People are a huge component of a successful lab, and the Culture and Self lab is comprised of a number of extremely bright and talented individuals.


Dr. Steve Heine

Dr. Steve Heine


The Culture and Self lab is spearheaded by Dr. Steve Heine.

Our lab is currently working on three distinct research programs, which we refer to as Cultural Psychology, Meaning Maintenance, and Genetic Essentialism.




Graduate Students

Will Hall




Will is a PhD student at UBC. He received an MA from UBC in Social/Personality Psychology in 2012 and a B.A. from the University of Waterloo in 2009.

Will is interested in understanding social psychological factors that contribute to group differences in academic achievement.


Adam Baimel



I am a PhD student interested in the process of meaning making, specifically of that related to the religious experience.

Outside of Dr. Heine's lab, my interests lie at the intersection of the study of religious ritual and social cognition.



Katharina Block






Rachele Benjamin




I am a first year PhD student interested in the study of meaning and how we make sense of the world around us. I am especially interested in meaning threat, and all of the compensatory actions we take to re-establish order in our environment.


Ryan Dwyer




Ryan is a first year PhD student. His research interests are related to how people find and maintain meaning in their lives.


Anita Schmalor




I am a 2nd year MA student interested in cultural psychology. Here I am interested in environmental pressures and historical events that shape cultures. I am also interested in genetic essentialism and the question of how genetic research impacts our understanding of humans. Outside the Culture and Self Lab, I am involved in the MAGIC Lab and interested in the psychological consequences of inequality.


Kate Guan




I'm a first year MA student, and I'm interested in the intersections between culture, meaning, morality, and close relationships. In particular, I'm interested in the way close relationships function to provide meaning across different cultures.



Lab Manager

Catherine Li


I am the joint lab manager for the MECC lab cluster.

My research interests include moral judgment, religion, and sacred values. I am currently completing my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at UBC.



Undergraduate Research Assistants

Joanna Conde


I am a fourth year undergrad pursing a degree in Psychology. I’m currently working on a directed studies project with Adam Baimel exploring the concept of Awe. Huge advocate for positive psychology. My research interests lie with the influence of diet on self-esteem, and subsequently the influence of self-esteem on motivation and life satisfaction/self-actualization. Outside of the lab I love travelling, philosophy, and the ocean!

Anne Gale


I am a third year psychology major working on a directed studies project with Ben Cheung. I will be writing a literature review on cultural differences in sleep, as well as working on a study examining how cultures differ on their theories about why humans sleep. My research interests include cultural differences in social behaviour, acculturation, and stereotype threat. 

Hernan Ochoa


I am a fourth-year Psychology undergrad, hoping to pursue my master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I am currently working on my directed studies with Benjamin Cheung regarding theories of the self. While the current literature praises the possession of an incremental theory of the self, our research explores its possible drawbacks, such as the inability to disengage from a possibly stressful goal. Outside the lab, my research interests include employee motivation and the role of heuristics in senior management when evaluating the effectiveness of different workplace policies.   


Jessica Tong



I am in my final year of my BA in Psychology and am currently working on a directed studies project. I am interested in the effects of dog therapy on mood, as well as studying biological and evolutionary interactions with cultural psychology. In the future, I hope to continue my studies in graduate school and eventually get my Ph.D. Outside of Dr. Heine's lab, I work as a research assistant for The Marketing and Behavioural Science Division at UBC Sauder School of Business.

Anette Yanken



I am in my last year of my BSc in Cognitive Systems within Psychology. I am working on a directed studies project with Adam Baimel looking at the experience of awe and meaning making. My research interests include cognition, clinical psychology, and cultural beliefs. I am hoping to pursue a master’s degree related to clinical psychology and rehabilitation.

Former PhD Students, Post Docs, and Lab Alumni

Undergraduate Lab Alumni