Our Labs

The Centre for Gambling Research at UBC. (Photo: Della Rollins)

The Centre for Gambling Research at UBC. (Photo: Della Rollins)

Lab of the Month is a monthly feature where we highlight the research and people of UBC Psychology’s scientific laboratories.

With over 45 laboratories, research centres and interdisciplinary hubs of collaboration, UBC Psychology is home to numerous ground breaking research programs. Our faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows conduct research across the spectrum of psychology including behavioural neuroscience, clinical, cognitive science, developmental, health, quantitative methods, and social/personality.

Dr. Kiran Soma’s pioneering research is vital to understanding the behavioural effects of steroids
 Using a multidisciplinary approach, Dr. Kiran Soma and his research team at the Soma Laboratory are exploring the important roles of steroid hormones, such as testosterone and estradiol, in regulating brain, behaviour, and immune function. In order to conduct high-throughput steroid profiling, the lab is pioneering the use of mass spectrometry, an emerging and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 – […]

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 […]

October Lab of the Month: Letting your mind wander with Kalina Christoff
It’s safe to say that most people daydream. Mind wandering can happen when you perform everyday activities such as showering, walking, or driving–and when you’re fantasizing or remembering. But is there a pay off? Dr. Kalina Christoff, professor of psychology and principal investigator of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Laboratory, explores the science behind–and the cognitive benefits of–mind […]

September Lab of the Month: Dr. Sheila Woody’s Centre for Collaborative Research on Hoarding
The adverse social, physical, psychological, and financial effects of hoarding behaviour can represent serious harm to the person suffering from the disorder as well as their family. Yet many people don’t consider it a mental health or a medical disorder at all. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 […]

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

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

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

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

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 […]