Principal Investigator

Dr. Jason Deska

Dr. Jason Deska is the director of the Social Perception & Intergroup Relations lab at Toronto Metropolitan University. He completed his Ph.D. at Miami University under the supervision of Kurt Hugenberg and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto with Nick Rule.

Graduate Students

Lucas Baron is a first-year Psychological Science MA student. He is broadly interested in social psychological research surrounding stereotypes, prejudice, and dehumanization. He’s currently getting started in the lab on projects involving bisexual individuals and perceptions of their authenticity, in addition to whether people are viewed as capable of experiencing more or less social pain as a result of their physical attributes (e.g., height). Through his research, he hopes to contribute to our understanding of how and why people form biased opinions of themselves and others based on perceived group membership.

Karen Chan is a first-year MA student in Psychological Science at TMU. She previously completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University with her thesis focusing on understanding the development of perceptual and racial biases in children. At TMU, she is interested in exploring how perceptual biases can have downstream social consequences and how it reflects in the real world. Her other main interest is understanding the effects of DeepFakes on a social and perceptual level. With her interests, she hopes to investigate the area in which social and face perception intersect.

Sam Pejic is a first-year Psychological Science Ph.D. student. She completed her master’s degree in Psychological Science at Toronto Metropolitan University, and her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Western University. Sam’s current research focuses on investigating the implications of narrow prototypes, specifically for individuals’ inclusion in broad social justice movements (i.e., Stop Asian Hate movement), as well as how social pain judgments differ as a function of population membership (e.g., prisoner, exoneree), and physical characteristics (e.g., height, disability status). Her master’s thesis focused on developing a comprehensive catalogue of stereotypes and counter-stereotypes attributed to substance-use disorders for the purpose of stigma-reduction interventions.

Affiliated Graduate Students

  • Leah Hamovich
  • Maire O’Hagan

Research Assistants

Anamika Bose is a fourth-year undergraduate Biology student who is interested in exploring the fields of clinical and social psychology. In particular, she wants to investigate how the standard of healthcare is influenced by the stereotypes and biases that we form of each other. Through this lab, Anamika hopes to gain insight into ways to better reform the various systems in our society to reduce inequality.

Nishka Gupta is an undergraduate student going into her fourth year of study. She is majoring in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in Psychology. A long-term goal of hers is to expand research done on the South Asian community, specifically immigrants in Canada. By being a part of this lab, she wishes to help destigmatize mental health to minority groups. Nishka hopes to pursue her graduate studies soon in a related field.

Lisa Hu graduated from the University of Toronto’s Psychology Research Specialist program. In this lab, she is interested in learning about how stereotypes and biases can contribute to health disparities of marginalized populations. In the future, she hopes to pursue graduate studies to improve the health and well-being of individuals from marginalized groups.

Kalee Kiluu-Ngila is a fourth-year undergraduate psychology student. Her interest in social psychology is fueled by her passion for social justice. She is interested in conducting research on the intersectional relationship between various social identities and how they influence social mobility and social biases. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in a related field.

Megan Molnar is a second-year undergraduate student studying psychology. She is interested in exploring the fields of clinical, social, and cognitive psychology. Megan is especially interested in how people may interrupt different body shapes based on their own social identity. In the future, Megan hopes to gain more research assistant experience as well as insight into social psychology in order to obtain her goal of going to graduate school.

Stephanie Truong is a fourth-year psychology student completing her undergraduate thesis in the Social Perception and Intergroup Relations lab. She is interested in how social identities intersect and contribute to prejudice and racial discrimination. In the future, she hopes to continue her studies in counselling psychology.

Krystina Wint is an undergraduate psychology student returning to academia after a decade-long hiatus spent living abroad. By passively observing other cultures while travelling, she developed a particular interest in how different individuals cultivate relationships. Future research interests include exploring the ways social and biological psychology work in tandem, influencing attachment behaviours and bonding.

Lab Alumni

  • Undergraduate Alumni
    • Rachel Appiah, 2019-2022
    • Vartan Bzdikian, 2021
    • Mahida Chaudhry, 2021-2022
    • Darlyn Edada, 2022
    • Samira Hussein, 2020-2021
    • Krisoula Kotassidis, 2020-2021
    • Natalie Loserro, 2019-2020
    • Jeremy Mesich, 2019-2020
    • Melanie Parasram, 2021-2022
    • David Racioppa, 2019-2020
    • Saba Salemi, 2020
    • Tav Sandhu, 2019-2020
    • Kyla Shaw, 2020-2021
    • Anthony Tay, 2021-2022
    • Joey Vong, 2021-2022

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