Research Areas by Faculty

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Our department houses some of the top researchers in the their field. There are many opportunities for students to get involved in research. Use the Search below to browse research areas by Faculty

My research is focused on trust in the workplace. 

I study the development of trust and the impact that trust has on both employees and organizations.  I examine trust from multiple perspectives: trust in supervisors, trust in subordinates and trust in peers as well as trust in teams.

My current research program investigates the importance of feeling trusted at work.  My goal is to identify and explain the factors that contribute to employees feeling trusted at work, and how this feeling of being trusted leads to improved job performance and employee well-being.

I founded the Guelph Organizational Trust (GOT) lab to answer these critical research questions. GOT Lab is an active research lab that provides rigorous training in a positive supportive environment for undergraduate and graduate students. 

Research Areas: Industrial-Organizational, trust, workplace attitudes
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

Currently, I am interested in the statistical issues related to the replication crisis in psychology. In much of this research, I use Monte Carlo simulations to illustrate that beliefs about statistics/research processes commonly held by researchers are incorrect or have boundary conditions that limit generalizability.  My I-O Psychology research interests include teamwork, organizational commitment, and the role of emotions in the workplace.

Research Areas: groups and teams, Industrial-Organizational, quantitative methods, replication crisis, workplace attitudes
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

I use behavioural measures, eye tracking, EEG/ERP and fMRI to study visual attention, perception, and memory. If you are interested in joining the lab, or want to learn more about the research I do, please see the website for my research lab (linked above).

Prospecitve graduate students: We are looking for bright, enthusiastic graduate students to join the lab in Fall 2025. If you are interested, you should apply to the NACS graduate program offered by our department.

Prospective undergraduate students: Please see instructions on my lab website about how to "Join the Lab", and options for completing experiential learning opportunities.

Research Areas: attention, learning and memory, Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Sciences, perception, vision
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: Yes

I have two lines of research:

1. Attachment-related emotional, cognitive and social interactive processes in childhood and adulthood: I am interested in developing and improving measures to assess parental sensitivity, parental disrupted caregiving, parental socialization of children's emotions, and children's representations of attachment. I am also interested in how a parent’s history of childhood maltreatment affects their parenting behaviour, the parent-child relationship, and the child’s subsequent emotional development. 

2. Assessing self-compassion: Self-compassion is commonly thought to involve three components: mindful awareness of our actual experience; treating the self kindly (as we would treat a good friend); and realizing that we are not alone, but rather, the difficult experiences we have are shared by many others. It has been strongly associated with positive mental health outcomes. Whereas self-compassion is typically assessed using a questionnaire, I am interested in understanding and observing it as a process that occurs in real time. 

Self-compassion; attachment; trauma history and symptoms; parent-child relational processes; socio-emotional development; assessment; mental health and well-being 

Research Areas: attachment, Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, emotion, maltreatment, parent-child relationships
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

My research deals with the psychosocial determinants that influence women’s health and wellbeing. In particular, I am interested in how women are broadly impacted by sexual and physical violence, and what we can do to ameliorate that violence.  Currently, I am working on projects dealing with the evaluation and implementation of a sexual assault prevention program, housing discrimination against battered women, and the evaluation of a program for children who have witnessed intimate partner violence.  I have also done work on the incorporation of HPV technologies into cervical cancer prevention.

Research Areas: aggression / conflict / violence, Applied Social, feminist psychology, health and well-being, justice
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

Pat Barclay is an evolutionary psychologist whose research combines the fields of evolutionary biology, animal behaviour, social psychology, mathematical game theory, and experimental economics to study topics such as: cooperation, altruism, reputation, punishment, friendship, partner choice, trust, biological markets, costly signaling, and risk-taking.

Research Areas: Applied Social, decision making, evolution, groups and teams, risk-taking, social behavior, trust
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: Yes

I may still accept a few undergraduate students for W24 and beyond.

In the lab we value diversity and we welcome applications from underrepresented groups, including women, people with disabilities, aboriginal people, visible minorities, and 2SLGBTQ+.

Research in the lab involves investigations into the neurotransmitters and hormonal underpinnings of social and cognitive behavior in rodents.

We are particularly interested in various regulatory and modulatory aspects of social behavior. Among many, we are investigating the neurobiological bases of (1) social learning (learning from others) whereby an individual acquires information from another individual, (2) social recognition (learning about others), individual identification and memory (3) sociability, an individual's tendency to prefer to spend time with social vs non social stimuli, and (3) agonistic interactions in males and females. Our research involves small rodents, mainly mice and it involves an integration of various aspects of neuroscience from Ethological to Pharmacological, Molecular and Genetic. Naturalistic behavioral models as well as an evolutionary interpretation of results are pivotal factors in our research. The involvement of acetylcholine, dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, and the sex hormones in the social transmission of food preferences and social recognition are, at present, the main focus of our research. We are identifying the networks of brain regions where hormones/neurochemicals interplay to underline social cognitive skills. We are identifying the networks of brain regions where hormones/neurochemicals interplay to underline social cognitive skills. To this aim, we employ behavioral, surgical, and molecular biology methods to pharmacologically manipulate these systems in specific brain regions.

Other projects are also on going in the lab, in collaboration with other labs at Guelph as well as in other Universities, both in Canada (Mac Master, University of Western Ontario) and abroad (The Rockefeller University, NY; Universita' di Parma, Italy; and King's College, London, UK).

The research in our lab of neuroendocrinology of social behavior is conducted by several very cool graduate students and numerous undergraduate students who join their projects.

Current (2023) PhD students

Kelsy Ervin, MSc
Pietro Paletta, MSc
Noah Bass, MSc
Dario Aspesi, MSc

Current (2023) MSc students

Siyao Peng
Kathleen Ladouceur
Dante Cantini

Past graduate students

Amy Clipperton-Allen, MA in 2007 and PhD in 2011
Anna Phan, MSc in 2008 and PhD in 2013
Jennifer Lymer, PhD in 2015
Richard Matta, MSc in 2014 and PhD in 2018
Paul Sheppard, PhD in 2018

Darryl Bannon, MA in 2009
Christopher Gabor, MSc in 2013
Daniel Palmer, MSc in 2013
Colin Howes, MSc in 2016
Cameron Wasson, MSc in 2017
Theresa Martin, MSc in 2018
Talya Kuun, MSc in 2021
Emily Martin, MSc in 2021
Yamna Rizwan, MSc in 2021
Oksana Kachmarchuk, MSc in 2021
Christine Sexton, MSc in 2022
Siyao Peng, MSc in 2023

Past Post Doctoral Fellows

Riccardo Dore, Ph.D., 2010-2011
Caitlin O'Flynn, Ph.D., 2016

Past Lab Technicians

Marian Castro-Labrada, MSc, 2015
Michael Marcotte, MSc, 2016-2017

Research Areas: animal, behavioral pharmacology, learning and memory, neuroscience of behavior, social neuroscience
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: Yes

Colour categorization, cognitive science and its foundations, culture and cognition, the evolution of culture, experimental philosophy.

Mark Fenske, PhD, is a cognitive-neuroscientist and Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Guelph. His research combines neuroimaging techniques with studies of human behaviour to examine factors that are critical for healthy cognitive and emotional functioning. His writing, teaching, and public speaking are likewise aimed at helping others understand that learning a bit about the brain can be helpful in enhancing performance and well-being. Dr. Fenske's efforts to translate scientific findings and make them accessible to the public at large includes the bestselling book, 'The Winner's Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success' and his popular 'Better Brain' column, which regularly appeared in the Globe & Mail.

Cognition-emotion interactions, attention, memory, visual cognition, auditory cognition, neuroimaging



Research Areas: attention, emotion, learning and memory, motivation, Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Sciences
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

Broadly speaking, I conduct research that aims to further our understanding of the role of socio-cultural influences on human motivation and behaviour, particularly in the contexts of (mental) health, immigration and biculturalism, as well as intergroup relations.

For the most part, my research examines (a) some of the social cognitive processes through which individuals derive identities and norms from sociocultural groups, (b) the impact of group membership on human motivation, particularly regarding the acquisition and maintenance of functional and dysfunctional behaviours, and (c) approaches to change group processes that foster social dysfunction. These interests have led to projects illustrating the powerful influence of socio-cultural groups on various behaviours (e.g., binge drinking, addictive-impulsive behaviours, physical activity, procrastination, political demonstration) and mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety).

My research has traditionally focused on the influence of social groups on the well-being and mental health of immigrants and their children or health-related behaviours among high school, college, and university students. I also have a few niche interests, such as political psychology (e.g., collective action) and teaching/education practices.


Interested in working with me?

I am looking for a student interested in the practice of program evaluation, particularly for programs tied to my traditional research interests. I also have a nascent line of research on Franco-Ontarian identity in need of someone with much enthusiasm for the issue of minority language groups.  Finally, I have recently joined a group working on online fandom for which there might be research opportunities. 


Research Areas: Applied Social, cross-cultural psychology, groups and teams, health and well-being, motivation
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

There are many research topics in Industrial/Organizational Psychology that interest me, which is why I am flexible with respect to the topics my graduate students can explore. Having said that I currently have several research directions that I am very excited about and would ideally integrate with future graduate student research. 

Much of my research has focused on topics reflecting the research-practice gap with applied/field samples. I have chosen this focus because much research in I-O Psychology does not consider the practical aspects of the research even though our discipline defines itself with both research and practice as core aspects. Another aspect of my research reflects my broad interests in a wide range of topics.  

Essentially my research can be organized into three categories: the accuracy and fairness of employee selection methods and decisions, employee health and well-being, and organizational effectiveness. The majority of my research is quantitative using field samples. More recently, I have started integrating mixed methods into my research (i.e. qualitative methods). I involve my graduate students extensively in my research as is evident in their inclusion in conference presentations and publications.

Accuracy and Fairness of Employee Selection Methods

My research in employee selection has focused on the validity and fairness of methods and decision making. This program of research started with my dissertation assessing interviewer biases and validity across different interview formats (i.e. unstructured to structured). Later I published research on general mental ability (GMA) and personality test validity and subgroup differences as well as other assessment tools (e.g. assessment centres, multiple-mini interviews, and work experience). More recently I have published a study assessing the social and financial cost of fixed band decision methods with GMA tests. One published paper I am quite proud of identifies socio-cultural factors that account for subgroup differences in GMA test scores. This is one of the first articles to explain and account for differences across subgroups (beyond race). I plan to continue to focus my research on selection methods and hiring decisions processes that are accurate and fair for diverse applicant groups.

Employee Health and Well-Being

Employee health and well-being has become an important issue for organizations today. My research in this area has focused on work-life conflict, employee incivility, meaning making from stressful experiences, and social support. A key component of this focus is research on first responders and their romantic partners and how they cope with traumatic events experienced at work. 

Organizational Effectiveness

This research has focused on a wide array of practical issues facing organizations today from self-serving biases on organizational surveys to effective processes for leadership assessment.  I include my research on organizational commitment in this category as it relates to employee motivation and, by extension, performance. I have two chapters on HR project teams and execution that reflect issues related to effectiveness of the HR function in organizations.

My graduate students are working on a diverse range of projects from HR manager decision making, the individual and organizational impact of employee incivility, and the predictors of employee error reporting at work.

I value open discussions, mutual respect, critical thinking and hard work. I consider my graduate students to be full research partners and the majority of my research is published in collaboration with them. As a senior member of the I/O Area, I plan to continue involving graduate students in the development of ideas and implementation of my research.

Research Areas: Industrial-Organizational

Updated March 2022

Dr. Francesco Leri is full Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Guelph.

His general area of expertise is Behavioural Pharmacology and Neuroscience.  Dr. Leri investigates psychological and neuropharmacological mechanisms involved in the development, persistence and recurrence of behaviours reinforced by chemical (cocaine, heroin, oxycodone) and natural (monosaccharaides and disaccharides) rewards.  Through psychological (i.e., conditioning), pharmacological and neurobiological experimentations in laboratory animals, his studies have been providing basic scientific knowledge critical to the understanding of learning and memory processes, reinforcement mechanisms, as well as addictions and their pharmacological treatments. Current projects are focussed on psychobiology of conditioned reinforcers (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada). Dr. Leri is actively involved in undergraduate and graduate teaching and research supervision, and he is currently serving as Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.


The laboratory of Dr. Leri typically offers 2 research positions x term  for undergraduate students completing NEUR, PSYC or BIOM research internship courses.  There are no positions for volunteers.

These course-based research positions are quite competitive. That is, selected students tend to display a high record of academic performance (> 85% overall average), appropriate academic background (courses in Neuroscience, Neuropharmacology, Learning and Statistics), as well as a strong desire to pursue post-graduate degrees in Neuroscience, Psychology, Medicine or associated disciplines. 

To be considered for one of these courses in upcoming terms, e-mail statement of interest and unofficial copy of  transcripts. 

Research Areas: addiction
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: Yes

My research program examines non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and related mental health difficulties among youth and emerging adults. Central to my research approach is the use of the Internet as a research platform and outreach tool. In this regard, my research investigates: a) online NSSI communication, b) ways to increase youth’s access to online NSSI resources, c) NSSI recovery experiences, and d) ways to enhance knowledge and training of those who can support youth who struggle with NSSI and other mental health difficulties. 

Research Areas: adolescent, Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, research-practice, resilience and identity, science & technology, self-injury
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

Positive Clinical Psychology, Youth Strengths & Resilience, Child/Adolescent Depression, Childhood Maltreatment, Cognitive Schemas

Research Areas: adolescent, Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, health and well-being, positive psychology, resilience and identity

My  research interests fall in the general area of the experimental study of human information processing. The core topics that I have studied include: mechanisms of attention; encoding and retrieval in memory; word recognition processes in skilled reading; risky decision-making among gamblers; and, social cognition. Current projects investigated with undergraduate and graduate students focus on repetition effects on memory, the benefits of retrieval on learning, and the interplay of visual and verbal processes in face recognition.

Memory, Language, Gambling, Social Cognition

Research Areas: learning and memory
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

C. Meghan McMurtry is a Professor in Psychology at the University of Guelph, director of the Pediatric Pain, Health, and Communication Lab, and a Clinical and Health Psychologist with the Pediatric Chronic Pain Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She is an Adjunct Research Professor in Paediatrics at Western University and an Associate Scientist at the Children’s Health Research Institute. Dr. McMurtry’s research and clinical interests focus on acute and chronic pain, medical procedure-related fear, as well as communication and family influences in these contexts. Author of >100 peer reviewed publications and op-ed pieces in media outlets including the New York Times and the Globe and Mail, her research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Public Health Agency of Canada, and Genome Canada, among others. Dr. McMurtry was the Co-Principal Investigator and an Evidence Lead on the national Help Eliminate Pain in Kids and Adults Team which created two clinical practice guidelines regarding vaccination pain and needle fear management; aspects from the pain management guideline were endorsed for vaccinations worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO). She is a member of the CARDTM scientific team; the CARD framework makes the pain management guideline actionable. Dr. McMurtry was the sole psychologist on the small subcommittee for the WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety tasked with creating guidance on immunization stress-related responses. She also served as the sole psychologist on the 25 person Guideline Development Group representing 17 countries for the WHO’s Guideline for the Management of Chronic Pain in Children.


Associate Professor, Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Department of Psychology, University of Guelph

Psychologist, Pediatric Chronic Pain Program
McMaster Children's Hospital

Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct)
Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University

Associate Scientist
Children's Health Research Institute 

Adjunct Independent Researcher
Department of Paediatrics
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Western University

Pediatric psychology, pediatric procedural pain and fear, parent-child interactions, chronic pain, family influences on children's pain, evidence-based treatment of pediatric procedural pain and needle fear, and training in health.

Research Areas: Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, health and well-being, pain, parent-child relationships, pediatrics/medicine
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

Applied Cognition

I have broad interests in pediatric health psychology (e.g., obesity prevention, eating disorders, stress and coping in children) but my primary area of research focuses on understanding the factors that lead to injuries (e.g., attitudes and beliefs, personality attributes, social-situational context) and developing evidence-based programs to target these determinants and prevent injuries to children and adolescents. I work closely with community organizations who share these goals and can implement these prevention programs on a large scale.  For more information about my research visit my lab website: Child Development Research Unit at

Research Areas: Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, health and well-being, intervention, pediatrics/medicine, risk-taking
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

My Research

In the Flow of Consciousness Lab (FoCL), my students and I are endeavouring to measure aspects of everyday thought, including the nature and frequency of off-task thought. Our lab follows open science practices ( and I am a signatory of the Openness Initiative ( I approach my work as a Descriptive Psychologist (

Research Areas: theoretical psychology
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

My research involves qualitative and theoretical methods applied to social issues. I focus mainly on social aspects of health, and ethical implications of science and technology. I also have a strong interest in public deliberation as a method for involving broader publics in research. I am also particularly interested in developing qualitative methods in psychology, across a range of topics.

Community engagement & public deliberation; social & ethical implications of genetics/genomics; qualitative methods; discourse analysis; risk & uncertainty; human agency.

Research Areas: Applied Social, health and well-being, qualitative methods, science & technology, theoretical psychology
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: Yes

My current research focuses mainly on personnel selection, with an emphasis on finding valid and fair methods of hiring the best employees. Most recently, I have investigated two factors that affect interview performance: interview anxiety, which  negatively affects interview performance, and impression managment (honest and deceptive), which tends to increase interview performance.  

Research Areas: job performance
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: Yes

My research interests lie broadly within the area of cross-cultural psychology. To date, my work has primarily examined a wide range of factors that could help to understand adaptation processes of immigrants and international students, including studying resilience, acculturation strategies, and ethnic and national identity. I have a commitment both to the theoretical and the applied aspects of cross-cultural psychology. An essential characteristic of my research activities, as a cross-cultural psychologist, is that studies are conducted across cultures or across different ethnic groups within a culture. 

Further information about my research and graduate students please see Centre for Cross-Cultural Research website.

Research Areas: cross-cultural psychology
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

My research focuses on social justice issues. In general, I am interested in the disparities or inequalities that exist between individuals and groups in terms of status, power, and outcomes (e.g., income) in the workplace. I have long-term interests in who is more (vs. less) likely to want to maintain and promote inequality. As such, I have focused on understanding the nature of prejudice (i.e., racism and sexism). Furthermore, I study how people make sense of the differences that exist between individuals and groups in society: are they a result of a fairly operating meritocracy, in which the cream rises to the top, or are they a result of injustices, such as discrimination or processes of cumulative disadvantage? Such different understandings of why inequality exists plays an important role in determining people's reaction to social and organizational policies that are designed to mitigate inequalities like  employment equity, or diversity initiatives.

Advising Philosophy:

My goal is to conduct top-quality research in close collaboration with students. As a supervisor, I believe it is my role to help students to develop their skills, self-efficacy, and autonomy. I try to create an environment in my lab that is supportive and challenging. Students who work with me get a lot of guidance and feedback-from me and from other students in the lab. I expect students in my lab to be motivated, organized, courteous of others, hardworking, and to have burning intellectual curiosity. Junior students work with me to develop a shared line of research. Senior students have the flexibility to select their own topic under the umbrella of social justice issues. I will be accepting a new graduate student for Fall 2023.


For more information please see our lab website:


Research Areas: Industrial-Organizational
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: Yes

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and my research interests cover several areas within industrial/organizational psychology and fall within three themes: (a) methods, statistics, and replications, (b) intraindividual process and job performance appraisals and (c) performance appraisals. My interests in methods and statistics are largely concentrated on issues related to replications and reproducibility. My research on job performance concentrates on the dimensions of prosocial and deviant workplace behaviours. Specifically, I am interested in understanding intraindividual (within-person) processes that lead to the occurrence of prosocial and deviant workplace behaviour. In the domain of employee performance appraisals, my work has been aimed at understanding the causes and consequences of managers having considerations other than accuracy when rating employee performance.

Research Areas: emotion, Industrial-Organizational, job performance, quantitative methods, replication crisis

My group investigates the neurobiology of cognition, with an emphasis on learning and memory. Topics of interest include memory acquisition, consolidation, and reconsolidation in rats and mice, as well as cognitive testing in rodent models of human disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

Research Areas: animal, behavioral pharmacology, learning and memory, Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Sciences, neuroscience of behavior
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

My research and scholarship covers the following broad topics:

  • public engagement with psychological science, particularly the psychology of implicit bias;
  • historical and theoretical investigations of psychological science;
  • impact of digitalization and big data in psychology;
  • psychological perspectives on science and technology, including the technoscience of health and mental health;
  • society, culture and (mental) health, including critical studies of disability.
Research Areas: Applied Social, critical psychology, prejudice and discrimination, science & technology, theoretical psychology
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

My research program is centered on understanding basic cognitive processes in humans that allow us to encode new information and later retrieve this information from memory. It is now well-known that these processes are not infallible, and are prone to error.  I am particularly interested in the processes that lead to such errors, and how they relate to the monitoring, assessment, and regulation of learning.

Research Areas: attention, emotion, learning and memory, Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Sciences
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

My research focuses on children's emotional development. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which the family system contributes to children's development of (mal)adaptive emotion skills and the role of these emotion skills in child psychopathology. I seek to translate this knowledge to the clinical care context as a means of gaining insight into how treatment approaches might be adapted to maximize therapeutic outcomes for youth.

Research Areas: Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, emotion, parent-child relationships, research-practice

Drugs of abuse have the capacity to alter behaviors and shift priorities. Research conducted in the Addiction, Interoception, and Motivation Laboratory broadly revolves around investigating how these effects emerge.

Research Areas: addiction, adolescent, anxiety, behavioral pharmacology, learning and memory, motivation, neuroscience of behavior, pain, risk-taking, stress
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: No

Dr. Sparling's research primarily focuses on motivated reasoning and how intra- and interpersonal factors influence sexual health decision-making and negotiation with new sex partners. In particular, her work examines the need to belong, with a current focus on the roles of loneliness and social support in the health and well-being of marginalized populations such as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

Research Areas: Applied Social, decision making, health and well-being, prejudice and discrimination, risk-taking, romantic relationships

Emotional and physical pain is common in childhood, as are the distressing life events that bring about pain (e.g., adverse childhood experiences, including child maltreatment). Knowing how to face and to make sense of pain and distress is critical for children and their families.

My research program examines the intersection of pain and trauma, with a focus on child maltreatment, and ways to support parent-child dyads in processing these distressing experiences to prevent the development of traumatic stress.

My overarching goal is to create, examine, and disseminate efficacious and equitable family-centered interventions to prevent pediatric pain and child maltreatment from becoming distressing, chronic experiences and to empower youth in their health journeys.