Cognitive Science Research Labs

Principal Investigator(s): Kingstone, Alan
Lab Address:

First time visitors to the BAR lab often find that their preconception of what a typical research lab looks like needs serious revision. There is not a single white lab coat in sight, rather, the dress code in the lab seems to include tattered jeans. Furthermore, postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate members are just as likely to be playing poker or video games as pouring over data. The overarching purpose of our lab is similar to most labs in that goal is to better understand and predict human cognition and behavior. However, Alan Kingstone, the director of the lab, has taken a somewhat different approach to the study of human cognition. Alan argues that the findings of research done in artificial and deprived environments (e.g. sitting in a testing room in front of a computer screen) by nature do not generalize well to the complex and stimulus-rich real world that we live in. In 2005 he introduced the term “cognitive ethology” to describe his work, which can be roughly summarized as using real world observations to generate research questions that then can be addressed in the lab, and this philosophy has guided our research efforts ever since.
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Principal Investigator(s): Christoff, Kalina
Lab Address:

Research in our lab investigates the neural and cognitive mechanisms of human thought and mental functions. We examine goal-directed thought processes such as introspection and self-awareness, as well as spontaneous thought processes such as mind-wandering. We use a combination of functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and behavioural testing. We are also developing novel neuroimaging techniques such as real-time fMRI for clinical applications in psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
Memory / Cognition Laboratory
Principal Investigator(s): Graf, Peter
Lab Address:

The main goal of the Lab is to increase understanding of human memory and related cognitive functions, how these functions vary across individuals, how they change across the adult lifespan, and how those age-related changes affect people's use of moderns computing technologies.
NeuroImaging Lab
Principal Investigator(s): Handy, Todd
Lab Address:

What leads us to pay attention to some things in the visual world and ignore others? Why might one person walking down an alpine trail be taken in by the wildflowers on the trailside below while another only notices the cliffs and peaks that rise above? Does it depend on a preference for bright versus earthen colors? Botany versus rock climbing? Gazing down versus gazing up?

Attention is literally our window onto the world, and my laboratory’s efforts center on understanding how we use attention to guide our actions in daily life and why these processes may have evolved.

To address these questions we use both ERP and fMRI methodologies, while adopting analytic procedures that allow for examination of individual differences in attentional performance. The overarching goal is to not only increase our knowledge of attentional function, but to develop methods appropriate for diagnosing individual attentional capacities in the clinical domain.

The Psychophysics and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Principal Investigator(s): Ward, Lawrence
Lab Address:

At the Psychophysics and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, we use a multitude of research paradigms to ellucidate basic brain mechanisms and cognitive processes. We currently have several research studies underway examining Neural Synchrony, Stochastic Resonance, Visual and Auditory Attention, Mismatch Negativity and Stimulus Independent Thought. Please see the research section for more information.
Vision Lab
Principal Investigator(s): Enns, James T.
Lab Address:

Study how the human mind selects information. This selectivity is what is meant by attention, which involves a dynamic interplay among biological (neural), experiential (learning), and intentional (goals) factors.
Visual Cognition Lab
Principal Investigator(s): Rensink, Ron
Lab Address:

The goal of the UBC Visual Cognition Lab is to investigate visual intelligence - the way in which the human visual system uses the light entering the eyes to create a variety of perceptual experiences. We are interested both in exploring the mechanisms that carry this out, and the ways in which this knowledge can help with the design of effective visual displays.
Visual Neuroscience Lab
Principal Investigator(s):
Lab Address:

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