Lab Members

Principal Investigator


Dr. Dana A. Hayward

Dana is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta. She completed her PhD at McGill University (Montréal, QC), investigating the purported uniqueness of social attention, and her postdoctoral fellowship at Concordia University (Montréal, QC), researching the link between brain morphometry, neural activity, and behaviour.


Graduate Students


YanFei Song, Master’s Student

YanFei is currently in her first year of the MSc program in Psychology. She previously completed a BSc in Physiology at McGill University, and subsequently pursued a second BSc in Psychology at the University of Calgary. She is very passionate about the human brain and mental health, and she hopes that her research in the VASP lab regarding reward systems and attention mechanisms can help shed some light on the etiology of certain clinical populations.


Undergraduate Students

Honours Students/Independent Project Students


Huda Al-Shamali

My name is Huda Al-Shamali and I am a fourth-year Honours Neuroscience student at the University of Alberta. My current study looks at how we process and attend to groups in different settings. This is my first year as a part of the VASP lab team, and I am very excited to gain new knowledge and skills through this experience.



Kaitlynn Braulio

My name is Kaitlynn and I am a fourth-year Honours psychology student. This is my second year in the VASP lab, and I'm excited to be back conducting research with this great group of people. I'm currently completing my honours thesis, looking at how certain individual characteristics modulate social attention.


Raman Dhaliwal

My name is Raman Dhaliwal and I am currently a fourth year undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science, majoring in Psychology. This is my second year working in the VASP Lab. This year, I am completing an independent research course. My work focuses on the effects of social presence on attention.

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Jingru (Helen) Ha

My name is Helen and I am a fourth-year psychology specialization student. My research area focuses mainly on social attention and how certain social factors may affect an individual's attention. I'm excited to continue expanding my knowledge of cognitive psychology.


Devon Heath

My name is Devon and I recently graduated from the Honors Psychology program. In summer 2019, I was awarded a summer research grant from the Women and Children's Health Research Institute to examine social cognition in women with eating disorders. With that, I will continue to work with Dr. Hayward and Nimrit this year to publish and disseminate our results. I'm employed full-time at the Stollery Children's hospital, so I will be helping with VASP lab projects in the background.


Nimrit Jhinjar

My name is Nimrit and I am a fourth year Honours Psychology student at the University of Alberta. My current research revolves around the relationships between certain clinical populations and social attentional processing. In the VASP Lab, I have the opportunity to learn about eye-tracking and various computer tasks. These skills translate into my research and a deeper understanding of the world around us.


Helen Ma

Hi I’m Helen Ma, a third year Honours Psychology student. This is my first year in the VASP Lab and I’m looking forward to exploring the way we pay attention to groups! I’m excited to get hands on experience and broaden my horizons.

Mel Ouelette

I’m Mel, a third year Honours psychology student. I’m conducting a study examining the impact of reward on value-driven attention, and how this translates from a learned lab environment into real-world situations.


Sara Sylvestre

My name is Sara Sylvestre, and I am a fourth-year Honours Psychology student. This is my second year working with the VASP Lab team. I am currently continuing with my Honours thesis, delineating the relationship between different kinds of rewards and attention capture.


Volunteer Research Assistants

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Jamie Cundal

My name is Jamie Cundal and I am currently in my third year of University, majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology.  This will be my first time volunteering in the VASP lab and I am excited to gain direct experience in research and the research process.


Maesha Elahi

My name is Maesha Elahi and I am currently in my third year, pursuing a double major in Biology and Psychology. This is my first year volunteering in the VASP lab. I want to gain more experience in research, assist other students' studies, and eventually start my own project.


Pui Yan Emily Ho

I am Emily and I am a fourth year nursing student at the university. This is my first year with the lab. I look forward to know more about the impact of one’s surroundings on attention and learning through working with the lab. I will be assisting with research that investigates whether reward learning can be seen in the real world.


Amara Hussain

My name is Amara and I am currently in my fourth year in the BA Psychology program at University of Alberta. This is my second year in the VASP lab, and I currently assist in Nimrit, and YanFei and Huda’s projects. I look forward to continue learning about how various people process and attend to social stimuli

Ricky Liu

My name is Ricky Liu and I am currently in my second year of the B.Sc. Honours in Physiology program. This is my first year volunteering in the VASP lab. I am excited to diversify my understanding about psychological processes, pursue more knowledge about research and volunteer with this great group of people!


Ana Simonette Salaveria

My name is Ana Simonette Salaveria and I am a fourth year undergraduate student specializing in immunology. This is my second year of volunteering in the lab. I hope to gain as much research experience as I can in this lab so that in the future, I can conduct my own experiment.


Lab Alumni

Mackenzie Heal

Chanelle Martens

Don Oulette



Dr. Anthony Singhal (University of Alberta) Dr. Kyle Nash (University of Alberta)

Dr. Linda Booij (Concordia University) Dr. Florence Pomares (Concordia University)

             Dr. Jelena Ristic (McGill University)