea. “They’re worried about how they’re going to support new trainees, and funding is their primary concern.” Dr. Galea recently travelled to Ottawa in support of the Fundamental […]

New research: You’re not alone in feeling alone
Feel like everyone else has more friends than you do? You’re not alone— but merely believing this is true could affect your happiness. A new study from the Department of Psychology at UBC, Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School has found that new university students consistently think their peers have more friends and spend more time […]

UBC Psychology researchers and graduate students receive national research funding
We are pleased to announce that Drs. Susan Birch, Luke Clark, Liisa Galea, and Catharine Winstanley have been awarded Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants. Susan Birch was awarded $28,000 towards her research project A Systematic Examination of How a Speaker’s Linguistic and Paralinguistic Cues Affect Children’s and Adults’ Learning […]

Faculty in focus: Meet Dr. Grace Truong, UBC Psychology’s newest lecturer
For Grace Truong, a career in psychology was not predestined. It was during her first year as an undergraduate student that she developed her passion for psychology. Truong, who received a 2016-17 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for her excellence in teaching, hopes to inspire this same passion for psychology in her students. A recent PhD graduate […]

Dr. Kristin Laurin earns early career research award
In recognition of her research accomplishments, Dr. Kristin Laurin received the International Social Cognition Network (ISCON)’s Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Study of Social Cognition. “It was definitely a surprise and a huge honour to receive this award,” says Laurin, who joined the department of psychology in 2016 as assistant professor. “I’m […]

Dr. Liisa Galea is UBC’s new Neuroscience Graduate Program Director
When UBC’s neuroscience graduate program needed a new leader, Dr. Liisa Galea raised her hand without hesitation. As a longstanding champion of neuroscience and the first PhD in Neuroscience to graduate from Western University, Galea sees this role as a way to give back to the neuroscience community. A neuroscientist and professor in psychology at […]

Imagine UBC: Welcoming a new school year
Imagine UBC is a university-wide orientation event that will be held on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017. The Department of Psychology also offers several special psychology-specific events to introduce students to the many interesting people and exciting opportunities that UBC Psychology has to offer. Psychology Department Orientation: 11:30 am-12:15 pm Location: CIRS 1250 MAP New psychology students will be […]

National Dog Day: Q&A with canine behaviour expert Dr. Stanley Coren
Are dogs really colourblind? Is owning a dog good for your health? UBC Psychology Professor Emeritus and canine behaviour expert Dr. Stanley Coren has the answers to just about any canine-related question you can think of. Dr. Coren is a renowned researcher and author of several books on canine behaviour, and writes a column for Psychology Today […]

Joelle LeMoult receives JELF funding for lab infrastructure
Dr. Joelle LeMoult, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, was awarded funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). This funding, provided through the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), will support laboratory infrastructure for The Depression and Stress Lab. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced that the Government of Canada is investing […]

Psychology and sustainability go hand in hand: Q&A with Sustainability Ambassador Vincent Chiu
For third-year UBC Psychology student and 2016 UBC Sustainability Ambassador Vincent Chiu, psychology and sustainability go hand in hand. When Vincent was deciding on what to major in at UBC, he wanted to choose a field that catered to his interest in sustainability. “I saw a natural link between sustainability and psychological behaviour, so I knew that majoring […]

Faculty in focus: For Simon Lolliot, teaching is deep rooted
Simon Lolliot’s drive to teach was shaped by his family, his path to education, and his teachers. Lolliot, instructor 1 in the department of psychology, uses his own experiences to shape his students’ experience in the classroom. He says psychology is a subject that is unique in that we live it, all the time. Lolliot […]

August Lab of the Month: Dr. Rensink’s lab explores the science behind visualization
If you’ve ever seen a magic show, you’ve probably seen the age-old trick: an object disappears from the palm of the magician’s hand. Of course, the object doesn’t actually disappear into thin air — the magician uses visual cues to trick you into thinking so. The science behind magic is just one of many phenomena […]

Dr. Michael Chandler receives the 2017 APA Mentor Award
Professor Emeritus Michael Chandler has been recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA) with an award to acknowledge Dr. Chandler’s longstanding commitment to mentoring students and early career scientists over his career. Dr. Chandler, a developmental psychologist, is the recipient of the 2017 Mentor Award from Division 7 (Developmental Psychology) of the APA. The Mentor […]

New research: Using money to buy time linked to increased happiness
New research is challenging the age-old adage that money can’t buy happiness. The study, led by psychology researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School, suggests that using money to buy free time— such as paying to delegate household chores like cleaning and cooking— is linked to greater life satisfaction. “People who […]

UBC Psychology faculty receive 2017 MSFHR Scholar Awards
Join us in congratulating Drs. Frances Chen and Rebecca Todd for receiving Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Scholar Awards. The MSFHR Scholar Program supports early career researchers who are building cutting-edge health research programs, training junior scientists and expanding their potential to make significant contributions to their field. “MSFHR has supported so many […]

UBC’s Psi Chi receives model chapter award
The Department of Psychology is proud to congratulate the UBC Chapter of Psi Chi for receiving a 2016-2017 Model Chapter Award. This award recognizes UBC’s Psi Chi chapter as among the highest performing chapters internationally, in particular noting the chapter’s success in member recruitment, undergraduate awards, and community outreach. Psi Chi, the International Honour Society […]

Less is best when it comes to transparency on corruption
Does transparency reduce corruption, or does it merely reveal the price of the bribe? New research by UBC Psychology alumnus Michael Muthukrishna, former UBC Psychology Professor Joseph Henrich, and UBC Economics Professor Patrick Francois seeks to answer this question. According to Dr. Muthukrishna, corruption is an inevitable outcome of our human tendency to cooperate. “Corruption is actually […]

New study: Ga-ga, goo-goo, why a baby likes you
According to new UBC Psychology research, by the age of one, infants already prefer speakers of their native tongue, but do not necessarily view speakers of an unfamiliar language negatively. The findings suggest that, while positivity toward familiar groups may be innate, dislike for unfamiliar groups appears to be a learned behaviour. “Persistent discrimination and conflict […]

Faculty Q&A: Nancy Sin explores links between everyday life and healthy aging
The Department of Psychology welcomes a new faculty member, Dr. Nancy Sin, as Assistant Professor in the health area. She joins us at UBC after having completed postdoctoral research fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco, and Pennsylvania State University. Nancy’s research focuses on the links between everyday life and chronic diseases and mortality. Her overarching […]

July Lab of the Month: Dr. Amori Mikami’s lab offers a new perspective on kids’ peer relationships
It takes a village: a community approach to building friendships in kids Think back to when you were a kid. It wasn’t easy navigating the choppy waters of school, friends, birthday party invitations, and social dynamics. Now imagine adding a neurodevelopmental condition, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to the mix. For children with ADHD, symptoms […]

Prof. Liisa Galea: Want more funding for research? Support the report
  Written by Dr. Liisa Galea: On April 10, 2017, the Fundamental Science Review, written by nine experts in science and technology, was released to the public. The Honourable Kristy Duncan commissioned the review of federal support for science, the first of its kind over the last 40 years. The mandate included a review of […]

Lesley Duncan is combining data and psychology to inform strategies
Three-time UBC Psychology graduate Lesley Duncan’s pursuit of knowledge and passion for psychology is making room for social science research at the boardroom table. Putting her psychology background to good use, Duncan is now the Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Distill Analytics. Distill Analytics commercializes social science research by generating assessments of the psychological drivers […]

Portrait of a PhD student: Siba Ghrear and social perspective taking
How do children make sense of others’ thoughts and beliefs? How does this change as they grow up? UBC Psychology PhD student Siba Ghrear seeks to answer these questions in a study on social perspective taking. Siba has also co-authored a study with UBC Psychology professor Susan Birch about children learning with interactive media. Receiving several […]

Graduation 2017: a time to reflect, celebrate, and look forward to the future
This spring more than 500 psychology students crossed the stage at the Chan Centre to receive their degrees. We celebrate each one our graduates, their accomplishments, and their futures. To mark the class of 2017, we asked some of our exceptional undergraduate students to share their personal and academic achievements and to reflect on their experiences. Meet three of […]

Class of 2017 Snapshot: Giping (Ping) Tomczyk, BA ‘17 Psychology (Hons)
Meet Giping (Ping) Tomczyk, BA ‘17 Psychology (Hons). For Ping, psychology offered him a new set of tools to examine and explore the world around him. Ping was chosen to represent his psychology peers as Graduating Student Speaker at the convocation ceremony on May 26; an achievement he is proud of. As the speaker, Ping will reflect on his experiences at UBC and […]

Class of 2017 Snapshot: Brandon Woo, BSc ‘17 Psychology (Hons)
Meet Brandon Woo, BSc ‘17 Psychology (Hons). Naturally inquisitive, Brandon’s quest to understand the psychology behind everyday social issues has led him to receive numerous awards and accolades—including a fellowship at Harvard University. This budding scientist puts to practice what he has learned—and researched—in his everyday life. We have no doubt he will soon be mentoring and teaching another generation of students just like him. In advance of […]

Class of 2017 Snapshot: Lal Koyuncu, BA ‘17 Psychology
Meet Lal Koyuncu, BA ‘17 Psychology (Dean’s List). Lal’s career trajectory took a sharp turn when she began working at a UBC daycare; she realized her passion was working with children. She nurtured this passion through research. She became a research coordinator in the UBC Infant Studies Centre and has presented her research at a number of research conferences. In advance of graduation, we asked Lal to reflect on her time […]

New research: Visual perception may depend on birthplace and environment
Perhaps we only see what we’ve learned to see. In a recent multi-national study in the journal Cognitive Science, a research team led by Kyoto University, including Ronald Rensink, professor in UBC’s departments of psychology and computer science, shows that an ability to perceive differences between similar images depends on the cultural background of the viewer. […]

Brain injury causes impulse control problems in rats: study
New UBC Psychology research confirms for the first time that even mild brain injury can result in impulse control problems in rats. The study, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, also found that the impulsivity problems may be linked to levels of an inflammatory molecule in the brain, and suggest that targeting the molecule could be helpful […]

Thriving Faculty Features UBC Psychology Lecturer Kyle Danielson
UBC Psychology Lecturer Kyle Danielson is featured in Thriving Faculty, a monthly column that highlights UBC faculty who exemplify the integration of health and wellbeing into their classrooms, research, departments and communities. Read a Q&A with Danielson to hear how he thrives. What does thriving mean to you? For me, thriving is orienting one’s body and mind […]

Catherine Rawn receives 2017 APA Early Career Award
Join us in congratulating Catherine Rawn, who received the 2017 Early Career Award from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association). Dr. Catherine Rawn is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Psychology. She specializes in educational leadership, scholarship of teaching and learning, collaborative learning methods, technology-enhanced teaching and learning, student evaluations of teaching, […]

May Lab of the Month: Exploring the mysteries of the mind with the Psychophysics and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
To better understand how the brain processes information, Dr. Lawrence Ward and the members of the Psychophysics and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab are using advanced methods of electroencephalography (EEG) to measure people’s brainwaves. The research conducted in the lab addresses broad questions across the areas of consciousness, memory, reading, and mind wandering. Imaging the brain Typically, […]

Making bins more convenient boosts recycling and composting rates
Want to recycle or compost more? Try moving the bins closer, new UBC Psychology research suggests. The study shows that placing bins 1.5 metres away from suite doors drastically boosts recycling and composting rates by 141 per cent. The findings highlight how small changes in convenience can have a big impact on performance. “We know people care […]

In Memoriam: Raymond Scott Corteen (1933-2017)
It is with great sadness that we report Raymond Scott Corteen, professor emeritus of psychology at UBC, passed away on February 26, 2017. Dr. Corteen came to the Department of Psychology in 1968 from the University of Edinburgh, where he earned his PhD. Prior to his graduate studies in Scotland, he served as a military […]

Q&A: UBC Psychology prof. Steven Heine’s new book ‘DNA Is Not Destiny’
Does DNA determine our destiny? In a new book, DNA Is Not Destiny: The remarkable, completely misunderstood relationship between you and your genes, UBC Psychology Professor Steven Heine debunks the hype surrounding DNA testing and puts to rest our mistaken anxieties about our genes. He explores how our psychological biases make us fatalistic about genetics, and how […]

Congratulations to the 2017 PURC award winners
On March 30 and April 1, the UBC Psychology community came together to celebrate undergraduate student research at the 19th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference (PURC). PURC is an important event for the psychological science community of UBC as it provides a professional environment for undergraduate researchers to showcase their work, gain experience in presenting at […]

Our Psychology Clinic is a featured UBC Innovation Snapshot
Often referred to as an ‘ecosystem’, UBC’s ever-expanding world of exploration, discovery and invention seems to grow with each new student, faculty or staff member. To reflect the scope of this ecosystem, Innovation Snapshots was created to connect innovators at UBC and beyond. Discover the remarkable people pushing the boundaries of their disciplines, inventing creative […]

Professor Kalina Christoff named a Wall Scholar
Congratulations goes out to Dr. Kalina Christoff, who was selected as a Peter Wall Institute Wall Scholar for 2017-2018. Wall Scholars are chosen among leading UBC researchers from all academic disciplines, with the objective of creating a dynamic and diverse intellectual community at the Institute. Kalina Christoff is a Professor of Psychology at UBC and Principal Investigator of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought […]

PhD student Grace Truong receives UBC Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
We are pleased to congratulate UBC Psychology PhD student Grace Truong, who received a 2016-17 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Annually this recognition is presented to a small number of the graduate students who have made outstanding contributions to teaching and learning at UBC. With over 2000 Teaching Assistants working at UBC, winning this award is a remarkable achievement. The award includes […]

Dr. Steven Barnes shares tips on student well-being
Let’s be honest: being a student can be stressful. Balancing a full course load with other commitments isn’t easy, and we often end up neglecting the most important part of our university experience: our well-being. Learning how to balance your workload and to take care of yourself is a crucial skill that often isn’t taught in the classroom. […]

Dr. Janet Werker receives recognition for research in developmental psychology
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Janet Werker is the recipient of the 2017 Pickering Award for Outstanding Contribution to Developmental Psychology in Canada. The award, presented by the Pickering Centre for Research in Human Development at Carleton University, was created to honour Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to developmental psychology in the areas of leadership, mentorship, […]

For UBC Wesbrook Scholar Austin Rothwell, psychology is best served alongside other fields
Austin Rothwell is an Honours Psychology student with a minor in Computer Science, but the contributions he’s made to the field of psychology expand far beyond the walls of the classroom. Over his past five years at UBC, Austin has worked as a Research Assistant in numerous psychology labs. He’s also mentored students in both psychology and […]

March Lab of the Month: UBC’s Social Identity Lab is breaking down gender stereotypes
How you look, what gender you are, there is a belief that a person conforms to a perceived stereotype about themselves. To better understand and address stereotypes and inequality, Dr. Toni Schmader and the Social Identity Lab are exploring how people are affected by social identities–and the stereotypes attached to them. The Lab’s study The […]

Q&A with UBC Psychology Wesbrook Scholar Yousef Shahin
Not only is 4th year BSc. Psychology major Yousef Shahin an excelling student, he’s also making waves as a researcher, leader, and mentor. Driven by a passion for psychology and the study of the human body, he’s contributing to the UBC Psychology community and beyond. It’s no wonder that Yousef is a recipient of the 2016/17 Wesbrook Scholar Award, a prestigious designation […]

Slot machines put problem gamblers in a trance-like zone
Gamblers who feel like they enter into a trance while playing slot machines are more likely to have gambling problems, according to new research from the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC. The study, published online this month in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, is one of the first to rigorously test the “slot machine […]

Michael Muthukrishna’s quest to understand the human puzzle
Michael Muthukrishna’s curiosity about human systems and the psychology underlying culture led him to UBC—and ultimately to a ground-breaking career as a scientist. Muthukrishna, currently an assistant professor at the London School of Economics, received his PhD in Psychology in 2015. He was awarded the prestigious 2016 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences for his dissertation ‘The […]

Insights on love with UBC Psychology postdoctoral researcher Alec Beall
In advance of Valentine’s Day, UBC’s Faculty of Arts asked scholars from Economics, Psychology, English and Philosophy to share their insights on how to think about love, what it means to say “I love you,” and the best way to improve one’s love life. Alec Beall is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow who studies romantic relationships and sexual attraction from an evolutionary theoretical perspective. […]

Textbook lesson in savings for UBC students
Students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have saved over $1 million through the Open Textbook Project, which provides flexible and affordable access to higher education resources. Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson visited a social psychology class at UBC today to talk to students about how they have benefitted from the use of open […]

February Lab of the Month: Facing social anxiety with UBC’s Interpersonal Lab
Feeling socially anxious isn’t uncommon–despite the notion that people are social animals. It’s a natural feeling and one based out of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of scrutiny, and fear of negative evaluation are just a few of the body’s responses that occur in social situations. In some cases, this anxiety is so severe it […]

Lung cancer patients with anxiety, depression die sooner: new study
Patients who experience anxiety and depression after being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer are more likely to die sooner, according to new research from UBC Psychology and BC Cancer Agency. The study, published this month in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, is among the first to examine the effect of anxiety and depression on […]

Walking the talk: Language Sciences at UBC
There is a certain buzz in the air at the University of British Columbia; scientists, administrators, graduate students, and undergraduate students are all talking. They’re talking about a new initiative that brings together scholars from across the university, united by their common interest: language sciences. The initiative is UBC Language Sciences, a platform for inspiring collaboration […]

Professor Ara Norenzayan: What can evolution tell us about morality?
What can evolution tell us about morality? UBC Psychology professor and “Big Gods” author Dr. Ara Norenzayan seeks to answer this question in an essay for the Center for Humans & Nature, titled “What can cultural evolution tell us about the human conquest of the planet?”. Dr. Norenzayan explains the role that cultural evolution has played in […]

Baby Talk: How language learning begins before birth
Explore the secrets of early childhood development with UBC Psychology professor Dr. Janet Werker as part of the University Killam Professor Lecture series.  Dr. Werker will host a special screening and discussion of the acclaimed documentary Babies, directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès. Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of […]

January Lab of the Month: A new model of suicide with the Personality, Emotion, and Behaviour Lab
Drawn by a strong desire to understand and help people, Dr. E. David Klonsky is a clinical psychologist and an associate professor in the department of psychology. As director of the Personality, Emotion and Behaviour Lab (PEBL), his research focuses on understanding and preventing suicide and self-harm. Ahead of UBC’s Suicide Awareness Day on January 25, we […]

The Centre for Gambling Research at UBC discovers new treatments for problem gamblers
After looking at images of slot machines and roulette, problem gamblers experience increased activity in the same part of the brain that lights up when drug addicts have cravings, according to a new study out of the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC. The findings, published today in Translational Psychiatry, suggest that this part of […]

Q&A with PhD candidate Ashley Whillans: Why do we give?
The holiday season is a time of giving, but the reasons why people donate to charity aren’t well understood. UBC psychology PhD candidate Ashley Whillans is the lead author of a study published this month in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that looks at the effect of wealth on willingness to donate to charity. […]

Michael Muthukrishna receives 2016 CGS/ProQuest Dissertation Award
Michael Muthukrishna, a former UBC Psychology PhD student, has been selected as the winner of the prestigious 2016 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences, for his dissertation, The Cultural Brain Hypothesis and the Transmission and Evolution of Culture. In his dissertation, Muthukrishna discusses theories to explain the evolution of the human brain and human social networks. […]

Dr. Kiley Hamlin among UBC’s Canada Research Chair renewals
On December 2nd, 2016, UBC received a $11.5 million boost in federal funding to support researchers who “improve our scientific understanding and strengthen Canada’s reputation for research excellence.” Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kiley Hamlin, whose Canada Research Chair appointment was renewed. Dr. Kiley Hamlin, Canada Research Chair of Developmental Psychology, focuses her research on the role […]

Dr. Peter Suedfeld awarded Canadian Honours Polar Medal
We would like to congratulate Professor Emeritus Dr. Peter Suedfeld, who was awarded the Canadian Honours Polar Medal. The Polar Medal celebrates Canada’s northern heritage and recognizes those who have contributed to or endeavoured to promote a greater understanding of Canada’s northern communities and its people. Dr. Suedfeld has conducted field research in both polar regions. His research focuses on understanding […]

Language Science Talks: SSHRC Gold Medal Speaker Series announced
UBC Language Sciences presents Language Science Talks, a series of talks by leading researchers in the language sciences from around the world. The first five talks are partly sponsored by the SSHRC Gold Medal awarded to Dr. Janet Werker, Canada Research Chair in Psychology at UBC, in recognition of the pioneering discoveries Dr. Werker has […]

Dr. Paul Hewitt’s new book “Perfectionism” is now available for pre-order
Grounded in decades of influential research, Dr. Paul Hewitt’s new book Perfectionism: A Relational Approach to Conceptualization, Assessment, and Treatment thoroughly examines perfectionism: how it develops, its underlying mechanisms and psychological costs, and how to target it effectively in psychotherapy. Dr. Hewitt and his co-authors describe how perfectionistic tendencies—rooted in early relational and developmental experiences—make people vulnerable […]

December Lab of the Month: Centre for Gambling Research at UBC
Understanding the psychology of gambling and improving evidence-based gambling policy are key drivers behind the research at the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC. The Centre explores the cognitive, behavioural, clinical and neuroscience aspects of gambling, Since it was established in 2014, the Centre – one of only a handful of gambling research hubs globally – […]

2017 Maclean’s rankings: UBC Psychology ranks first in Canada, again
UBC Psychology is ranked first among Canadian psychology departments for the second year in a row by Maclean’s magazine. Maclean’s 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 […]

iPad apps teach kids just as well as humans: UBC Psychology study
Young children learn just as well from interactive media as from face-to-face instruction, a new Department of Psychology study has found. UBC Psychology researchers compared how well children learned new facts using an iPad app versus being taught in-person by an instructor. The results of the study, recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, found no statistical […]

New research: Trump’s political success was a triumph of style over substance
Style, not substance, accounts for Donald Trump’s U.S. Republican presidential nomination, according to a psychological analysis from the Department of Psychology. UBC Psychology researchers compared Trump’s speech style and Twitter usage to that of the other top nine Republican contenders. The real-estate mogul and reality star consistently ranked highest in ratings of grandiosity, “I”-statements, informal language, […]

November Lab of the Month: the Centre for Cognitive Development
Why do children learn some things before others? What makes learning easy—and what makes it difficult? And how can we improve children’s ability to universally learn higher cognitive concepts, such as mathematics and science? Dr. Darko Odic, psychology professor and director of the Centre for Cognitive Development, hopes to answer these questions. From investigating how […]

Understanding mind-wandering could shed light on mental illness: UBC research
If you think the mind grinds to a halt when you’re doing nothing, think again. In a review of mind-wandering research published in the November issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Kalina Christoff, the review’s lead author and a professor in UBC’s department of psychology, proposes a new framework for understanding how thoughts flow—even at rest. The authors […]

Congratulations to our 2016 Robert E. Knox Master Teaching Award recipients
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 2016 Knox Teaching Award is awarded to assistant professor Frances Chen (Faculty Award) and to our sessional instructor Janel Fergusson (Sessional Award). Please join us in congratulating […]

The psychology of giving: 5 ways giving makes your life better
UBC Psychology professor Dr. Elizabeth Dunn and PhD student Ashley Whillans recently met up with Chimp, a Vancouver-based charitable-giving website. Chimp’s platform,, empowers corporations, communities and individuals to act on the human spirit of charity. Dunn and Whillans shared their research on the psychology of giving with the Chimp team at a staff lunch-and-learn. The event, along with some research […]

UBC psychology prof. Andrew Baron weighs in on implicit race bias and the US election
The term “implicit bias” was recently thrust into the U.S. presidential race, when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stated that “implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police” when asked about racial discrimination during the first debate. Andrew Scott Baron, associate professor and director of the UBC Social Cognitive Development Lab, researches implicit […]

What makes gambling addictive?
Research on gambling addiction often focuses on risk factors in individual people – but is the design of the games themselves part of the problem? In a segment for a Research2Reality web series, Luke Clark, associate professor and director of the Centre for Gambling Research at UBC, tells us how game design shapes gambling addiction.   According to Clark, there […]

New research shows we read the body to reveal the mind
New research out of the Department of Psychology finds that people can read others’ attentional states by observing their actions. The study, Humans are sensitive to attention control when predicting others’ actions, shows that many of us have a keen ability to read the attentional states of others through their actions. But this ability is […]

Meet psychology alum and serial entrepreneur Wilson Lee
What can you do with a psychology degree? Wilson Lee (BA ’09, Psychology) is a self-professed ‘serial entrepreneur’. He heads a marketing agency, an event production company, and an ice-cream chain. In May 2016 he was named a BC Business 30 under 30 for his efforts. 30 Under 30 celebrates future business leaders under 30 […]

Prof. Jessica Tracy on how politicians like Trump use hubris to achieve power
Pride is a complex emotion that plays an important role in our lives. In her book, Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success, UBC psychology professor Jessica Tracy examines the role of pride in shaping our minds, and how pride helps politicians like Donald Trump attain power. In Take Pride, you use Donald Trump as […]

Therapy dogs from Vancouver ecoVillage are helping UBC students unwind
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. To help students adjust to university life, UBC Psychology is teaming up with the UBC Alma Mater Society and Vancouver ecoVillage to bring their therapy dogs to campus from September 27 to November 7 2016. At these dog […]

A life of research leads to a University Killam Professorship
Dr. Janet Werker began her long, prolific research and teaching career at UBC in 1985. Throughout her entire academic career, she has managed multiple roles at once. Not only is she a teaching professor and researcher who is director of the Infant Studies Centre in the Department of Psychology, she is also the one of […]

UBC Psychology prof Jessica Tracy’s new book ‘Take Pride’ hits bookshelves today
Why did Paul Gauguin abandon middle-class life to follow the path of a starving artist? What inspired Bill Gates to give away so much of his hard-won fortune? How has Donald Trump succeeded so excessively, when his winning style could easily be his greatest liability? As the renowned emotion researcher Jessica Tracy reveals in her […]

Taking an animated approach to teaching
A UBC psychology instructor is taking a creative approach to teaching – through the use of stop-motion animation. Steven Barnes, an Instructor in the Department of Psychology, has employed art and interactivity in his work for several years. His methods range from the use of stop-motion ‘chalkboard’ animation in his classes, to allowing students to […]

New online therapy program is helping students overcome social anxiety
Meeting new people and forging new friendships is an important part of university. Some students enjoy this aspect of student life, while others dread it. Students experience social anxiety differently; it can be pervasive for some and for others the anxiety surfaces in specific situations, such as class or group presentations or a simple social […]

UBC Psychology prof. Steven Heine elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Dr. Steven Heine is among 89 new Fellows elected into the Royal Society of Canada. The 2016 Fellows have been elected by their peers in recognition of outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement. Election to the academies of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the Arts, Humanities and Sciences. “I’m […]

Meet the 2016/17 GSC presidential team
Meet the department’s new Graduate Student Council (GSC) presidents, Jennifer Campbell, Jordan Brace, and Bri Glazier. The GSC is composed of graduate students from different areas of the department. They aim to serve the graduate students in the department by acting as a bridge between the faculty/staff and the graduate students. In this Q&A, the presidential team share their research–and […]

Celebrate the start to a new school year: Imagine UBC
Imagine UBC is a university-wide orientation event that will be held on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016. The Department of Psychology also offers several special psychology-specific events to introduce students to the many interesting people and exciting opportunities that UBC Psychology has to offer. On September 6, we will be hosting three Imagine day events for new and […]

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 […]

Building international ties to investigate the role of social relationships and health
Faculty and graduate students from the Department of Psychology’s health area recently travelled to Berlin to establish new ties with several research teams. At the core of the visit was a two-day workshop at the Free University of Berlin (FUB). The workshop, a first of its kind, explored the role of social relationships for health outcomes […]

Portrait of a PhD student: 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 […]

Through the lens of adult neurogenesis, Dr. Jason Snyder’s lab explores how the brain stores information and uses it to guide future behaviour. Learn how Dr. Snyder developed an interest in this fascinating research–and about the research taking place in the lab.

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
UBC Psychology Instructor Steven Barnes is 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 ideas he teaches. […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Catherine Rawn’s 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 […]

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 […]

Catherine Rawn in 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 […]

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 […]

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 their […]

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”. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Dr. Frances Chen’s 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
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  and the University of British Columbia, 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 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

Dr. Anne Treisman’s Honorary Degree Acceptance Speech
Ten years ago, Drs. Daniel Kahneman and Anne Treisman, former UBC Psychology professors, received honorary UBC degrees. Kahneman and Treisman accepted positions in the department of psychology at UBC shortly after their marriage and were professors from 1978-1986. Both are professors of psychology at Princeton University. In 2002, Dr. Kahneman earned the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for […]

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. […]

From Uganda to UBC, and back
Sunaina Assanand’s drive to transform how her psychology students learn led her back to Uganda, four decades after her family’s exile. Sunaina Assanand was a young child when her family was forced to flee Uganda in 1972. Four decades later, the UBC instructor returned to her homeland to teach a powerful new psychology course with […]