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

Leah Wojcik

Email: lwojcik@ualberta.ca

I graduated from the Honours Psychology program at the University of Alberta in June 2023. I have been involved with the Culture & Cognition Lab for the past couple of years, and my research investigated cultural differences in stress coping mechanisms, as well as how individuals cope with threats to their body image. Currently, I am working towards thesis publication, and plan to pursue a career in clinical psychology. I spend my free time volunteering at a counselling clinic and psychiatric hospital. Additionally, I enjoy going to the gym, as well as baking. My own cultural background is Polish, and I am highly interested in the unique differences between Western and Eastern cultures, and how this research can be applied to clinical settings.



Graduate Students

Min Hye Kang

PhD Student

Email: minhye@ualberta.ca

Annyoung, my name is Min Hye, and I joined the lab in Fall22 as a doctoral student. I majored in psychology for both my undergrad and master’s degree too. I graduated from Liberty University (VA) and Sogang University (Seoul). My research interest is in how culture influences social cognition, and it probably comes from being exposed to diverse cultures as I have lived in Korea, New Zealand, and the US before. My research works so far concentrated on the cultural differences coming from holistic-analytical thinking and independent-interdependent social orientation, but I would like to investigate other things too. In my leisure time, I enjoy film photography and baking.


Tsolmon Bayart-Od

MA Student

Email: bayartod@ualberta.ca

Сайн уу! (Means “Hi!” in Mongolian) My name is Tsolmon Bayart-Od (Tsomo in short), I’m from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I got my bachelor’s degree from J.F.Oberlin University (Tokyo, Japan), majoring in Japanese Language Education and minoring in Communication studies. And joined the Culture and Cognition Lab starting in the Fall of 2022. I am interested in cross-cultural studies and discovering Mongolian cultural patterns by comparing them to Canadian and Japanese.  In my free time, I like photography and travelling. 



Undergraduate Students

Anjiya Ali

Email: anjiya@ualberta.ca

My name is Anjiya (pronounced un-jee-yah) and I am an international student in my 4th year studying Psychology with a minor in French. My family is originally from Pakistan but I was raised in Madagascar and went to boarding school in Kenya. I love traveling, reading, watching anime, and experiencing different cultures, I also speak 5 languages thanks to all the travelling and diverse experiences I had growing up. After taking a cultural psychology course with Dr.Masuda, it sparked my interest in joining the Culture & Cognition lab. I am doing an independent study in Dr. Masuda’s lab in sports psychology, specifically investigating cultural variation in sports. 


Brooklyn Chantry

Email: chantry@ualberta.ca

Hi! My name is Brooklyn, and I am a fourth-year undergraduate student, majoring in psychology and history. I was born and raised in Edmonton, but my cultural background is very diverse. I am Chinese, German, and Indigenous, and I am very proud to be part of such beautiful cultures. I am very interested in cultural psychology, and I am excited to research more about differences in cultures. Since I am planning on pursuing counselling psychology in the future, I believe being knowledgeable about different cultures will benefit me in helping others. In my free time, I enjoy playing sports, especially rugby, going to concerts, and spending time with my friends and family.


Dawn Abraham

Email: dabraham@ualberta.ca

My name is ዶን ኣብርሃም, and I am a third-year psychology specialization undergraduate student at the University of Alberta. My research experience includes working with the Intercultural Communication Lab as an independent study student and volunteering with Culture & Cognition Lab. My interest in culture & cognition is deeply rooted in my experiences as a child of Eritrean refugees, born and raised in Canada, with little knowledge of my native language (Tigrinya). I am interested in cultural psychology, audio drama, diversifying the scientific literature surrounding cultural constructs, and anime. A word I’ve learned recently is መጀመርታ (mejemerta), which means “beginning”.


Jasman Parmar

Email: jkparmar@ualberta.ca

Hi! My name is Jasman Parmar and I’m in the fourth year of my Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology. I was born and raised in Edmonton but my family is from Punjab, India. I’m excited to be joining the Culture and Cognition lab as a volunteer! Outside of school, I love to hike and go for walks, and spend time with my friends and family!





Karen Thomas

Email: ket@ualberta.ca

Hello 🙂 My name is Karen. I’m a Psychology major and a Biological sciences minor! I was born in Kerala, India but I’ve lived majority of my life here in Edmonton. During my spare time, I love to hang out with my family, friends and my community. I also love to bake and cook! My interest lies within developmental and cultural psychology. I love learning about different cultures, ethnicities and languages. I believe that learning about one’s culture enables us to make more connections with those around us. Growing up in a multicultural community has enabled me to immerse myself in various cultures, which then further increased my desire to learn about the cultures around me. Something I would love to do in the near future is to learn French and to learn how to write in my language, Malayalam. I’m really excited to be part of the Culture & Cognition lab! ♡


Karina Tamkee

Honors Student

Email: tamkee@ualberta.ca

I am a third-year psychology undergraduate student at the University of Alberta. My research interests focus on external factors that influence social interactions, emotional regulation, and personality development. Through the Culture and Cognition Lab, I hope to develop research skills, explore different fields of psychology, and learn more about the cultural effects on development. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in clinical psychology and mental health. Outside school, I love reading, building custom keyboards and computers, and travelling the world.


Mackenzie Mol

Email: mamol@ualberta.ca

Hi everyone! I am in my fourth year of undergrad studies with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. I have just recently joined the Culture and Cognition lab and I am very excited to get more involved in the field of cultural psychology! I am looking forward to developing my research skills and engaging more in different avenues of psychology! I am from Alberta and have lived in Edmonton for most of my life. Outside of school, I love spending time with my family and friends, taking my dog on walks, and having quiet days filled with reading.


Marggi Patel

Email: marggi@ualberta.ca

My name is Marggi Patel. I graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology from the University of Alberta. I was born in India but lived in Canada for most of my life. I recently joined the culture and cognition lab. I love learning about different cultures and my research interest reflects this. I look forward to learning about how social cognition is impacted by culture and learning more about cultural differences. My hobbies include hiking, Muay Thai, and traveling.


Matt Mah

Email: mmah1@ualberta.ca


Hello, my name is Matheson Mah. I am in my fourth year of the BSc Honors Psychology program and recently joined the Culture and Cognition lab as an independent research student to pursue research in the field of cultural psychology. I am a third-generation Chinese Canadian immigrant born and raised in Alberta. I look forward to assisting in the lab’s many research projects to further my knowledge of cultural differences and improve my research skills. Outside of school, I enjoy staying active, engaging in sports and activities with friends and spending time with my dog.


Megan Harris

Email: meharris@ualberta.ca

Hi everyone! I am a fourth-year undergraduate student with an Arts psychology major and a linguistics minor. I was born and raised in Edmonton. My research interests relate to the interactions between language and experience, including categorical perception; that is how different cultures and languages categorize stimuli. I joined the Culture & Cognition lab in Winter 2023 after taking PSYCH 341 with Dr. Masuda. I am excited to get involved in the research the lab is doing! Outside of the lab, I am passionate about learning and teaching history, especially focusing on the day-to-day life of people in the past. 


Nick Nitafan

Email: nitafan@ualberta.ca

Hi everyoneヾ(^∇^) I’m in my last year majoring in psychology specialization at the University of Alberta. Though I have a natural affinity for the medical sciences, it wouldn’t stop me from pursuing my long-time interest in cognitive neuroscience/psychology which I hope to achieve through the Culture and Cognition lab. As well, having to move to Canada from the Philippines at age 8 made me appreciate the importance of cultural variations and the impact they could have on the psyche of one. When I’m not nerding out in class, I’m either out in the gym/playing sports or gaming/playing guitar.


Rachel Kelly

Email: rekelly@ualberta.ca

Hello! My name is Rachel, and I am entering my fourth year of undergraduate studies in Psychology and Linguistics. I have spent most of my life living here in Edmonton, but I was born in the United States and have spent some of my early childhood in Jamaica as well. I’m most interested in research about the ways perception and thought are influenced by the language structure of a native speaker. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering with seniors, reading, and playing the piano.


Sophia Iligan

Email: iligan@ualberta.ca

Kumusta? (‘How are you’ in Tagalog) My name is Sophia and I am in my final year of my undergrad degree at the University of Alberta as a Psychology Major, Spanish and Drama Double Minor, and Arts Work Experience (AWE) and Certificate of International Learning (CIL) student. As a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, I have always been passionate in working on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDID) projects, as well as to learn about differences and similarities across cultural groups. That said, I am stoked to assist in the current lab projects of Dr. Masuda and his team! My ‘me time’ consists of rock climbing (indoors and outdoors), travelling, and documenting my love for Asian food @asianyegeats on Instagram with friends and family heh. 


Tamila Khoshkish

Email: khoshkis@ualberta.ca

Hello! My name is Tamila, and I am an undergraduate student in my final year of a psychology major with a minor in English and Creative Writing. My parents immigrated here from Iran; I was born in Toronto, but shortly after my family and I moved to Alberta. I am highly interested in the ways in which our socio-cultural environment affects our perception of the world and the ways in which we cognitively engage with it. I’ve recently joined the Culture and Cognition Lab as a volunteer, and I hope to implement all that I learn here in my future endeavours within the field of psychology. My interests include art, storytelling/writing, music, and mildly obsessing over shows. : ))


Vernon Gaudet

Email: vgaudet@ualberta.ca

I am an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Computing Science at the University of Alberta. My research interests are the digitization of mental health and video game research in psychology. In joining the Culture and Cognition Lab as a volunteer I hope to learn more about cultural psychology and how it might be applied to make online platforms more universally accessible, investigate cultural cognitive differences using games and the process of research in general. My cultural background is Filipino and French Canadian. I have many hobbies and interests but I am primarily interested in music, art and gaming.


Xun Zhou

Email: xun12@ualberta.ca

Hi everyone, I’m a 3rd year undergraduate student in psychology. Born and raised in China, I love practicing traditional Chinese calligraphy, writing poems, and had a prior career in animal farming. In terms of research I’m interested in the acculturation experience of immigrants, how people of different cultures perceive each other, and ways to promote cross-culture understanding and acceptance. 


Lab Employees

Arianna Cook

General RA

Email: akcook@ualberta.ca

My name is Arianna Cook and I am interested in investigating how background/emotion perception varies across different cultures. In addition to being the lab manager, I am also working on stimuli creation in the form of portraits and animations. In my free time, I enjoy painting, skiing, and spending time with friends!



Narimane Dahou 

General RA

Email: dahou@ualberta.ca

 I completed my BSc degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology in Spring 2020. I was born in Algeria, North Africa, and I have lived in Montreal before moving to Edmonton. I’ve had cultural influences from very different regions and this piqued my interest on how cultural influences multiple facets of our lives. Currently, I am investigating the emotional and cultural differences in autobiographical memory. 



Delaney Fisher



I received my bachelor of science degree with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish language and literature with the completion of the Certificate in International Learning in 2022. I was born and raised in the Edmonton area. My research interests include cultural variation in emotion perception, mental health, and sports psychology. I love to learn about culture through literature, research, language, and travel. In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports and tutoring English. 


Shaneen Jamal

I am in fourth year of a BSc degree, majoring in psychology and minoring in biology. I am particularly interested in the area of abnormal psychology, however because of my Pakistani background and having been surrounded by a mosaic of people since childhood, I have always been fascinated with culture and how it shapes us. My interests include baking, exercising, and whatever hobby I have fixated on; currently it’s crochet! 



Wanyixiong Hua


Email: wanyixio@ualberta.ca

Hello, my name is Wanyixiong Hua, and I am a research assistant in the cultural cognition lab. I was born and raised in China. I graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and the University of Amsterdam with a master’s degree in psychology. Away from research, I recently discovered that I enjoy rock climbing; it took me almost three decades to discover a sport I enjoyed. Sport at school usually involved my sturdier schoolmates delivering brutal football-style tackles that left me dazed in the ground, pounded by the endless hail (we were not even playing football, we were playing basketball). I mix cocktails recreationally, listen to music at the volume of a sullen adolescent, read the literature, and fight a losing battle against ageing.



External Members


Mariko Boku (Visiting Professor: January to March 2023)
Professor, Ritsumeikan University JAPAN

Email: mboku@msn.com

I am a third-generation Korean national living in Japan, naturalized to Japanese. As an Applied Linguist, I am interested in learners’ cognitive comprehension processes and factors that affect their understanding. I enjoy Japanese calligraphy, watching movies and plays. I also love to travel. You might be able to guess when and where this picture was taken. It is always nice to hear an Edmontonian saying ‘No worries,’ but not in cold temperatures like -40°C!




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°C to a place with +35°C 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.

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



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.

Dr. Mantou Lou received PhD degree from U of A Psychology in 2018.



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.

Dr. Hajin Lee received PhD degree from U of A Psychology in 2019.





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.



Daniel Ennett

Email: ennett@ualberta.ca

My name is Daniel Ennett, I’m a four limb amputee born and raised in Edmonton. I graduated with an honours degree under Dr. Masuda. 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 

Email: jyhan@ualberta.ca

Hi everyone, my name is Jing. I was a previous BSc Honours in Psychology student with the Culture & Cognition lab and am currently expanding the research for my previous thesis on Cross-Cultural Attitudes Towards Stress Coping. I was born in Inner Mongolia, China, and moved to Canada when I was very little. Growing up in such a diverse society I became interested in how people’s background shape how they perceive the world and cope differently in face of various life stressors.