Lab Members

Lab Manager
Alison Knill
Photo on 2015-04-03 at 7.24 PM

Alison has graduated from her BSc. majoring in Biological Psychology and is interested in cognitive neuroscience focusing on the various biomarkers of dementia. She plans to enter graduate school at UBC studying potential treatments for cognitive deficits in various forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and how biomarkers can be used to formulate pre-emptive treatment.


Graduate Students
Ryan Dwyer 
Ryan Dwyer Lab Website Photo

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:

Aaron Weidman
Aaron Suedfeld LoungeAaron 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 UBC alumnus with an honors degree (BA) in psychology. He is interested in social, cognitive, and clinical psychology. He studies how technology such as smartphones can shape people’s social and emotional well-being as well as parents’ relationship with their children. In the future, he hopes to attend graduate school for Fall 2017. He aims to not only develop his skills in research, mentorship, and teaching, but to apply these skills to help people in meaningful, long lasting ways. At the moment, he is working with Dr. Elizabeth Dunn on projects investigating the impact of technology on people’s psychology. Additionally, he is collaborating on a project with Dr. Dunn and Dr. Victoria Savalei investigating people’s understanding and interpretation of Bayesian statistics.


Senior Research Assistants
Jasmine Veark

Jasmine is a fourth-year student, currently working towards a major in Psychology and a minor in Linguistics. She’s interested in social and developmental psychology, particularly how time perception influences basic emotions and what racial bias looks like in young children. In the future, she hopes to attend graduate school for psychology and eventually work in a helping career.

Marisa Gagne
Marisa Senior RA Headshot

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
Winnie1Winnie 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
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:

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
Jordi Quoidbach 2

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.