Mike Mask Q&A

To start with, what’s your preferred name, pronouns if using, year, and program

Hi! My name is Mike Mask and I am in my fourth year of the BA Honours psychology program.

Can you tell us about your research?

I am currently conducting research related to political extremism, which connects experimental existential psychology with the psychology of conspiratorial thinking, with Dr. Steven Heine. I am also investigating potential strategies for acquiring prestige and resources by individuals high in so-called Dark Triad traits with Dr. Karl Aquino. I am beyond thrilled to continue my training next year with these two most incredible and inspirational mentors that anybody could ever hope for when I began my MA program at UBC.

What has been your favourite experience from the psychology honours program?

Echoing the statements of others, definitely the wonderful cohort of other Honours students. I have made lifelong connections with a highly supportive, inspiring and encouraging group of fantastic people with an extremely diverse set of research interests and personal backgrounds. I now feel like I always have a friend in just about every psychology course I take. It can be easy to feel like just another number in such a large department like psychology, possibly shuffling between classes without making deep and lasting connections with people. But the Honours program provides you with the opportunity to really get to know a small group of dedicated students who you will bond with over a period of two years.

Has your perspective on psychology changed since you’ve been in the program?

Prior to the Honours program, I looked at psychology from the perspective of a spectator. From the outside looking in. The Honours program gave me the keys to the inside and I now feel like a real (albeit, still totally amateur!) researcher – I have gained an appreciation for how the sausage is made. How research questions are formulated. How designs are cooked up. How studies are put together and launched. How data is analyzed. How to collaborate with others. How results are written up and shared with the world. This program is an invitation to the mysterious inner world of psychological research! Are you intrigued?

Do you have advice for anyone considering applying for the honours program?

If you are a curious person who is really interested in the research process – go for it! Just apply. Lots of us were not steeped in research experience when we joined the program. This is your opportunity to see what it’s all about. Maybe you have some self-doubts about whether you can handle it or whether this is the right path for you. That is perfectly normal – we all had doubts! But maybe, during the course of the program, you might come to realize that you’ve met your one true love – research! This program has been the best experience of my life and has shown me what I want to spend the rest of my days doing. That potential is there, to discover what it is you truly want to pursue. Don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes, it is all part of the learning process. Don’t be afraid of asking big questions, doing things differently, or seizing opportunities when they come your way. Don’t be afraid of approaching professors with research ideas – you never know which ones may be good novel ideas! Don’t be afraid of stepping into the role of researcher. It’s your time to shine. Good luck!


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