Research Team

I am very fortunate to have a group of bright and dedicated students working with me. Currently one PhD student is working in my lab (and I’m looking for more!). In addition, there are many dedicated undergraduate students working in my lab as volunteer research assistants.

I plan to take on two new graduate students in 2022. I will consider both domestic and outstanding international applicants.

Lab Director

Li-Jun Ji


As a social and cultural psychologist, I investigate how culture shapes our cognition, judgment and decisions. See more details in my current research.

PhD Student

Samantha Shang


Area of research: I am a 1st year PhD student at the Queen's Culture and Cognition lab. I earned my B.S. in psychology from Jilin University in China and my master's in psychology from Wake Forest University. I'm interested in cultural differences and similarities in perception and communication. I am also enthusiastic about R, stats, and cross-cultural measurement. In my free time, I enjoy turning off screens, getting fresh air, and getting inspired by great minds, so I run while listening to my favorite podcasts. My last name is the same as the Marvel superhero "Shang-Chi", and I named myself "Samantha" after the AI from the movie "Her".

Undergraduate Students

Laura Abbatangelo

Area of research: I am currently in my third year of Psychology at Queen’s, and this will be my first year working in the Culture and Cognition Lab! My areas of interest are focused around child and adolescent clinical psychology, so I am very excited to learn more about how cognitions develop in children across different cultural contexts. I hope to further this research in graduate studies in child clinical psychology in the future. I’ve recently taken up camping and canoeing and love to spend my free time outdoors!

Molly Dean

Area of research: My name is Molly and I am a third-year student pursuing a medial degree in Psychology and Health Studies. This is my first year at the Culture and Cognition Lab. I am thoroughly interested in the field of linguistics which is why the influence language and culture have on cognition piqued my interest. Aside from academics, I am lover of all breakfast foods and the sport of gymnastics.

Hannah Del Gatto

Area of research: My name is Hannah and I am a fourth year student majoring in Bio-Psychology. This is my second year working at the Culture and Cognition lab! My research interests include animal and human development and behaviour. After my undergraduate degree, I am planning on pursuing a master’s degree in clinical neuropsychology as well as working towards becoming a physician’s assistant in psychology. In my spare time, I enjoy reading novels, watching 80’s and 90’s movies, and going for walks with my dog!

Rachel Green

Area of research: Hi I’m Rachel Green and I’m in my third year of Kinesiology at Queen’s University. This will be my first year in the lab and I’m excited to learn more about how decision making processes differ in cultures. Furthermore, I’m interested in how our physical, social, and emotional experiences as well as our environments affect our health. After my undergraduate studies I hope to attend medical school. Outside of school I love to workout, bake healthy recipes and travel!

Sahiba Gulati

Area of research: I am a third year Biotechnology Specialization student, and this is my first year in the lab! Through the Culture and Cognition lab, I am interested in learning more about how culture can influence behaviour and decision making. I have also always been fascinated by the nature vs. nurture debate and hope to gain insight on how culture contributes to our upbringing. In the future, I hope to attend medical school to pursue a career as a Gynecologist. In my spare time, I like hiking, filmmaking, and watching movies!

Kate Hunker

Area of research: I am currently a fourth-year student majoring in psychology and minoring in health studies at Queen’s! This is my second year with the Culture and Cognition Lab, and I am excited to continue expanding my knowledge in the field of cultural psychology this year. I have broad research interests across the discipline of psychology, ranging from cultural psychology (obviously!), to romantic relationships, to organizational behaviour! Outside of my studies, I love to hike, travel, and rock climb.

Margret Lo

Area of research: Margret is in her 4th year as a Psychology Major and Biology Minor at Queen’s University. Margret’s research interests include, but are not limited to, healthcare, human psychology and behaviour, as well as the impact that culture affects the way we perceive the world. In Dr. Ji’s lab, Margret is a returning research assistant.  After Margret’s time at Queen’s University, she hopes to pursue a career in healthcare, and wishes to incorporate research into her profession. In her spare time, you can find Margret spending time with family and friends, trying new foods, exploring nature, and picking up new hobbies like embroidery and crochet.

Mingzhu Mao

Area of research: My name is Mingzhu Mao, and I am a fourth-year student majoring in Psychology and Concurrent Education. This is my first year as a research assistant in the Culture and Cognition lab. I am interested in the influence of culture and language on cognitive function. After I graduate from Queen's, I am planning to pursue a Master's degree in school counselling. In my spare time, I love listening to music and enjoy anime and travelling.

Josh Martin

Area of research: I am currently a third year Life Sciences student and this is my second year working in the Culture and Cognition Lab. One of my main academic interests is neurophysiology, especially in considering how it relates to macro-level psychological phenomena. After I graduate, I hope to attend medical school. In my free time, I love listening to podcasts, watching sports, and playing sports – namely hockey and basketball.

Grace Moffat

Grace Moffat

Area of research: I am in my second year studying Psychology at Queen’s, and first term working at the Culture and Cognition Lab. I am broadly interested in both clinical and social psychology, but particularly in the relationship between cultural attitudes and experiences across the course of mental illness. I plan to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology and hope for my time in the lab to help inform a culturally competent practice in the future.

Danielle Pinder

Area of research: I am a fourth year Life Science major, and this is my second year as a research assistant in this lab. As a child of immigrants, I've noticed differences in my reasoning compared to those of my peers. Thus, I am particularly interested in exploring how culture influences child development regarding values and behaviour. Outside of my schoolwork, I enjoy grabbing coffee with friends, reading, and travel!

Sophia Sun

Area of research: My name is Lujia (AKA Sophia). I am an international student from Shanghai, China. Currently, I am in my third year, major in Psychology and minor in Statistics. This is my second year being a RA at Culture and Cognition Lab. Personally, I am very interested in the developmental psychology and try to explore young children’s social and emotional development, and it would be great that I could deepen my understanding when comparing the cognition of people within various backgrounds. Outside the school, I really like watching movies, especially some science fiction ones!

Angel Wong

Area of research: I am a second year Health Sciences student, and this will be my first year working at the Culture and Cognition lab. Culture has always been an interesting field to me and as an immigrant from Singapore, I have been exposed to two different cultures. I find it really interesting learning about how culture can influence cognitive processes. Additionally, I took Japanese and Russian classes in addition to Chinese when moving to Canada and was amazed by the similarities and differences cultures can share. I hope to pursue a career in healthcare or research after my time at Queen’s. In my free time, I watch shows and listen to music.

Amy (Chenyang) Xiao

Area of research: Hi, my name is Amy (Chenyang) Xiao, and I am currently a fourth year Psychology student with an economics minor! This is my third year working in this Culture and Cognition Lab as a research assistant. I am interested in organizational Psychology and understanding how culture differences would play a part in perceptions, decision making, interrelationships and organizational behaviors! Meanwhile, I am also interested in understanding the differences and inequality of mental health care in different cultures. Outside of studies, I enjoy dancing, watching Youtube and Netflix. 

Former PhD Students

Suhui Yap, PhD (2021) Research Psychologist, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore
Emily Hong, PhD (2019) Postdoc at Southhampton University
Mark Khei, PhD (2019) Defense Scientist, Ministry of Defense, Singapore
Faizan Imtiaz, PhD (2018) Assistant Professor, Towson University, Maryland, USA
Ning Zhang, PhD (2016) Assistant Professor, Zhejiang University, China
Albert Lee, PhD (2013) Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore
Roy Spina, PhD (2009) Senior Lecturer (equivalent to associate professor), University of Chichester (U.K.)
Winner of Andrew McGhie Prize for the best PhD thesis, and CPA Certificate of Academic Excellence for best Doctoral theses
Tieyuan Guo, PhD (2008 Associate Professor, University of Macau (China)
Deanna Messervey, PhD (2008) Research Scientist, Defense Research and Development Canada, Ottawa

Former Postdoc and Visiting Scholars

Sieun An Assistant Professor, Eastern New Mexico University

Former Visiting Scholars

Ying Wu Associate professor of sociology, Minzu University of China
Tengfei He Associate professor of psychology, Datong University, China
Jie Li Professor of Psychology, Inner Mongolian Normal University, China
Xiaoye Huang Associate Professor, School of Marxism, Hohai University, China
Baoyu Bai Assistant Professor, Dept of Psychology, Wuhan University, China

Former Undergraduate Students

Mairi Cade-Hemphill (2021) Teaching in Japan, JET
Jillian Herring (2020) Masters of Public Health Program at Western University
Tania Kazi (2020) Medical School at McMaster University
Alexa Bowie (2019) Graduate student at Queen’s University (Public Health)
Milo Miao (2019) Graduate student at U of T
Ioana Petrar-Silca (2017) Winner of CPA’s certificate of Academic Excellence (one of the top 3 best theses
Ivy Fong (2017) MPH in epidemiology at U of T
Melissa Kang (2016) Child clinical graduate student at U of T
Siyan Jing (2015) Master student at Queen’s Business School
Debra Torok (2015) Graduate student at U of Victoria
Feiyang Pan (2015) MD program at University of Sydney, Australia (starting in 2015)
Samantha Drover PhD student in epidemiology at University of North Carolina (2015)
Kelly Huang (2014) MD Program at UBC
Melissa Lucas (2014) Graduate student in Biology at Western University
Marissa Walter (2014) MBA student at Dalhousie University
Jennifer Zhang (2014) Medical School at Western University
Carly Parsons (2013) Graduate student in psychology at UBC
Kelsey Jacobson (2013) Master student (in Theatre), University of London, UK
Sam Rosenbaum (2013) Proctor and Gamble
Sam Yoon (2013) MD program at Western (starting in 2015)
Gillian Harper (2012) Graduate student at Adler School of Professional Psychology
Kayla McGeorge (2012) Graduate student in counseling psychology, University of Toronto
Taryn Mototsune (2012) Graduate student in counseling psychology, University of Western Ontario
Jovian Wat, B.S. (2011) PhD in Biology at U of Toronto
Mike Best, B.S. (2011) Graduate student in clinical psychology at Queen’s
Victoria Chen, B.S. (2011) Graduate student at McGill University
Matt McAdam, B.S. (2010) MD program at UBC
Mark Daubaras, B.S. (2010) PhD student at McGill University
Michelle Tong, B.S. (2010) PhD student at Cornell University
Chris Humphries, B.S. (2009) MBA from Dalhousie University, on his way to being a successful entrepreneur
Claudia Tsui, B.S. (2009) MA in psychology from Queen’s University, heading to Medical school
Chloe Lei, B.S. (2007) Master of Information at U of T
Connie Fan, B.S. (2006) MA in Journalism from Ryerson University
Robyn Saaltink, B.AH. (2005) MA student in child and youth studies at Brock University
Kristy Holmes, B.S. (2003) Received Master’s degree from Queen’s Business School, working at a consulting firm now
Esther Usborne, B.S. (2003) PhD from McGill University

If you don’t see your name here or would like to send me an update, I’ll be more than happy to hear from you