Research Team

Lab Director

Tara MacDonald, PhD

My research interests fall into three main categories:

  1. Health Decision-making. For most of my career, I have been interested in the application of social psychological research to health, particularly the decision whether to use a condom. When asked about their intentions to have intercourse without a condom, university students typically report that they would not engage in these behaviours. Accordingly, one might expect that the incidence of these health-risk behaviours would be relatively low. Instead, the incidence continues to be alarmingly high. The goal of my research is to examine why people engage in these behaviours that contradict their attitudes and intentions, even when doing so can have powerful negative consequences. I have studied how different factors (e.g., alcohol intoxication, reduced cognitive capacity, sexual arousal, and anticipated negative emotions) affect the decision whether to use a condom.

  2. Romantic Relationships. I have recently become interested in assessing how attachment anxiety and rejection interact to affect health outcomes. A number of graduate students and I have assessed how attachment anxiety and rejection interact to affect eating behaviour (with Sandra Marques), condom use behaviour (with Leigh Turner), body image (with Erica Refling) and conflict and decision-making (with Valerie Murphy).

  3. Attitudes. I am particularly interested in assessing how attitudinal ambivalence affects the stability and malleability of attitudes. More specifically, I am interested in assessing the different consequences of holding cross-dimension ambivalence (when opposing evaluations occur along different dimensions) and within-dimension ambivalence (when the opposing evaluations occur along the same dimension).

Graduate Students

Daniel Hargadon

Daniel is a 1st year PhD student in the clinical psychology program. Previously, he worked with Public Health Ontario as a research assistant investigating the psychological determinants of hand hygiene compliance and influenza vaccination uptake among healthcare workers. Daniel’s MSc research involved developing a novel measure of habit strength (the Habit IAT) and he is currently validating this measure by examining hand hygiene habits among healthcare workers in addition to other habitual behaviours among undergraduate students. Daniel’s PhD research involves further developing and validating the Habit IAT by examining the predictive utility of the measure in predicting a variety of automatic-habitual behavioural responses.

Pauline Leung

Pauline is working towards a PhD in the Clinical Psychology program at Queen's University. Her broad research interests surround attachment and outcomes related to attachment insecurity. This has included investigation into the interplay of attachment insecurities (i.e., attachment anxiety or avoidance) in affecting how one goes about using (and is consequently affected by) social media, as well as the role of attachment in the development and maintenance of body image concerns among young adults. Prior to coming to Queen's, Pauline completed an honours Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour (with a Music Cognition Specialization) at McMaster University.

Rachael Quickert

Rachael is a doctoral student in the Clinical program at Queen’s University. She is interested in researching how emotional experience and personality traits interact to influence health and wellbeing within romantic relationships. Currently, Rachael is exploring how mindfulness interventions can benefit individuals high in attachment anxiety during romantic conflict. Rachael completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours), and Master of Science at Queen’s University.

James Hillman

James is a Master’s of Science student in social/personality at Queen’s. His research presently focuses on intimate conflict in intimate relationships and forgiveness in the wake of conflict. He is particularly interested in looking at mechanisms by which forgiveness occurs and how we can fail to forgive. This extends to mindfulness as a means of increasing forgiveness, and the benefits of increases in forgiveness. The goal of this research is to better understand what impedes the process of forgiveness and how people can overcome these impediments to better general and relationship satisfaction.