Concepts in the brain are in part organized as networks of associations. My work seeks to understand how association strengths form and change among these networks of mental representation. I focus on implicit associations in particular, those that are outside of conscious awareness. My work examines the nature of evaluative as well as more propositionally based constructs (e.g., attitudes and beliefs). My lab seeks to understand the mechanisms that constrain how these associations form and that govern the conditions under which they can be modified and will influence behavior. This work has broad applications for cognitive science, social cognition, education, legal and economic policy, as well as for marketing research (e.g., implicit measures of consumer cognition).
To address these issues, I recruit theories and methods from social, cognitive and developmental psychology. As a case study of the processes that underlie the acquistion and change of implicit associations, I study the development of implicit social cognition from infancy through adulthood. While I am committed broadly to understanding the area of social cognitive development, my program of research specifically explores the development of intergroup cognition (e.g., attitudes and stereotypes). My research examines 1) the acquisition of social category concepts, 2) the development of implicit intergroup evaluations, and 3) the consequences of group membership on social reasoning.
I am currently teaching an advanced graduate course on implicit cognition. This course is open to graduate students across disciplines and focuses on how implicit associations form and change. To view the syllabus for this course, please click here.
This work is funded by grants from UBC, The Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
To learn more about my current research projects, please explore the links above.
For additional information, parents and prospective students should visit my lab website: Social Cognitive Development Lab