Recent Updates

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  • 12.21.2017 - I will be giving a talk on our research examining ideological stereotypes about compassion during the Emotion Pre-conference at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in Atlanta, GA on March 1, 2018.
  • 04.04.2017 - I am a recipient of the MPA Diversity Travel Award. The award will be provided at the 2017 meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association.
  • 01.05.2017 - I will be giving a talk, titled "Feeling with or caring for? Comparing empathy and compassion avoidance,” at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting on Thursday April 20, 2017 between 1:00pm-2:50pm.
    Details of my talk will be posted here as soon as they are available.
  • 12.21.2016 - Our paper, titled “Empathy is a choice: People are empathy misers because they are cognitive misers,” is available on SSRN.
  • 12.05.2016 - My poster at SPSP, “Feeling with or caring for?: Comparing empathy and compassion avoidance,” will be included in Poster Session J (J-042).
  • 09.30.2016 - My poster at SPSP, “Feeling with or caring for? Comparing empathy and compassion avoidance,” will be presented on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 8:15am-9:30am. Details of my board assignment will be released as soon as they are available.
  • 09.13.2016 - Our paper, titled “Implicit moral evaluations: A multinomial modelling approach” was recently accepted at Cognition. Please reference the paper here for our submission.
  • 08.30.2016 - I will be at the annual meeting for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology(SPSP) this upcoming January in San Antonio, Texas. I will be presenting a poster on our work comparing empathy and compassion avoidance (collaborators: Dr. Daryl Cameron & Dr. Michael Inzlicht). Details about my presentation time and board assignment will be posted here as soon as they are released.

 
Research
Social Neuroscience, Emotion-Regulation, Self-Regulation, Empathy, Cognitive Control
 

About

I was born and lived in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) for over 23 years. More specifically, I was located in the eastern region of Scarborough. I graduate from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) in 2013 after completing degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology. During my time at UTSC, I was a research assistant and lab manager for Dr. Michael Inzlicht’s Toronto Laboratory for Social Neuroscience and Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould’s Embodied Social Cognition Lab.

After completing my undergraduate studies, I re-located to Iowa City to attend the University of Iowa. Working with Dr. Daryl Cameron, I obtained my Master’s degree in Psychology, branching together my interests in morality, self-regulation, empathy, and social neuroscience. I was a participant of the NIH-funded T32 training program, through which I was able to rotate in Dr. Daniel Tranel’s Neuropsychology Lab and Dr. Jan Wessel’s Cognitive Neurology Lab. Both opportunities provided me with experience with the Iowa Lesion Patient Registry as well as EEG methods.

I am currently located in State College, Pennsylvania where I attend Penn State University for my doctoral degree. Outside of my research I enjoy being a gym rat, playing competitive basketball and volleyball, and engaging in the occasional binge watching of Family Guy and The Simpsons.

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Research Questions

  • Rewards and costs of moral emotions (i.e., empathy, compassion outrage) in response to social inequality

I broadly examine why prosocial responses (e.g., charitable donation) often appear disproportional to the magnitude of the suffering of victims. For instance, in response to mass suffering, people often appear to respond with less pro-sociality compared to when there are fewer victims, or even just one known victim (i.e., the identifiable victim effect). One reason why this may be the case is if the emotional responses associated with wanting to respond to social inequalities (i.e., empathy, compassion, outrage) decrease in response to this suffering, seen through such phenomena as the collapse of compassion or compassion fade.

I approach this area by examining how people evaluate the rewards and costs of feeling and experiencing moral emotions like empathy, compassion, and outrage toward social targets across different contexts (e.g., mass suffering and out-group members). Knowing how people subjectively evaluate the rewards and costs of these emotions across different contexts, we can better calibrate our understand of when and why people help certain identifiable victims relative to less readily identified mass sufferers.

Empathy
  • Moral construal when judging the behavior of others

We often see people respond differently to certain transgressions over others. Imagine someone that learns that their favorite celebrity recently engaged in tax evasion, which many would agree is a serious crime. This person might consider whether this action was right or wrong, which might cause them to judge this action as morally wrong.

In other work, I examine the reasons why people may react differently to the behavior of others when making judgments. We often see people be permissible towards certain transgressions, yet show uproar towards others. I examine whether the ways people moralize or amoralize the behavior of others influences the way they make and form their judgments.

Empathy
  • The social neuroscience of the motivated empathy framework

Much of my background used methods in neuroscience and psychophysiology (e.g., electroencephalography, peripheral nervous system psychophysiology, and the lesion approach). I am currently engaged in several projects that try to understand how we might model the evaluative processes that the mind has for certain empathic and compassionate situations, as well as how we evaluate moral benevolence and infractions more generally.

Empathy

Other Interests

Affective Neuroscience, Amygdala, Anterior Cingulate Cortex, Emotional Intelligence, Moral Outrage

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