Lab Members

Lab Director

Dr. Lara Aknin

Hello! I’m Lara Aknin, an assistant professor of Social Psychology at Simon Fraser University and scholar at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. My research interests lie at the intersection of social psychology, positive psychology, economics and judgement and decision making. My research questions often include the study of what makes people happy, the emotional consequences of kind or generous behavior, and the well-being outcomes of specific spending choices. Most of the research I have conducted thus far examines people’s perceptions of the money and happiness relationship and whether people reap greater happiness from spending money on others (i.e. prosocial spending) than when spending the same amount of money on themselves.

Lab Manager
Emily Thornton

I am currently completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology with Honours. My academic interests include developmental psychology and psychopathology, social psychology, and abnormal psychology.

Graduate Students
                                                                      Dylan Wiwad

I am a third year PhD student in Dr. Aknin’s lab. I completed my MA here at Simon Fraser University, on the emotional consequences of perceptions of high income mobility. Primarily, my research centers around perceptions of economic inequality and their downstream consequences. Currently I am working on a number of projects exploring ways to reduce tolerance for economic inequality. On top of my current research I am broadly interested in various aspects of social psychology and research methods; specifically income mobility, morality, psychometrics, and statistics.

673Kate Hannibal

I am a second year Masters Student with Dr. Lara Aknin. I completed my Bachelors at University of Puget Sound in Washington State. Much of my research centers around the emotional benefits of prosocial and altruistic action. The central focus of many of my current studies is to determine whether the emotional benefits of prosocial behavior and generous spending represent a psychological functional universal within our species. Currently, my primary line of research seeks to determine whether the emotional rewards of prosocial behavior are detectable in criminal, antisocial, and psychopathic populations. My broad research interests include forensic psychology, prosocial and altruistic behavior, judgment and decision making, and psychopathy.

Research Assistants

Jayna Bhindi
I’m completing my BA (Hons.) in Psychology, with a minor in Counselling and Human Development. Currently, I’m working with Dr. Lara Aknin and my honours thesis explores the impact of school-based philanthropy programs, which empower young children to do kind or generous things for others, on well-being, peer relations, and sense of social responsibility. In addition, I’m also interested in other aspects of social psychology, including motivations and outcomes for prosocial behaviour. After graduation, I plan to take some time off to gain work and travelling experience and then I intend to pursue my Master’s in either Experimental Psychology or Counselling Psychology. During my spare time, I enjoy catching up with friends, reading a good book, and exploring local gems in the city.

Michelle Hui
I am completing my Bachelor degree at Simon Fraser University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Counselling and Human Development. I have great passion in exploring human emotions, relationships, and well-beings. Apart from that, I have a strong belief in the power of music and art, through which they allow healing and enhance wellness. After graduation, I intend to volunteer in rural countries and to pursue my Master in Social Work or Art Therapy. Ultimately, I wish to spread happiness to everyone, especially those in distress. Outside of school, I enjoy painting, playing drums, and hiking.

Julie Kim
I am a 4th year psychology student at SFU pursuing a major in psychology. I am very interested in social psychology and I am planning to continue my studies after finishing my undergraduate degree. In my spare time I like to listen to music and hang out with my 5 cats.
John Tolentino
I am a fourth year student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling and Human Development. My previous volunteer experiences have brought me to places such as Vicente Guerrero, Mexico where I worked at an orphanage, as well as Whitehorse, Yukon where I informally counselled aboriginal preteens. In the past, I was also employed at the Vancouver School Board to work with vulnerable, at risk children in East Vancouver. It is because of these personal encounters that my academic interests are situated in understanding how prosocial behaviours and altruism impact the social, emotional wellbeing of a human. Moreover, how it can teach one to engage in psychological resilience and emotion regulation.
Caileigh Wilson
I am a third year student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counselling and Human Development. I have worked with aboriginal youth on the downtown east side of Vancouver for approximately 2 years and in doing so I have become very interested in research that includes peer-relationships, well-being, trauma, developmental and behaviour disorders. I am working towards getting accepted into grad school for a masters in Counselling Psychology to continue my work with vulnerable populations in a helping capacity. Outside of school I am an avid photographer, traveler, boxer and surfer.

Jacqueline Yip
I am a 4th year student majoring in psychology and minoring in education. My research interests are social psychology, including intergroup relationship and prosocial behavior. I am also interested in abnormal psychology. In the future, I intend to pursue my Master’s in either social psychology or clinical psychology. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering in different events/programs and child-related work, such as Daycare.

Monique Austria
Marjan Beikzadeh
Ken Clinton
Tasha Dong
Ravina Gill
George Guo
Jessamyn Hung
Linda Magyari
Puneet Sekhon
Shaira Thobani
Emily Thornton

Honorary Lab Member

Lab Alumni
Lab Managers
Darek Cole
Alice Fleerackers
Lisa Godfrey
KB Zaidi

Honours Students
Ryan Carlson

Research Assistants
Manahil Ahmed
Holly Armstrong
Patricia Bhardwaj
Kate Bousfield
Chantal Broughton
Ryan Carlson
Pawan Chahal
Elizabeth Chan
Evelyn Chen
Nickie Christie
Jason Chung
Laura Cummings
Jenna Dales
Dorianna Dickson
Taylor Doberstein
Shawn Feng
Mario Ferrari
Tess Gregory
Ethan Hait
Felix Hsieh
Chelsea Jonathan
Melissa Koay
Daniella Kullman
Nyssa Lessingham
Shannon Martin
Bronwyn McBride
Lauren McRae
Zahra Mohamud
Manal Masud
Alyssa Murducco
Mina Myong
Laila Namur
Kimia Nassehi
Ewa Naylor
Sebastian Oreamuno
Courtney Parolin
Natasha Pusch
Samatha Robinson
Raman Samara
Lindsay Samson
Parmeen Sohal
Kyle Stewart
Mirko Suzara
Jordan Tome
Rebecca Trahey
Maitland Waddell
Esther Wei
Michael Wickham
Sheri Wong
Min Je Woo
Kristen Yang