Research

Research Interests:

My current MAIN research interests are:

1. Genetic Essentialism

Genes have been said to be the “placeholder of one’s essence,” and the belief in genetic effects on certain behaviours and traits has been shown to affect our actions. I am interested in seeing how genetic essentialism influences our cognitions about a variety of behaviours and traits, and how those cognitions affect our subsequent actions (e.g. what decisions we make; how we act based on what we think)

2. Culture and sleep

Sleep is a biological universal – virtually all members of the animal kingdom exhibit some form of sleeping behavior; but what do not appear to be universal are the parameters of sleep (that is, the ways in which sleep occurs). Much anthropological evidence now suggests that parameters of sleep, such as the ways in which people sleep, and how long they sleep, appear to vary greatly across different cultural groups. We are currently obtaining cross-cultural data on this question.

3. Service-learning

There is a movement amongst towards offering students an opportunity to extend their academic education into the world beyond their classrooms. This form of “service-learning” allows students to apply their classroom knowledge in a practical setting (e.g. working with an NGO) that provides benefits for a given community. Students in such programs have the opportunity to help both local and international communities; but there is little quantitative research on the outcomes of such programs. I believe that this will be a big field of future research that can span all disciplines.

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