Lab Members

Lab Manager
Alison Knill
Alison is a fourth-year Biological Psychology student interested in many different areas of psychology including developmental, behavioural and cognitive neuroscience. She plans to enter graduate school at UBC studying potential treatments for cognitive deficits in various forms of dementia.
Graduate Students
Ryan Dwyer – Picture coming soon!
Ryan is a Masters student in Social Psychology at UBC. His broad interests are in judgment & decision making and well-being. Specifically, he is interested in how people decide to spend their time and money to improve their lives, and the lives of others. What is the good life and how do people try to pursue it? His current projects explore the relationship between happiness and meaning, the impact of technology on our social lives, and the effect of volunteering on well-being.
Ashley Whillans
Ashley is a PhD student in Social Psychology and a UBC Public Scholar. In the Happy Lab, she studies the complex relationships between time, money, and happiness. Drawing from methods in health psychology and judgement & decision making, she explores questions such as “When does time and money help vs. hinder pro sociality?”, “Can using time and money to benefit others improve health?” and “How do the trade-offs that people make between time and money impact happiness?” You can find out more about her ongoing research here:
Alyssa Croft
Alyssa is a PhD Candidate in social psychology. Her research aims to answer broad questions concerning motivation, cognition and affect, specifically as they relate to stigma, stereotypes and prejudice. For more information about Alyssa and her research please see:
Aaron Weidman

Aaron is a Ph.D. student at UBC. He studies the function and measurement of emotion and related constructs, including happiness and well-being. Some of his work in the Happy Lab concerns the way in which research questions related to happiness can yield different answers depending on what type of happiness is measured. Aaron’s complete profile can be found here:
Directed Studies Students
Jason Proulx
Jason is a fourth-year psychology honors student. He is interested in social and cognitive psychology, particularly in how technology such as smartphones affects our social and emotional well-being. In the future, he hopes to attend graduate school to develop his skills in research, mentorship and teaching so he can contribute meaningfully to social cognition research and apply his knowledge to help others. At the moment, he is working on a Directed Study with Dr. Dunn as well as volunteering in the lab as Senior RA.
Senior Research Assistants
Marisa Gagne
Marisa is a fourth-year student, currently studying to complete her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Linguistics. She is interested in developmental and social psychology, particularly language acquisition and how money can influence happiness. In the future, she hopes to attend graduate school and eventually work in the field of child psychology, to work with children in the school system.
Camille Hunt
Camille is currently completing her B.Sc. with a double major in Honours Biology and Psychology. Her honours thesis focuses on defining the hypersalience network and it’s role in the delusions of patients with schizophrenia using neuroimaging techniques. Her primary interests include mental health, neuroscience, social psychology, food and travel. She plans to continue her research in the field of neuropsychology and obtain an M.D. with a specialization in psychiatry.
Winnie Liang
Winnie is a fourth-year student majoring in Biopsychology. She is interested in social and health psychology, particularly in how lifestyle changes can contribute to psychological and physical well-being. In the future, she hopes to work in health care settings and apply her knowledge to help those in need.
Lab Graduate Student Alumni
Kostadin Kushlev
I completed my PhD in Social Psychology, with a broad interest in the factors that promote psychological well-being. I have explored, for example, the factors that promote parental well-being and the emotions that can motivate positive self-change. My current work explores the psychological costs and benefits of omnipresent connectivity to the Internet. I am looking at when, how, and why people’s incessant interactions with devices, such as smartphones affect our ability to derive a sense of social relatedness from in-person social interactions. You can find a list of my current publications at:
Lara Aknin
Lara completed her BA (Hons.), MA and PhD at UBC. Her primary research focuses on whether, when and how giving leads to happiness. She also studies the impact of gift giving, social connection, and money. Lara is now an Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University (here’s a link to her profile there).
Gillian Sandstrom
Dr. Gillian Sandstrom completed her Ph.D. in 2013. For her dissertation, she studied how relationships with acquaintances, or weak social ties, are associated with well-being.  Her work finds that people are happier on days when they interact with more weak ties than they usually do, and that minimal social interactions, like the ones with your usual barista, might provide a hidden source of happiness. She currently holds a post-doctoral position at the University of Cambridge, where she is collaborating with computer scientists to examine the behavioural correlates of emotion through use of a mobile phone application.
Jordi Quoidbach
Dr. Quoidbach is interested in understanding how our ability to mentally travel through tie to re-experience the past and pre-experience the future shape our happiness in the present.

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