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Our people in the Social Cognition Lab

Lab Director

Jamin Halberstadt

Professor Jamin Halberstadt

BA(Swarth) PhD(Indiana)

Interaction of emotion and cognition, intuition and reasoning in decision making, social cognition.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Lab Manager 

Ruth Hughes

The relationship between people's afterlife beliefs and grave goods.

PhD Candidates

Marea Colombo small image

Marea Colombo

I am interested in perspective taking, and empathy ability in young adult population. Given that the social environment dramatically changes during young adulthood, and that the brain undergoes additional change during this period, it might be expected that socio-cognitive abilities such as perspective-taking might also continue to develop.

Keren Segal Image

Keren Segal

My research interests include death anxiety and spiritual essentialism. In my PhD I deal with the idea of meaning making and the quest for immortality, and how all of this has to do with spiritual essentialism.

Thomas Swan Small Image

Thomas Swan

I am developing a cognitive-motivational model of religious belief in which affective and motivational states interact with cognitive mechanisms and biases to produce belief. I am also developing a religious agent template to predict the supernatural beings that are most likely to attract belief.

Ana Stojanov Small Image

Ana Stojanov

My PhD research interest revolve around concept formation and categorization (i.e. how we decide a certain claim is a conspiracy theory and how does the categorization influence our belief in the claim) and the psychological underpinnings of beliefs in conspiracy theories.

Evan Balkcom thumbnail

Evan Balkcom

My main area of focus is the cognitive science of religion. Specifically, I research differences between religious and non-religious people and the way that unbelief develops and is maintained in light of religious intuitions and unexplainable experiences. I am also interested in irrational decision making, especially the sort that is driven by essentialist beliefs and moral contagion.

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Josh Boeke

My current interests revolve around virtual reality as a research methodology. Future research will likely include studies on identity fusion, costly altruism and embodiment. Further research may examine whether fused member embodiment makes self-sacrifice more likely to occur.

Thanaphat Thongpaibool Small Image

Thanaphat Thongpaibool

I am interested in the topic of (perception of) truth and reality and their influence on people's behaviours.

Honours & Undergraduate Students

Looking into moral psychology and judgements.


Tyler Atkinson

Honours student

The effects of religious belief on judgements of living and deceased targets.

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Nick Currie

Honours student

Looking into moral psychology and judgements.

Su Min Seo

Undergraduate student

Ruth Hughes

Undergraduate student

Researching the relationship between peoples' afterlife beliefs and grave goods.

Research Assistants

Jean Hwee Low


Masnoon Majeed

BA (Richmond), MA (Miami)

Existential psychology and cross-cultural psychology