People

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jason Deska

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


Graduate Students

Sam Pejic is a first year Psychological Science master’s student. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Western University. Her past undergraduate research focused on the impact of social media on women’s self and beauty perceptions, as well as exercise and eating behaviour. Sam’s current research focuses on investigating how social pain judgments differ as a function of population membership (e.g., prisoner, exoneree), as well as addiction stigma research.

This could be you!

The Social Perception & Intergroup Relations lab is actively recruiting new graduate students. You can learn more about graduate training in psychology at Ryerson University here, and Dr. Deska encourages interested applicants to email him directly.


Research Assistants

Rachel Appiah is an undergraduate Psychology student minoring in Organizational Leadership. Throughout her undergraduate years, Rachel has been particularly drawn to theories and literature in the areas of social, cognitive and industrial/organizational psychology. She is interested in exploring how different styles of leadership influence employees and their performance in the workplace; and how to positively impact the well-being of a person in and out of social institutions.

Anamika Bose is a third-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.

Vartan Bzdikian is an undergraduate journalism student at Ryerson University minoring in both psychology and philosophy. Vartan has a deep interest in the different patterns of substance use and the effects of drugs on cognition. He is also interested in the effects of the presence of other people in the context of drug use. He aspires to enter a clinical psychology graduate program and currently works as a research assistant in the Social Perception & Intergroup Relations lab.

Samira Hussein is an undergraduate Psychology student minoring in English. She is interested in the areas of clinical and social psychology, with a particular interest in how social perceptions and biases on the basis of race can affect the standard of healthcare (both physical and mental) individuals receive.

Krisoula Kotassidis is a fourth-year undergraduate Psychology student minoring in Sociology, and an honour’s thesis student in the lab. She is interested in social psychology research, as well as the practice of psychotherapy. In this lab, she is excited to explore individual biases about how weight affects pain sensitivity, and what are the psychological beliefs contributing to such stereotypical perceptions.

Emma Robers is a 3rd year undergraduate student in the BSW program who is minoring in Family Supports and Community practice. She holds a diploma in Social Service Work from George Brown College. She is interested in social pain perceptions and how these perceptions influence or bias those who work with social service users who are visible minorities. Through this lab she hopes to better understand these perceptions in order to inform policy and decision-makers.

Kyla Shaw is a fourth-year Psychology and Health undergraduate student at Queens University. She is passionate about research in human judgment and attitudes, including the hidden evolutionary judgment processes that become less adaptable as society changes. Kyla is eager to gain more experience in psychological research, especially related to the processes behind discriminatory judgments.

Anthony Tay is a third-year undergraduate Biology student minoring in Psychology. He is interested in the biological basis of psychopathology, personality, and social psychology. In this particular lab, he is excited to explore the existence, origins, and possible interventions to eliminate various human stigmas.

Joey Vong is an undergraduate psychology student minoring in sociology. She is interested in exploring various strands of social psychology as well as community psychology through a critical lens. In particular, Joey is passionate about exploring the complexities of social identity and seeks to further understand how intersectionality affects the ways in which individuals experience the world. She aspires to enter a psychological science graduate program and continue her work as an advocate for marginalized and disadvantaged groups.


Lab Alumni

  • Undergraduate Alumni
    • Natalie Losero, 2019-2020
    • Jeremy Mesich, 2019-2020
    • David Racioppa, 2019-2020
    • Saba Salemi, 2020
    • Tav Sandhu, 2019-2020