The brain was built to act, and action takes place in a social world!
The human brain is a profoundly complex interconnected system, but it would be ineffectual if it ultimately did not produce action. Thus, sensation and perception, basic cognitive processes and even higher level cognitive processes all work to support action, and to predict and make sense of action outcomes. In psychology and neuroscience, action has been studied most extensively in individuals doing basic tasks such as manipulating objects. However, social behaviour is also comprised of actions whether they be imitative actions, gestural actions, eye movements and gaze behaviour, or the subtle movements of our face as we observe the emotional states of others. We also have a profound sense of being in control of our acting bodies - a so called sense of agency. In our lab we study all these processes and the effects that various individual, situational and sociocultural factors have on them. Our aim is to help shed light on the complexities of human social behaviour in its myriad forms. Finally, we are acutely aware that psychological research has tended to focus on a thin slice of the population, so called WEIRD participants (western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic). Some of our emerging research interests involve exploring social cognition in populations outside of this thin slice.
In our lab we use a variety of methods including behavioural (reaction time, accuracy, gaze), neurophysiological (electroencephalography, peripheral psychophysiology) and neuromodulatory techniques (transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation).
About our lab culture
Finally, our lab is made up of a diverse collection of people who all have a love of psychological research. We try to foster a culture of inclusion where everyone feels a sense of purpose and belonging and where people feel that they can thrive. We are strongly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion (as much of our research illustrates) and welcome you to peruse this website to find out more about what we do!