Lab Director: John Paul Minda

John Paul Minda_SQ

John Paul Minda, Ph.D.  

 Full CV (web), Full CV (pdf),  Personal BlogGoogle Scholar, Twitter

Department of Psychology & Brain and Mind Institute
The University of Western Ontario
London Ontario Canada N6A 5C2
tel 519 661-2111 ext 84689
fax 519 661-3961

Current Graduate Students:



Emily Nielsen  – Curriculum Vitae  – Website

Emily is a fourth year Ph.D. student. Her research focuses on the effects that environmental, situational, and individual factors can have on cognition. As a master’s student, Emily investigated the effects of background noise on creativity and cognitive flexibility. Currently, she is exploring the effects of mindfulness meditation on decision making, attentional focus, and category learning. Emily is also interested in how mindfulness meditation may be applied in the workplace.



Joshua Hatherley –  Curriculum Vitae – Blog – Email

Josh is a second-year Ph.D. graduate student at the Brain and Mind Institute. His research currently focuses how disrupting the phonological loop in working memory can impact rule-defined categorization. As a master’s student, Josh investigated how being exposed to short mindfulness meditation sessions influence our ability to globally and locally process environmental stimuli. His research interests include, mindfulness meditation, local/global processing and cognitive models of working memory and depression.



Ana Ruiz Pardo – Curriculum Vitae

Ana is a second year Ph.D. graduate student in Cognitive Psychology. As a master’s student, Ana investigated social media use and its effects on sustained attention. She is currently investigating how smartphone use effects cognition (e.g. sustained attention, working memory, etc.). Her present research aims to replicate current findings in the literature (e.g. Ward et al, 2017) and then extend these findings to other cognitive domains.



Tianshu (Toka) Zhu – Curriculum Vitae

Toka is a first year Ph.D. graduate student in Cognitive Psychology.  Her main research interests lie in the field of decision research concerning rational reasoning, as well as the underlying neural circuitry behind these processes. She enjoys playing accordion and reading for leisure.



Bailey Brashears – 

Bailey is a second year Master’s student in Cognitive Science. She is currently working on a study investigating how implicit and verbal category learning strategies are employed by individuals when given indirect feedback. She is also interested in the use of interactive applications and video games in category learning.

Current Undergraduate Students:

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Amanda Lien, Lab Manager and Research Assistant

Amanda is completing her fourth year of the Honours Specialization in Biochemistry and Medical Biophysics program. She joined The Categorization Lab in 2017 and is currently managing the lab and assisting with various ongoing projects.



Victoria WiebeResearch Assistant – Curriculum Vitae – LinkedIn

Victoria is a fourth year student in the Honours Specialization in Psychology program with a minor in Creative Writing. She began her role in The Categorization Lab in 2014 as a research assistant and will be conducting her honours thesis with the lab during the 2016-17 year. Her research interests include mindfulness, creativity, and service accessibility of mental health care.

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Mengxiao Zhang, Research Assistant – Curriculum Vitae

Kim graduated with a dual degree in Psychology and Actuarial Science from Western University. She started her position as a research assistant in 2016 and she is currently working on a study of category learning and ego depletion.



Terence Eaton Asher, Research Assistant – LinkedIn

Eaton is an undergraduate student in his final year at Western. He is familiar with audio/video production, CAD and machining to small business and professional development. In his spare time he is an active member of the Amabile Choirs of London, and conducts research for the pharmaceutical company Glyco which he helped found in 2016. His research interests are determining what affects an individual’s ability to perceive, process and learn from their experiences and hopes to use this information to develop techniques to facilitate the process of learning in those who struggle from cognitive deficits.



Teri Maguire, Research Assistant

Teri returned to Western University as a part-time student in 2012 and is currently in her fourth year of an Honors Specialization in Psychology. Prior to coming to Western, she graduated from Fanshawe College with a diploma in Child and Youth Work and after working for the TVDSB for a couple of years. She is active in the Western community as a peer mentor for the Peer Support Centre and enjoys spending her Saturday afternoons as part of an informal reading group which discusses current topics in cognitive psychology.  Her research interests grew from a curiosity of alternative practices such as meditation, which is why she is thrilled to volunteer in Dr. Minda’s lab as a research assistant for studies exploring the various effects of meditation. Currently, Teri is designing a research study which will explore how mindfulness interventions affect interoceptive awareness and Theory of Mind.

Lab Alumni



Rachel Rabi (2016 Ph.D.) – Curriculum Vitae – Research Gate

Rachel is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Cognitive Psychology. She is investigating how older adults learn categories, specifically focusing on the role of executive functions in category learning. Rachel will be defending her thesis this summer and starting a postdoctoral fellowship at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute, where she will be studying the cognitive biomarkers of mild cognitive impairment.

Karen Zhang (2017 Ph.D.)

Karen is a 4th year PhD candidate in the clinical psychology program. Broadly speaking, her research focuses on examining cognitive-emotive factors that influence patient behavior and health care delivery. She is currently evaluating an education intervention aimed to improve deep knowledge and clinical outcome of cardiac outpatients. Karen will be completing her psychology residency at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton and hopes to continue with research in a clinical setting.



Ruby Nadler (2016 Post Doc) – Curriculum Vitae – Email

Ruby is a Talent Edge Postdoctoral Fellow at Sigma Assessment Systems.  Ruby’s doctoral work investigated the effects of mood and regulatory focus on cognitive processing and category learning. As a postdoc, Ruby works in conjunction with Sigma Assessments in london to help to understand cognitive processes involved in faking on tests and assessments. Her research interests include mindfulness, leadership, creativity, positive psychology, cognition, and decision-making.

Sarah Miles ( 2013 PhD) – Curriculum Vitae – Research Gate

Sarah has recently finished her Ph.D. program. Her research investigates the role of executive functions in different types of category learning. Her current projects examine the types of executive functions that are used in category learning, and whether executive functions mediate the interactions between category learning systems.

Sarah Devantier (2008 MSc) –

Sarah investigated differences between expert and novice physicians in clinical thinking and reasoning and the relevance of goal oriented categories to patient management.