Celebrating our MA and PhD fall graduates

Congratulations to all of our master’s and doctoral graduates who will walk the stage at UBC’s fall 2021 graduation ceremony on November 24, 2021.

Erica Dharmawan, who is graduating from our Developmental Psychology program, was chosen as Graduating Student Speaker at the ceremony. As the speaker, she will reflect on her experiences at UBC and speak on behalf of her peers.


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We celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates and it is with great pride that we congratulate each one of them!

Meet the graduating class of 2021 and learn more about their research.

PhD Graduates

Dr. Patrick J. Dubois

Dissertation title: Integrating overconfidence and overclaiming: exaggeration harms performance
Doctoral citation: Knowledge is often based more on feeling than fact, and such unwarranted confidence varies significantly among people. Dr. Dubois established that this cognitive habit is separate from intelligence, has a distinct personality profile, and can be conveniently, unobtrusively, measured to predict academic performance more accurately and holistically.

Dr. Bri Glazier

Dissertation title: Memory for positive social event and social anxiety
Doctoral citation: Dr. Glazier’s research examined how socially anxious individuals remember positive events. Her studies found a recall bias in social anxiety disorder and examined the role of post-event processing. This research can inform future attempts to help socially anxious individuals benefit from positive experiences.

Dr. Jennifer Na

Dissertation title: Reducing mental illness stigma: Interventions and mechanisms
Doctoral citation: Dr. Na’s study compared the efficacy of loving-kindness meditation, a novel intervention for reducing stigma of bipolar disorder, to an education-contact intervention. Results provide insight into the process of mental illness stigma reduction, by highlighting key intervention components, such as increase in knowledge and positivity toward others.

Dr. Boaz Saffer

Dissertation title: Comparing two ideation-to-action perspectives on suicide ideation and suicide attempts
Doctoral citation: Dr. Saffer’s research found that thoughts of suicide emerge due to people experiencing psychological pain and hopelessness, and that suicide attempts are far more likely to occur when a person has knowledge and access to lethal means. His research provides important treatment implications for helping people with suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Dr. Enda Tan

Dissertation title: The neurobiological bases of infants’ sensitivity to sociomoral scenarios
Doctoral citation: Dr. Tan studied the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying infants’ responses to sociomoral interactions. Using multiple methods, his research provides new evidence that infants’ responses to prosocial/antisocial interactions are social in nature and involve emotional responses. These findings contribute to our understanding of the origins and mechanisms of sociomoral evaluations.

Dr. Cindel White

Dissertation title: The cognitive foundations and prosocial consequences of belief in karma and gods
Doctoral citation: Dr. White investigated the psychological causes and consequences of belief in karma and belief in God. She studied how diverse supernatural justice beliefs can be produced by the combination of intuitive cognitive tendencies and cultural factors, and she documented how these beliefs shape social cognition, moral psychology, and prosocial behaviour.

Dr. Zak Witkower

Dissertation title: The Action Unit Imposter: Head position influences social perceptions by changing the appearance of the face
Doctoral citation: Dr. Witkower studies how and why facial expressions and body movements communicate emotion, personality, and social rank. He developed the Action Unit Imposter account, which argues that certain head movements co-opt the psychology of facial-expression perception by creating the visual illusion of facial dynamics. This research advances our understanding of how, why, where, and when nonverbal behavior can be leveraged for interpersonal communication.

PhD students Cara Dunkley and Ru Yu are also graduating in fall 2021.

MA Graduates

Matthew I. Billet

Thesis title: Ecospirituality: Content, Correlates, and Moral Concern for Nature

Erica Dharmawan

Thesis title: Children’s understanding of subordinate kind and brand categories

Elizabeth Zambrano Garza

Thesis title: Partner Contributions to Goal Pursuit: Findings from Repeated Daily Life Assessments with Older Couples

Faith Jabs

Thesis title: Examining the treatment utility of the approach-avoidance motivation model for sexual interest/arousal disorder in women and non-binary individuals

Manlu Liu

Thesis title: Are you looking at me?: An objective state of mind reduces sensitivity to other’s emotional expressions

Aria Petrucci

Thesis title: The Relationship Between Environmentally Induced Emotion and Memory for a Naturalistic Experience

Jason Zheng

Thesis title: Psychological distress in North America during COVID-19: the role of pandemic-related stressors

MA students Chantelle Cocquyt, Brittany Cole, Dunigan Folk and Hongyuan Qi are also graduating in fall 2021.