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Pain Sensitivity Predicts Moral and Political Views Across the Aisle

Welcome to the Mind and Body Lab!

We live in a time where political polarization, class differences, moral debates, antiscience attitudes, and technological advances pervade our daily lives. These days, our lab is committed to disentangling the psychological roots of ideology, partisanship, moral intuitions, science denialism, and social class. We are also trying to unpack the impact of digital technology, such as easy access to smart devices and artificial intelligence, on our desire and ability to think. All of these topical interests highlight the “Mind” part of our lab’s name.

The “and Body” part comes in because of its relevance to some of our theoretical interests. First, the human mind is intricately tied to processes in the body. Much of our psychological understanding about social reality is supported by our sensorimotor experience with physical reality (e.g., the link between moral intuitions and physical purity), through multiple mechanisms. Second, mental processes have the power to shape bodily states. It sounds obvious, but when you take a step back to think about it, it’s pretty amazing that mere thoughts can actually produce physiological changes. When you feel like others are evaluating you and it’s psychologically stressful, your cardiovascular processes change. Various projects of ours have been exploring how the mind influences the body and how the body influences the mind.  

Overall, our work uses multiple methods (e.g., meta-analysis, computational analysis, experimental and correlational designs, psychophysiology) to provide scientific answers to an overarching question in the philosophy of mind: How do human beings accomplish abstract thinking? We are especially eager to understand how people process various abstract thoughts that matter in sociopolitical conflicts (e.g., antiscience attitudesmorality), that are common in daily life (e.g., stress, love), that are culturally enshrined (e.g., independence), that emerge early in human development (e.g., gender), or that have significant consequences in real-world contexts (e.g., decision makingeconomic behaviour). For a sample of the research questions we're tackling these days, check out the Research tab.  

We have been publishing our theoretical and empirical work in high-impact journals such as Science, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Our graduate and undergraduate students have been winning awards and scholarships, and getting accepted at top-notch graduate programs around the world. See examples in our Latest News below.

Want to get involved? Let us know!

 

Lab Philosophy

A lab is a community of human beings, each with their unique views, interests, values, feelings, personality, and background.

I've given a lot of thought to what I want in a lab. Here's my vision for our lab

  • Be intellectually humble. Embrace diverse viewpoints.

  • Be curious. Be bold in theorizing.

  • Tackle big problems. Use rigorous methods.

  • We don't compete with each other. We help each other out. 

  • I want to create a lab where I want to work.

  • Always, always be kind. 

Latest News
New paper in Psychological Bulletin

New paper in Psychological Bulletin

Spike, Kathleen, Cecilia, and Joe's meta-analytic review of psychological consequences and antecedents of physical cleansing is accepted at Psychological Bulletin

2023-2024 Lab Members

2023-2024 Lab Members

Welcome to our new students, and welcome back to our returning ones. Looking forward to a productive school year together.

Congrats to Akil Huang

Congrats to Akil Huang

Akil won the Best Oral Presentation Award among 40 oral and poster presentations at the  Summer Undergraduate Data Science (SUDS) Opportunities Program’s 2023 Showcase 

Congrast to Spike Lee

Congrast to Spike Lee

Spike won the Applied Research on Intellectual Humility grant from the John Templeton Foundation to support his work on intellectual humility in the political domain

New paper in JPSP

New paper in JPSP

Spike and Cecilia's paper showing that pain sensitivity predicts moral and political views is accepted at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Congrats to Joy Wang

Congrats to Joy Wang

Joy won the 2023 Climate Positive Energy Undergraduate Summer Research Program Award

Congrats to Joe Hoang

Congrats to Joe Hoang

Joe won the Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral Award from the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) to support his PhD studies in 2023-2025

Congrats to Noah Laskey

Congrats to Noah Laskey

Noah won the Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Master's Award from the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) to start his PhD program in Social/Personality Psychology at the University of Toronto in Fall 2023

Congrats to Norman Zeng

Congrats to Norman Zeng

Norman won the Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Master's Award from the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) to start his PhD program in Developmental Psychology at the University of Toronto in Fall 2023

Congrats to Grace Yang

Congrats to Grace Yang

Grace has been admitted to the MD program at the School of Medicine, University of British Columbia starting Fall 2023

Congrats to Jules Convertini

Congrats to Jules Convertini

Jules has been admitted to the Master's program in Applied Cognitive Psychology at Utrecht University starting Fall 2023

Congrats to Joy Wang

Congrats to Joy Wang

Joy won the 2023 University of Toronto Excellence Award (UTEA-SSH)

Congrats to Serena Honekin

Congrats to Serena Honekin

Serena won the 2023 University of Toronto Excellence Award (UTEA-SSH)

Congrats to Joy Wang

Congrats to Joy Wang

Joy won the Jackman Scholarship to conduct research on higher education for sustainable development as a Jackman Scholar-in-Residence in summer 2023

Congrats to Jianing Lv

Congrats to Jianing Lv

Jianing has been admitted to the PhD program in Education at Queen's University starting Fall 2023

Congrats to Spike Lee

Congrats to Spike Lee

Spike won the DSI (Data Sciences Institute) Computational & Quantitative Social Sciences Grant

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