Our faculty members and graduate students are working on exciting research projects that are making a difference, locally and around the world. The stories below are just a few of the many projects we currently have under way.

CENTRES, INSTITUTES AND LABS

Our labs and centres form the foundation of our research eff­orts, where our faculty work with a number of community partners to advance knowledge and practice in the field of psychology and provide hands-on research and learning opportunities for students.

The Centre works to identify eff­ective services for children and families at risk of maltreatment. We look at the kinds of services that are available to help children and families, but also what the evidence shows about what kinds of support help the most.

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The CORE is a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funded research laboratory at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. The CORE dedicates its research to helping individuals achieve a healthy weight and improve their overall health and well-being through behavioural modifications and novel interventions such as Small Changes and ENHANCE.

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Looking at cognition, substance use/abuse, associations and memory, with a particular focus on substance use in adolescents, mindful rest training in relation to substance use, and implicit cognitions.

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Studying the science of happiness, with a focus on investigating strategies to enhance happiness in adults through experiences with nature and changing their implicit theories of well-being.

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Investigating the impact of psychosocial factors, such as stress, mood and social support on physical health and well-being. We are particularly interested in understanding the ways in which social relationships influence emotional and physical health among healthy and chronically ill populations.

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Using platforms such as eye-tracking, electroencephalogram, behavioural testing and neuropsychological assessment to better understand the cognitive aspects of psychopathology, as well as functional outcome following stroke and brain injury.

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Focusing on the use of cannabis and psychedelics for therapeutic and recreational purposes, the lab examines the associations between cannabis use, mental health and addictions.

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Located on the UBC Okanagan campus, the clinic provides cost-effective treatment options to students, staff, faculty, and the general public. Treatment is provided by graduate students under supervision of qualified, trained professionals.

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Research Themes

Abnormal Psychology

Differentiating normal and abnormal personality using state-of-the-art statistical and psychometric methods. Interpersonal behaviour patterns associated with psychopathology.

Cannabis Use

Examining the therapeutic and non-therapeutic use of cannabis, with a specific focus on cannabis, mental health, and substance use.

Cognition and Substance Use

Examining the role of cognitive processes in the development of substance use behaviours. This research studies substance use as multifaceted behaviour influenced by both rational and spontaneous thinking.

Cognitive Psychology

How does your mind work? What are the links between mind and brain operations? These are the topics investigated by cognitive researchers.

Computer-mediated Communication

Online collaborative games designed to promote understanding of self and others as well as meaning in life.

Creativity

Conducting empirical studies on creative style and creative influences, computational models of the cultural evolution of creative ideas and computational creativity experiments in art and music.

Health Psychology

The study of psychological and behavioural processes in health, illness, and healthcare. It is concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioural, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness.

Laterality and Brain Hemisphere Interactions

Is one of the brain’s hemispheres better than the other at performing a task? Are two hemispheres better than one? These are the questions investigated by research into laterality and hemispheric interaction, respectively.

Positive Psychology, Happiness and Well-being

Though much of psychology focuses on dysfunction and deficits, positive psychology focuses on strengths and thriving through researching strategies that contribute to enduring enhancement of happiness.

Rural Mental Health

Understanding the mental health-related experiences of adults 50+ years of age who live in rural communities. Specific studies explore stigma, gaps, and barriers to accessing mental health-related services in these communities, and the development and implementation of community-based services and supports.

Social and Personality

The study of the development of personality and individualistic traits. Personality psychologists look at people as individuals rather than as members of society. Social psychology is the study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by social situations.

Statistics Research and Methods

Best methods and programming options for factor analysis, item response theory and Bayesian data analysis.

Opportunities for Undergraduate Students

The Department of Psychology offers many opportunities for undergraduate students to gain valuable research experience. You can participate in research either as a volunteer research assistant, or through Directed Studies and/or Honours opportunities. Explore your options and apply below.

The position: Get experience helping faculty members, graduate students, or a mixture of the two, with their research projects. This position is a non-paid, non-credit based opportunity that will give you the chance to participate in various elements of conducting research. The duties and length of the opportunity is determined by the supervising psychology faculty member.

Prerequisites: Typically, no experience is required, but some research labs may require students to have previous research experience, or experience with statistical software, such as R or SPSS. Some opportunities may also require the completion of certain courses such as PSYO 270/271 and/or PSYO 372/373) prior to volunteering.

Experience Yes
Credits No
Paid No

The position: Carry out your own research project under the supervision of a psychology faculty member. Opportunities include, but are not limited to, designing research studies, collecting data/running participants, conducting literature reviews, writing annotated bibliographies, analyzing data, preparing research presentations, and/or writing research reports. The project is determined based on the interests of the supervising faculty member, the student, and the requirements of the research lab.

This position is non-paid, but students earn three or six credits for the project, depending upon if they register for a one-term or two-term option.

Prerequisites: Third-year standing and the permission of a psychology faculty member to supervise the project. Students are also limited to credits per year.

Experience Yes
Credits Yes
Paid No

The position: Investigate a research problem in psychology under the supervision of a psychology faculty member. You will be involved in all aspects of the research process, such as research design, data collection, and data analysis. Presenting findings is another key component of research, and this option requires completion of a written report and a public presentation of your research findings.

Completion of the undergraduate honours thesis contributes six credits towards your degree, but does not guarantee an honours distinction. To receive the honours distinction, you will also need to satisfy all of the graduation requirements including, but not limited to, a minimum average of 76% in all psychology courses, and a minimum average of 76% over the last 60 credits.

Prerequisites: Completion of PSYO 372 with a minimum average of 76%, permission of the Department Head, and a minimum grade average of 76% in all attempted psychology courses.

Experience Yes
Credits Yes
Paid No

Awards for Undergraduate Students

The IKBSAS Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) and the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) provide exceptional research experiences for students at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

The purpose of the awards is to encourage undergraduate students to pursue innovative and original research as part of their learning experience.

Our Partners and Donors

Together, we are making a difference, locally and around the world. Our partners and donors allow us to carry out our mission of helping the community, making advancements in psychological research, and providing quality education in the field of psychology.

If you are interested in becoming a partner or donor, we would love to hear from you.