Writer, Author, and Instructor of Psychology (University of British Columbia) / Blogger @ The State of Us
Supporting academic and public discourse in the psychological and social sciences. Specializing in (1) educational development and leadership; (2) writing, editing, and content creation; and (3) business and community consulting.
Writer, Author, and Instructor of Psychology (University of British Columbia)
Supporting academic and public discourse in the psychological and social sciences. Specializing in (1) educational development and leadership; (2) writing and editing; and (3) business and community consulting.
Welcome! I’m a writer, author, and lecturer in psychology at the University of British Columbia. I received my PhD in Psychology in 2013 (UBC), with a specialization in health psychology. I currently lead undergraduate courses in personality, health psychology, the psychology of death and dying, and sex and gender. In addition to my teaching and research, much of my time is now dedicated to writing and authorship in the field. I am particularly concerned with the state of science literacy today, and it is one of my goals to support and promote a stronger connection between science and public discourse (with a focus on psychology and social sciences). In the end, I want to help us understand who we are; why we do the things we do, why we make the same mistakes, and how we can move forward together successfully.
I’m also a feminist and vocal defender of equality. To this end, I strive to be an ally to those who are marginalized or otherwise disenfranchised, whether they be other members of the LGBTQ+ community, BIPOC, people living in poverty, or those suffering from illness or addiction. I consider myself an environmentalist, having had a great affinity for nature and nonhuman life since my early childhood. And I like to approach every situation with reason, compassion, and an awareness of the bigger picture.
News and Updates
2021: Our study of the role of empathy in COVID-related behaviour has been published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Consistent with our previous research on disease threat, we found evidence of a critical role of empathy in motivating people to engage in recommended health precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including handwashing and vaccination. Interestingly, empathy seems to matter more when people perceive less threat to themselves. Read the full article here: Adherence to Recommended Preventive Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Empathy and Perceived Health Threat
2020: The 2nd Canadian edition of our personality textbook, Personality Psychology: Domains of Knowledge about Human Nature (by Larsen, Buss, King, & Ensley), was published in 2020! This edition includes updated research, a closer look at cultural identity in Indigenous peoples of Canada, and much more.
The 2nd Canadian edition of our health psychology text, Health Psychology: Biopsychosocial Interactions (by Sarafino, Smith, King, & DeLongis), was published in the same year. This edition includes a brand new chapter on psychosocial factors in aging and dying.
2019: I’m excited to share that I was the recipient of the 2019 Knox Master Teaching Award for excellence in teaching! “Each year, the Department of Psychology recognizes the contributions to teaching and learning made by two outstanding individuals in the department through the Knox Teaching Award. This award celebrates psychology faculty and lecturers whose teaching practice is exceptional and inspires student learning.”
Asking the big questions...
I offer a variety of educational and consulting services aimed at helping individuals and groups better understand their relationship to the world. In order to find your place here, I believe it is necessary to seek answers to life’s greatest questions. Here are a few questions that I consider to be of paramount importance today:
What is the role of the individual in society, and in the world at large? What is our relationship to the natural world? Will we (can we) ever live in harmony with nature?
To what extent are growth and development possible while attempting to maintain elements of the past? In other words, how do we move forward without leaving everything behind?
What is it going to take to make this work? Can we ever learn how to get along in a way that contributes to global health and development?
Can we learn how to better ourselves in ways that also better others? Can we use our personal agency for purposes of collective well-being and communion rather than to gain further agency?
Where are we headed, and in what ways are we in this together? What does positive growth look like individually and collectively?
While I believe in the importance of self-reflection and inner discovery, I also believe strongly in the importance of social harmony and the maintenance of community and society at large. (Somewhere, I believe, there is a place where these two things meet.) I am somewhat critical of the self-help industry for placing too much emphasis on the self to the exclusion of others. In reality, we are all in this together. We need to do more to consider those around us, and to be more compassionate, empathetic, and charitable (if we want this to work).
Consider this: Some suggest that in order to love others, you must first learn to love yourself. I challenge you to consider the possibility that by loving others, and by first practicing kindness and compassion in a social context, you may just learn how to love yourself.