Members in Focus: UBC students win Psi Chi International summer research grants

Every year, Psi Chi International gives out 24 grants of $5000 USD each to fund undergraduate student research in the summer. This past summer, Psi Chi members Emma Ward-Griffin, Manesh Girn, and Brandon Woo each held a Psi Chi Summer Research Grant to conduct research here at UBC. Now that the summer’s over, the Psi Chi executive team spoke with Emma, Manesh, and Brandon about the research experiences that they had with their grants. The UBC Chapter of Psi Chi is very proud that its members were able to bring home three of these grants this year.


Psi Chi members Emma Ward-Griffin, Manesh Girn, and Brandon Woo\

Emma Ward-Griffin
Psi Chi International – APS Summer Research Grant Winner
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Frances Chen

“The APS grant funded my research in Dr. Chen’s Social Health Lab examining the influence of mindsets on negotiations. Specifically, we were interested in how being in a receptive mindset, characterized by being more open to others’ opinions, may influence the outcomes of negotiations.

In addition, I was involved in helping prepare several other projects this summer, including studies that investigate why people misperceive others’ friendship networks, the effects of “Doggy De-stress” sessions, and the experiences of first year university students. Through working on these projects, I’ve gained experience creating study materials, planning studies, and using eye-tracking devices. I’ve even had the chance to meet some therapy dogs!”

Manesh Girn
Psi Chi International – Psi Chi Summer Research Grant Winner
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Kalina Christoff

“I [was] running an EEG study which seeks to characterize the dynamics of brain activity surrounding spontaneously arising thoughts during meditation. In the primary condition, we [had] individuals meditate while hooked up to an EEG [machine] (which measures brain electrical activity), and [asked] them to indicate via button press when a spontaneous distracting thought arises. We then [analyzed] the brain activity immediately prior to, during, and after the button press.”

For more information about Manesh’s experiences, please see our more detailed interview with him.

Brandon M. Woo
Psi Chi International – SRCD Summer Research Grant Winner
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Kiley Hamlin

“Through the Psi Chi SRCD grant, I was able to dedicate my summer to the study of moral development. I explored infants’ understanding of concepts such as coercion, emotional cues in help and harm, inconsistent behaviour, accidental behaviour, and generosity. I even began learning to use EEG techniques over the summer with the goal of incorporating neuroimaging methods in future studies. Because of the experiences that I had this summer, I’m now considering doing graduate studies with professors who use neuroimaging methods in their research.

I’m thankful for all the opportunities that I had this past summer. With the research that I completed, I’ve written my first paper as first author for publication, and I applied to present my research from this summer at SRCD 2017. I’m now an honours student with Dr. Hamlin, building on the topics that I focused on during the summer.”

This year, UBC’s Psi Chi chapter wants to help connect students with possible mentorship opportunities. If you’re a student and you have questions about Emma, Manesh, or Brandon’s experiences with Psi Chi International research grants, please email us at We can put you in contact with them.

Natalie Wong and Brandon M. Woo