Our Team

Principal Investigator

Taka Masuda, PhD

Email: tmasuda@ualberta.ca

Born and raised in the center of the capital city of Japan, Taka has moved back and forth between Sapporo (Hokkaido, Japan), Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan), Ann Arbor (MI, USA), and Edmonton (AB, Canada). He loves cold weather and in fact, doesn’t even mind the cold Alberta winters. He speaks English in North America but he still maintains his Tokyo dialect in Japanese. His hobbies are photography, playing music and drinking Canadian beer.

Lab Manager

Rania Mahdi

Email: rmahdi@ualberta.ca

I completed my BSc degree in honours psychology under the supervision of Dr. Masuda and currently I am studying French and Scandinavian studies. I  was born in Iraq, raised in Libya, then moved to Canada in my early adolescence.

Graduate Students

Mantou Lou, PhD

Email: mantou@ualberta.ca

I received my doctoral degree in social and cultural psychology in 2019. I was born and raised in Macao. My general interest is in understanding how culture influence individuals’ meaning system. My current research is focused on implicit beliefs and motivation across different cultures.

Yuto Yasuda, PhD

Email: yasuda@ualberta.ca

Hello, I’m Yuto Yasuda, and a PhD student. I was born and raised in Japan. I graduated from Hokkaido University for Bachelor and University of Calgary for master’s. I love soccer coaching and I have coached soccer for more than 5 years. Also, my research interest is sport psychology. For PhD research, I try to integrate sport psychology with cultural psychology.

Undergraduate Students

Daniel Ennett
Honours Student

Email: ennett@ualberta.ca

My name is Daniel Ennett, I’m a four limb amputee born and raised in Edmonton. I’m a fourth year honours student. A major research interest of mine is the stigma, prejudice, and attitudes that people with disabilities face and the cultural differences therein. I’m excited for the opportunity to help hone my understanding of socio-cultural methodology both in theory and in practice.

Jing Han
Honours Student

Email: jyhan@ualberta.ca

Hello! My name is Jing and I am a 3rd year honors student in Psychology. I was born in China but grew up in Calgary, Alberta. Being a Mongolian minority in China, people always questioned if I rode horses and hunted for a living. When in reality, I really wish I knew how to ride a horse but had no chance as I just lived in a normal city. I am interested in how culture influence an individual’s mental processes in the areas of stress coping.

Alyssa Mae Domingo
Psyco 496 Student

Email: alyssama@ualberta.ca

Hello! My name is Alyssa and I recently graduated with a degree of BSc Specialization in Psychology alongside my Research Certificate in Science (Psychology) and Certificate in International Learning. It’s very interesting to witness the differences among individuals and groups, especially after moving to Canada where diversity is much more salient. My interest in culture was amplified when I took PSYCO 341 with Dr. Masuda and after enrolling in the Certificate in International Learning program. I also practice Taekwondo and play the piano in my free time.

Research Assistants

Shuwei Shi

Email: shuwei1@ualberta.ca

Hi, my name is Shu. I am a multicultural learner from China majoring in Psychology and minoring in Philosophy. Experiencing and finding the connections between cultures is really fascinating. There, I developed huge interests on languages, food cultures. In my spare time I love traveling,
cooking and playing saxophone. I am also studying Japanese and hopefully I can master it before I graduate. I am so grateful to join this amazing lab. I am looking forward to explore different cultures and meet some like-minded people!

Narimane Dahou

Email: dahou@ualberta.ca

Hi! My name is Narimane. I’m in my 5th, majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. I was born in Algeria, then I lived in Montréal before moving to Edmonton. I’ve had cultural influences from very different regions; this piqued my interest on how culture influences our lives, mainly our nonverbal behaviour. I spend my free time listening to all kinds of music and learning new languages, the newest one being German.

Tianyu Bai

Email: tbai2@ualberta.ca

Hello! My name is Tianyu and I am a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Statistics and minoring in Computer Science. As an immigrant to Canada, I have been able to come to know a variety of cultures through interactions with family, friends and other connections. I find it to be extremely interesting to observe how people from different ethnic background behave differently in the same situation, thus initiating my interest in cultural psychology.

In my free time, I love listening to jazz music, (especially swing!) and trying cuisine from different countries.

External Members

Koji Miwa, PhD
Associate Professor,Nagoya University

Email: kojimiwa4@gmail.com                   Email: kojimiwa@nagoya-u.jp

As a psycholinguist, who takes an experimental approach in linguistics to study how language is “done” in the mind, he is primarily
investigating (1) how complex words are represented/processed in the mind, (2) how bilinguals read in one language with two languages in the mind, and (3) how language affects thought.

Dr. Miwa recieved his PhD in Lingusitics from the U of A in 2013.


Huaitang Wang, PhD
Researcher, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta

Email: huaitang.wang@ualberta.ca

He succeeded in publishing his dissertation on Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a prestigious journal in the area of social and cultural psychology (Wang, Masuda, Ito, & Rashid, 2012). We are still working on finalizing research programs on culture and language.

Dr. Huaitang Wang received PhD degree from U of A Psychology in 2009.

Jianhui Song, PhD

Email: jianhuis@ualberta.ca

Her research interest focused on the child rearing practice of Chinese immigrants and its relationship with some factors such as cultural values and language. We are working on a project titled “Culture and Sleeping Arrangement” in collaboration with Dr. Kim Noels.

Dr. Jianhui Song received PhD degree from U of A Psychology in 2010.

Ken-ichi Ito, PhD
Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Email: kito@ntu.edu.sg

After completing my PhD in cold weather, I moved to a tropical country, Singapore, to research the impact of culture within Asian countries and teach applied psychology. Moving from a place with -40 degree Celsius to a place with +35 degree Celsius made me realize that the Middle Way of moderation is a golden path. Now, I search for a golden path between the joy of spending time with my daughter and the pleasure of thought-provoking discussions with my students.

Dr. Ken-ichi Ito received PhD degree from U of A Psychology in 2012.

Sawa Senzaki, PhD
Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, USA


She is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in the departments of Psychology and Human Development. Her research centers around examining how children learn and develop culturally unique social and cognitive skills through social interactions (e.g., parent-child, peers).

Dr. Sawa Senzaki completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Masuda at the U of A in 2013.

Liman Li, PhD
Assistant Professor, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Email: mwli@eduhk.hk

My research examines the role of socio-ecological factors (e.g., mobility and economic development) and cultural meaning systems (e.g., holism and collectivism) in influencing people’s social relationships, decision making and mental health across cultures.

Dr. Liman Li received PhD degree from U of A Psychology in 2015.


Mathew Russell, PhD
Lecturer at the University of Alberta & Research Associate

Email: mjr4@ualberta.ca

My research interests are in the domain of Cultural Neuroscience, looking at how biology and cultural experience (on the societal, group, and individual levels) work together to make up us incredibly complex and wonderful human beings. Within the Cultural Neuroscience tool set, I focus on using ERP methods to better understand how social orientation beliefs influence our attention process.

Matthew Russell received his PhD Degree from U of A Psychology in 2016.


Hajin Lee, PhD

Email: hajin@ualberta.ca

I completed my doctoral degree in the Cultural and Social Psychology program in December, 2018.
I am born and raised in South Korea. Throughout my graduate program, I have been examining the mutual constitution of culture and the human mind by focusing on three research areas: 1) culture and well-being, 2) culture and social judgment, and 3) the role of socialization in emotion judgment.


Kristina Nand, M.A.
Public Relations Officer, School of Science, The University of Tokyo

Email: nand.kristina@mail.u-tokyo.ac.jp

I received my BA from the University of Alberta. My research interests lie in cultural differences in perception and aesthetics, generational differences and cultural change, cultural variations in child rearing, and identity in bicultural children. Currently, I am doing international public relations work at the University of Tokyo in Japan.

Kristina Nand received her Masters Degree from U of A psychology in 2014.

Lab Employees

Christian Laubman
Translator, Proofreader and Transcriber

Email: laubman@ualberta.ca

Greetings! I am a graduate of the East Asian Studies department in Japanese language with a background in linguistics. I worked in Japan in the public education system for three years, and am currently working as a research assistant involving the Japanese language. Having lived, worked, and studied in Japan for close to five years, the linguistic and cultural exposure to Japan has motivated me to keep studying after graduating from university. I hope to learn and contribute as much as I can as a member of the culture and cognition lab.

Nuha Mahdi
Lab Artist

Email: nuha1@ualberta.ca

I am a self taught artist and I have the pleasure to work as the graphic designer for the Culture and Cognition lab. I have graduated from U of A with a bachelor of science psychology honors degree.


Jamie Nisbet

Email: jnisbet@ualberta.ca

Hi! My name is Jamie, and I am currently in my masters program in Speech and Language Pathology. I was born in Edmonton, but have a huge passion for traveling! I love exploring the diversity of cultures, which drew me to Dr. Masuda’s Lab. I have volunteered as a research assistant and taken research courses with him.

Natasha Roop

Email: roop@ualberta.ca

I received my BSc specialization in psychology degree from the University of Alberta in 2017. Being a part of the culture and cognition lab allows me to further develop my understandings of the impact culture has on the individual. Since graduating from the U of A I have moved to Vancouver, Canada and have been working with vulnerable populations with both mental health and substance abuse issues. I am interested in the role ones culture and environmental upbringing plays in an individual’s recovery. I am hoping to get my masters in counselling psychology and ultimately work with at risk youth who have substance abuse issues. From my abroad experiences I also find it fascinating how culture is related to the onset and treatment of those who suffer from both mental health and addiction.

Giovanna Dicker

Email: gdicker@ualberta.ca

Hello! My name is Giovanna Dicker and I am in my 4th year of my psychology major. My interests include school and clinical child psychology with a focus on providing mental health services to children and youth. I believe that to understand this, it is critical to understand one’s cultural effects on their perception, cognition and emotions. I am very excited to be a part of the culture and cognition lab to further my knowledge on this topic!