Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience
Michael Inzlicht, Professor of Psychology
Flavia Freitas Melcop Cardozo is pursuing her Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Toronto at Scarborough and manages Dr. Michael Inzlicht's Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience. She completed an undergraduate thesis study supervised by Inzlicht and Dr. Blair Saunders. This study explored the role of performance feedback valence on subsequent feedback valence choice and behavioural (reaction times and accuracy rates) and neuropsychological (error-related negativity, ERN) indicators of inhibitory control. Since her thesis' conclusion she has completed a follow-up study and is currently conducting a third study on the effects of feedback valence.
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.
Greg Depow researches how people relate to and understand one another, as well as the decisions that lead people to help each other. His major interest is in how empathy manifests in everyday life. One could argue that empathy is a prerequisite for the kind of large-scale cooperation that is observed in humans. However, important questions remain about how often people have opportunities to empathize, how often they engage in empathy when faced with these opportunities, and how often they experience being the target of empathy. Furthermore, we have yet to determine the effects of empathizing on happiness, sense of purpose, prosocial behaviour, and future instances of empathizing. Greg uses experience sampling—which combines multiple and frequent survey assessments with smartphone technology—as one tool elucidate the nature of empathy in everyday life. Along with his project on empathy in everyday life, Greg also examines the degree to which people engage in costly effort to help others using tools borrowed from behavioural economics.
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.
Volunteer Research Assistants
Matteo Biagio Assenza
Kyo Jin Kwon
Timour Al-Khindi (M.D./Ph.D. student, Johns Hopkins University)
Veerpal Bambrah (Ph.D. student, York University)
Belle Derks (professor, Utrecht University, the Netherlands)
Nathaniel Elkins-Brown (postdoctoral fellow, Washington State University)
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 (associate professor, University of Toronto Mississauga, Rotman Business School)
Lisa Legault (associate 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 (associate professor, Tufts University)
Achala Rodrigo (Ph.D. student, University of Toronto)
Blair Saunders (lecturer/assistant professor, University of Dundee, Scotland)
Julian Scheffers (Ph.D. student, Penn State University)
Rimma Teper (resident behavioral consultant, Idea Couture)
Shona Tritt (clinical psychologist)
Alexa Tullett (associate professor, University of Alabama)
Xiaowen Xu (assistant professor, College of William and Mary)
Filter By Keyword
- ego depletion
- anterior cingulate cortex
- cognitive control
- stereotype threat
- emotion regulation
- political psychology
- alpha asymmetry
- cognitive dissonance
- minority status
- motor resonance
In the last decade, behavioral scientists concluded that their field had taken a wrong turn. Efforts to root out false findings and bad practices spurred a crisis now poised to transform the landscape of psychology. Psychology Today profiles four scientists who are leading the charge.
"[Pre-registration] is really gratifying. It's frustrating, too, because you realize how hard science is," Michael Inzlicht says. "There are a lot of null results out there. I've got a lot of bad ideas, it turns out. But because I want the results I publish to lean toward the truth, I'm happy with that."
The Independent covers a new paper from the lab examining empathy's intrinsic costs. Our study suggests that people avoid feeling empathy because they think it requires too much mental effort. Defined as the ability to understand the feelings of another person, empathy can facilitate positive social or helpful behaviours in an individual. However, our research suggests that people often don’t want to feel empathy, even if the feelings it produces are positive.
This is the greatest mystery of my adult life: How can I spend all day typing at a computer and go home feeling exhausted? How could merely activating the small muscles of my fingers leave me craving the couch at the end of the day? This question actually lies very close to one of the more hotly contested issues in psychology: What causes mental fatigue? Why is desk work so depleting? “It is kind of a mystery, to be honest,” says Michael Inzlicht, a University of Toronto psychologist who studies self-control, motivation, and fatigue.
- 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