General Research Interests

Social Experience in Online Settings

Digital social technologies, such as social media, online virtual environments, and massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) have dramatically changed the way that people connect and interact with each other. However, we don't know much about how our social experiences online and in virtual settings affect our real-world lives.

To broaden our understanding of the way in which online social experiences affect our behaviour and well-being, I lead the Digital Well-Being Lab in this exciting new area of research.

Social Experience and Development

It is well-known that social experience in early life shapes behavioral and brain development. However, we are only starting to understand the mechanisms underlying these effects. My studies in this area have focused on the role of early social experience in motivational aspects of behaviour.

Using a rat model, my colleagues and I discovered that early social experience affects the way that individuals attend to rewarding stimuli. This finding has implications for understanding how early social adversity may predispose individuals to develop addictive disorders.