Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience
Michael Inzlicht, Professor of Psychology
Veerpal Bambrah obtained her Honours Bachelor of Science in Mental Health Studies and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus. She is currently managing Michael Inzlicht's Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience and Yoel Inbar's Emotion, Morality, and Politics Laboratory. Her independent study with Inzlicht examined the role of trait mindfulness in the emotional disengagement of attention, using the emotional attentional blink task. She has a growing interest in the use of event-related potentials (ERPs) using electroencephalography (EEG), and hopes to apply these methods to further examine the role of mindfulness, self-control, and emotion regulation in social, and possibly clinical, behaviours.
Takuma Nishimura is interested in human motivation, particularly, the role of important others on motivation. For example, some student might like a teacher who teaches mathematics, and then come to like studying mathematics. Has this kind of thing has happened to you before? Previously, Takuma’s research examined the developmental trajectory and growth trend of motivation among children. He is now curious about social neuroscience approached to the study of motivation.
Akina Umemoto’s research investigates the interplay among reward processing, motivation, and cognitive control. She uses EEG to examine the electrophysiological markers of anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) function, which are believed to reflect these processes. Akina’s work particularly focuses on the event-related brain potential associated with reward sensitivity and on frontal midline theta activity, 4-8Hz EEG oscillations associated with cognitive control and effort. Using these measures, she also examines individual differences in reward valuation, motivation, and control processes, and their impairment often observed in mental disorders, particularly depression. Akina is interested in finding out the nature of these impairments, and if they can be modified.
Nathaniel Elkins-Brown’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).
John Eusebio graduated from Western University with an H.BA in Psychology, specializing in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. His primary research interest involves the initiation of cognitive control, and the formation of functional networks to facilitate task performance under varying levels of cognitive load. His research has also expanded into non-conscious areas, such as resting state temporal dynamics, mindfulness, and mind-wandering. John is also interested in neuroplasticity and the role of resting state networks in exploring the brain’s dynamic repertoire.
Amanda Ferguson is interested mindfulness, and the ways in which mindfulness-based therapies can influence emotion regulation and self-control. She's especially curious about the practice of acceptance - what makes an individual more or less likely to accept a state of negative emotion? Which mechanisms are involved, and how are they activated during mindfulness-based practices? Amanda is excited to study these questions throughout her graduate degree.
Zoe Francis’ research looks at self-control, mental fatigue, and personal beliefs. She is particularly interested in examining and improving the methodologies used to study these areas—for example, how to harness repeated-measures designs to study ego depletion—as well as investigating relevant individual differences. Broadly, she aims to use both behavioural and neurophysiological methods to discover underlying processes behind everyday actions and to ultimately understand why people's actions and motivations are so diverse.
Hause Lin is exploring how we make decisions. Sometimes making decisions feels effortless; other times, we struggle to decide—so how do we choose and decide when faced with multiple options? Are there neural correlates of decision conflict and uncertainty, and can these correlates tell us anything about how and when our brains choose to choose? Hause hopes to use a multi-method approach to study decision-making processes.
Flavia Freitas Melcop Cardozo
Volunteer Research Assistants
Flavia Freitas Melcop Cardozo
Timour Al-Khindi (M.D./Ph.D. student, Johns Hopkins University)
Belle Derks (professor, Utrecht University, the Netherlands)
Marie Good (assistant professor, Redeemer University College)
Jennifer Gutsell (assistant professor, Brandeis University)
Jacob Hirsh (assistant professor, University of Toronto, Rotman Business School)
Nicholas Hobson (entrepreneur consultant, Psychology Compass)
Sonia Kang (assistant professor, University of Toronto Mississauga, Rotman Business School)
Lisa Legault (assistant professor, Clarkson University)
Marina Milyavskaya (assistant professor, Carleton University)
Vincent Pillaud (assistant professor, University of Caen, Normandy, France)
Daniel Randles (senior business insight analyst, TD Bank)
Jessica Remedios (assistant professor, Tufts University)
Achala Rodrigo (Ph.D. student, University of Toronto)
Blair Saunders (lecturer/assistant professor, University of Dundee, Scotland)
Rimma Teper (resident behavioral consultant, Idea Couture)
Shona Tritt (clinical psychologist)
Alexa Tullett (assistant professor, University of Alabama)
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- anterior cingulate cortex
- cognitive control
- ego depletion
- stereotype threat
- emotion regulation
- political psychology
- alpha asymmetry
- minority status
- motor resonance
- cognitive dissonance
Commenting in the News and Views section of Nature Human Behaviour, Michael Inzlicht and Cendri A. Hutcherson comment on a brilliant new paper on prosocial apathy, noting its many strengths, but also areas for future inquiry.
In an essay published in the Conversation, Daryl Cameron, Michael Inzlicht, and William Cunningham discuss the nature of empathy, specifically asking if empathy has limits. In the essay, which is part book review of Paul Bloom's Against Empathy, Michael and his co-authors suggest that limits to empathy are more apparent than real; these apparent limits are not built into empathy itself, but reflect the choices we make. These so-called limits, in other words, result from general trade-offs that people make as they balance some goals against others.
Harvard Business Review discusses the changing landscape of research on self-control, including covering work by Michael Inzlicht, who suggests that self-control is not similar to a fuel tank that becomes emptied with use. Instead, Michael suggests that self-control is better understood as a motivational construct, with features that make it resemble an emotion.
- Joshua Aronson, New York University
- Avi Ben-Zeev, San Francisco State University
- Elliot Berkman, University of Oregon
- Kirk Brown, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Daryl Cameron, Penn State University
- Belle Derks, Utrecht University
- Jennifer Gutsell, Brandeis University
- Greg Hajcak, Florida State University
- Eddie Harmon-Jones, University of New South Wales
- Jacob Hirsh, University of Toronto
- Cendri Hutcherson, University of Toronto
- Sonia Kang, University of Toronto
- Michael Larson, Brigham Young University
- Lisa Legault, Clarkson University
- Ian McGregor, University of Waterloo
- Marina Milyavskaya, Carleton University
- Sukhvinder Obhi, McMaster University
- Liz Page-Gould, University of Toronto
- Travis Proulx, Cardiff University
- Blair Saunders, University of Dundee
- Brandon Schmeichel, Texas A&M University
- Zindel Segal, University of Toronto
- Alexa Tullett, University of Alabama
University of Toronto
- Association for Psychological Science
- Canadian Psychological Association
- Canada Foundation for Innovation
- International Social Cognition Network
- International Society for Research on Emotion
- National Academy of Education
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
- Social and Affective Neuroscience Society
- Social Psychology Network
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
- Society for Personality and Social Psychology
- Society for Psychophysiological Research
- Spencer Foundation