Research interests

My lab broadly pursues the following four lines of research:

Resource Scarcity
Why do the poor stay poor? Why are the busy forgetful? Here we examine how the lack of resources (e.g., scarcity in money, time, or environmental resources) consumes cognitive resources (e.g., attention, cognitive control). As a consequence, scarcity may result in impaired performance and suboptimal behaviors, which can further perpetuate the condition of scarcity.

Behavioral Interventions
To alleviate the impact of scarcity on cognition and behavior, we aim to develop interventions in two different ways: (1) using resource endowment to reduce the cognitive burdens imposed by scarcity, and (2) using self-affirmation to mitigate the stigma of poverty and to improve the cognitive functioning in the poor.

Environmental Cognition and Behavior
What specific environmental features impact cognition and well-being? How do people perceive their consumption of environmental resources (e.g., water, electricity, gas)? How to calibrate such perception? We are interested in not only understanding the perception of consumption, but also designing effective interventions to reduce waste and to encourage pro-environmental behavior.

Statistical Perception and Cognition
The visual system is extremely sensitive to the presence of regularities and is highly efficient at extracting statistical information from the environment. Such extraction can direct where attention is allocated and shape how object features are represented. Beyond perception, we also examine how the learning of environmental regularities governs cognitive control and belief updating.

Visit Lab website for a complete list of publications,

Winter 2018

PSYC321 Environmental Psychology Sections

Psychological theory and research on the interaction between organisms and the physical environment; emphasis on applications to the design and management of constructed and natural environments.