Graduate Students

This section features University of Toronto graduate students who are a part of the SPRG community. Click on a student’s name to see an expanded description of his or her research interests and contact information.

Ravin Alaei

Photo of Ravin Alaei
Research Interests

Person perception, accuracy, consistency in impressions, intelligence, mimicry.

Suraiya Allidina

Photo of Suraiya Allidina
Research Interests

My interests are in how we categorize other people into social groups, and how these categorizations influence the decisions we make when interacting with members of different groups. I am especially interested in the cognitive processes involved in stereotype formation, such as how attention is directed among different dimensions of categorization and contextual features when making attributions for behaviour.

Max Barranti

Photo of Max Barranti
Address Department of Psychology University of Toronto Deerfield Hall, Room 4062 Mississauga ON CanadaPhone: (905) 828-5297
Research Interests

Max is interested in understanding the ways in which people see themselves and their social world. Specifically, Max explores if and when self and others’ perceptions converge, why perceptions fail to converge, and whether shared reality has consequences for the self or other people. For example, do people know what they are like? Are some people better judges of character than others? Is self-knowledge adaptive?

R. Thora Bjornsdottir

Photo of R. Thora Bjornsdottir
Research Interests

Thora’s research focuses on how perceivers’ and targets’ group memberships affect person perception and memory. She is also interested in factors influencing accuracy in categorization of members of perceptually ambiguous groups.

Chad Danyluck

Photo of Chad Danyluck
Research Interests

Chad  studies the psychological factors that lead to and that undermine conflict between groups. His current lines of research examine: (1) how perceptions of similarity and conflict affect interest in cross-group friendship, (2) the social consequences of money and money-related beliefs, and (3) the effects of meditation on intergroup harmony. Chad’s methodological approach is multi-faceted, incorporating dyadic experimental designs with psychophysiological instrumentation, behavioural measures, and self-report.

Philip Desormeau

Photo of Philip Desormeau
Research Interests

Phil is a PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program housed at UTSC. He is broadly interested in mindfulness- and acceptance-based practices and how they foster psychological flexibility. Currently, he is studying the relation between major depression and emotion regulation strategies promoting experiential avoidance and values-based actions.

Nathaniel Elkins-Brown

Photo of Nathaniel Elkins-Brown
Research Interests

Nat’s research explores the involvement of rapid and transient emotions in self-control, self-regulation, and performance-monitoring. Broadly, he tries to understand how moment-to-moment affect facilitates and impedes controlled processes, and how it may be possible to direct this affect in ways that let us cultivate self-control. In one line of research, Nat studies how affective information from task errors and response conflicts impact various control processes, such as error awareness and behavioural adjustments. In a second line of research, he investigates how different strategies for regulating these rapid emotions—such as mindfulness meditation—may bring about their salutary effects on self-control and health. In pursuit of these research goals, Nat makes use of a wide variety of methods, such as reaction time analyses, experience sampling, facial electromyography (EMG), and electroencephalography (e.g., ERPs).


Amanda Ferguson

Photo of Amanda Ferguson
Research Interests
Amanda is a Masters student in the Clinical Psychology program at UTSC. She is broadly interested in mindfulness, and the ways in which mindfulness-based therapies can influence emotion regulation and self-control.


Rachel C. Forbes

Photo of Rachel C. Forbes
Research Interests

My research interests focus on morality, specifically individuals’ perceptions of others’ morality. In particular, I am interested in examining what factors lead to more positive or negative views of others’ immoral behaviour. I am also interested in examining moral emotions, moral decision-making, and morality in the workplace.

Zoë Francis

Photo of Zoë Francis
Research Interests

Zoë is a PhD candidate in the Social Neuroscience Lab, working with Michael Inzlicht.   She is currently studying ego depletion and mental fatigue, from theoretical, neural, and social frameworks.  She is interested in how people’s perspectives and expectations of fatigue change their experiences, as well as how people project their own experience of fatigue onto other people.  In previous years, she has also done work on the methodology of ego depletion, and continues to emphasize methodology, statistics, and open science in all her empirical work.  Broadly, Zoë wants to understand individual differences in self-control, lay theories, and beliefs, and how these traits interact.


Maria Iankilevitch

Photo of Maria Iankilevitch
Research Interests

I am interested in researching prejudice involving different populations, and in particular, on the effects of stereotyping and biases on intergroup relations.  I am focusing on people’s attitudes towards interracial relationships and how they relate to behaviors towards these couples.

James Kim

Photo of James Kim
Research Interests

My research interests lie mainly at the intersection of romantic relationships and sexuality. Currently, I’m interested in studying sexual rejection in the context of romantic relationships and the different ways partners communicate with each other during situations of potential conflict.

Hause Lin

Photo of Hause Lin
Research Interests

Hause is exploring how we make decisions in the Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience with Dr. Michael Inzlicht. He hopes to use a multi-method approach to study decision processes.

Claire Midgley

Photo of Claire Midgley
Phone: 416-978-7344
Research Interests

I’m interested in social comparisons in online contexts and how they compare with traditional face-to-face comparisons. Specifically, I’m currently looking at the prevalence, direction, and consequences of comparisons made on Facebook and whether their effects are moderated by perceiver’s self-esteem.

Rob Redford

Research Interests

I am interested in questions of self-knowledge and interpersonal outcomes associated with a variety of social and cognitive constructs, but I am currently focused on how the components of mindfulness (attention and acceptance of present-moment experience) are linked with these things. For instance, does mindful attention to a social situation promote more accurate judgments of others, including judgments of how others see you (meta-accuracy)? Further, do mindful attention and acceptance promote a better understanding of one’s own abilities across social, emotional, and cognitive tasks/contexts?

Shayne Sanscartier

Photo of Shayne Sanscartier
Research Interests

My research uses an attachment framework to study individual differences in identity formation, affect regulation, face perception and reward processing (e.g., feelings of social reward, attention to social cues). For instance, I am currently examining how attachment avoidance (discomfort with closeness) and community connectedness might influence the internalization of heterosexism. I am also interested in the way that specific causal explanations (e.g., biogenetic, psychosocial, social constructivist) influence the perception and evaluation of both social identities and social inequalities. For example, I plan to examine whether biogenetic etiologies of mental illness increase implicit mental health stigma.

Jordana Schiralli

Photo of Jordana Schiralli
Research Interests

Broadly, I am interested in stereotyping and confronting prejudice.  Some questions I am interested in investigating are: When confronting prejudice, do people use moral language that aligns with their political orientation?  Can we manipulate moral language to appeal to one’s political orientation, thus initiating attitude change (and reducing bigotry)? My goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between prejudice, morality, and political psychology.

Kristina Schrage

Photo of Kristina Schrage
Research Interests

I am interested in both the dark and light side of romantic relationships.  On the dark side, what prevents people from self-disclosing and ultimately feeling disconnected from their relationship partner? On the light side, how do people provide adequate social support to their partner and help them overcome deep-seated fears of connection? Through understanding both the fears and facilitators of opening up, I hope to shed some light on how best to foster a sense of intimacy and connection in romantic relationships.

Amanda Sharples

Photo of Amanda Sharples
Research Interests

Amanda’s main line of research focuses on intergroup contact. Specifically, she is examining how contact with outgroups through social interaction and media influence intergroup attitudes at the individual and societal-level. To gain a comprehensive understanding of how these processes unfold in daily life, Amanda uses a multi-method approach that combines self-report, behavioural, and physiological measures with daily diary and experience sampling designs.


Victor Swift

Photo of Victor Swift
Research Interests

The way that individuals relate to the world may influence their emotional profiles and subsequent mental health. My research pertains to this possibility. Because narrative provides insight into individuals’ worldviews, my investigations are rooted in narrative analysis. Ultimately, I intend to uncover patterns between relational language categories and emotional profiles that may be used to form more effective diagnosis and treatment methods for emotional disorders.

Laura Tian

Photo of Laura Tian
Research Interests

Laura Tian is a first-year MA student. She received a Bachelor’s degree in 2015 from Queen’s University. She is interested in how facial attractiveness influences impression formation and interacts with cognitive biases during person perception.

Nathan Eldred Wheeler

Photo of Nathan Eldred Wheeler
Research Interests

Imagine someone who considers themselves somewhat intelligent has just made a stupid mistake. In reconciling their blunder, they have two choices. Either they can update their prior understanding of their intelligence to become more complex, admitting, for example, that they sometimes make stupid mistakes. Or they can find some way to excuse the blunder for the sake of reinforcing their prior belief in their own intelligence. The choice they make will shape their future conception of themselves and how they deal with similarly averse information in the future. Thus understanding the mechanisms that shape our resolution of dissonant information, as well as the factors that influence this resolution one way or the other is essential to understanding optimal decision-making and well-being in a world that does not pander to our beliefs. For this reason, my primary research interest is to study the mechanisms that direct our resolution of prediction errors, and the affective and motivational components and consequences of this resolution.